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Wood Scrounging for Dummies

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Got Wood, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    899
    Loc:
    Dutchess Cty, NY
    Last Sunday morning a close family friend stopped over to see a house guest from out of town (my wife's college roomate). I had just returned with my 3rd pickup truck load full from scrounging. Long story short, his brother has a wood stove but was caught during the power outage w/o any wood and felt kind of stupid. Apparently, they had a conversation about scrounging wood and my friend said to his brother, you really need to talk to "Gotwood" and figure this out. No time like the present I said, call him and lets go. Off we went and both came home with truck fulls. Afterwards, I sent him this email with some things I have learned from scrounging....figured I would post here as well

    Hey XXX - Lunch time here and I got to thinking of ideas to share w/your brother on wood scrounging tips I have learned over the past few years...

    Make sure every one you know is aware that you want wood and are willing to make it a win-win for them. All my nieghbors, family and friends know I'm the wood guy and I get most of my wood from helping them out. They can also save money if they are paying a tree service to cut down a tree if they know you will come and take it once down (minus branches).

    Never say no to an opportunity. Strike while the iron is hot (like now) and act quickly when an opportunity presents itself.

    When getting wood, make it clear what your willing to do and not to do. For example, you dont want to haul away the branches but are willing to put them in a neat pile or drag them into the woods (depends on the circumstance). Then exceed atleast by a little what you said you were willing to do (leave them feeling good about it).

    Check Craigslist on a regular basis. Search for "Firewood" and "Fire wood". Occasionally there will be a listing for free wood.

    Tree Service business - lots of these guys dont want to be bothered with hauling off the wood. They also dont like to spend the time transporting it and some even have to pay to dump it - if you want them to drop a load off when they are working near by it can be a win-win. Dont be afraid to ask. Especially when they are working in your nieghborhood.

    Pallets - can be a good supplement to your fire wood, especially if your wood isnt seasoned well.  Keep your eye out for them... I get them from XXX and the Beer store on 55 (They have a big pile in the back ..... just ask).

    Any wood is good wood when you dont have any.... that includes PINE. Just season it.

    Dont be afraid to ask someone that looks like they may have wood available... a tree down, some clue. If you dont want face to face, leave a note in the mail box saying that you burn wood to heat your home and noticed the wood in the yard, if your interested in having it removed I would gladly take it for free.... and leave your name and #. (I noticed a guy on XXX Road that has some big Ash rounds on the side of his yard that look like they have been there a while. I bet he would love to have someone remove them.... just ask. (If your brother doesnt I may do it once this current gold rush is over)

    Call the Town Hall and ask them what they do with the wood clearing done by the highway dept and if there is any opportunity for town residence to get it. I did this in out town and was told they dumped it in the lot on behind the town hall, they had hours you could come get it but to stop in at the bldg first and you needed to wear safety gear if running a saw. I never did it though.

    If your not interested in doing the work, buying wood isnt a bad deal - I see cords on Craigslist in the $200 ball park. Know though, it will not be seasoned and it most likely wont be a full cord. Might be a good idea to buy some now for next winter to get jump started on getting ahead.

    Getting ahead is really the key. Once you get ahead, the work becomes replacing what you burn so you stay ahead.

    A couple other wood burning key points:

    Stacking - Ideal method would be single rows, off the ground, cross stacked, in full sun and wind, Top covered with some sort of hard material like metal or roofing. Dont side cover. Leaving uncovered isnt bad unless you plan to burn it within a short time period. I stack on pallets (usually 4' x 40") and go 2 rows using the 40" as the width.

    Check your Chimney! Especially when burning wood that isnt seasoned properly. The best tool I have read about for sweeping the chimney is called the Sooteater. Currently on sale for $50 at this site


    http://www.smarthome.com/92311/Sooteater-RCH205-Rotary-Chimney-Cleaning-System/p.aspx
    Shadow&Flame, Shane N, milleo and 3 others like this.

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Good advise Got Wood. I hope they take your suggestions.
  3. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    Good tips.
    Never have "to much" wood :)
  4. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    899
    Loc:
    Dutchess Cty, NY
    Got an "alert" that chazcarr liked this post that I put out a year ago, thought it might be helpful to some one to bump it up where it can be seen again. Good luck scroungers!
  5. dogwood

    dogwood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Messages:
    634
    Loc:
    Western VA
    Great post Got Wood. Thanks. Been scrounging from the power line company's leavings next door all day. Been a while since I've been in beautiful Dutchess County. Great place to live. Went to school in New Paltz across the Hudson, and lived in Rhinebeck for a year or so afterwards, which is in Dutchess if I remember correctly. Take care.

    Mike
  6. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,133
    Loc:
    northwest Virginia
    You said it pretty good man
  7. suprz

    suprz Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    Messages:
    219
    Loc:
    Rhode island
    My local recycling center (literally less than 1mile) is for any kind of wood products from fences to whole trees. I went there last week, and saw a huge pile of tree trunks ! And amongst that pile was a 20ft long 10 wide black locust! Unfortunately it had a really big oak round right on top of it, and with both me and my son pushing, could not get it to roll off of it. I asked the guys at the gate if i could come back with my chainsaw, and i was told that they wont allow any motorized tools to be used by anyone that comes in. But i did get some really nice rounds of oak and maple to buck and split once i got home. I will make it my regular routine to stop there at least once a week. This sunday i replied to a craigslist ad about 4 oak trees that came downduring sandy. I rented a uhaul trailer and grabbed my saw and me and my son went out there and filled the trailer and my jeep. There was more to be had, but most of it was very far in the woods, and it was getting late so i left it for someone else. So far i have gotten 1/2 cord of pine, and about a cord of oak, maple, and poplar from the other scrounges. Of course this wont help me this year, but i will be well off next year. Needless to say, i dont plan on buying firewood. Now as far as buying new chains for the saw..that may be a different subject (i cant shapen a saw to save my life...) luckily there is a place nearby that sharpens chains for 7.00
  8. northernontario

    northernontario Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    120
    Loc:
    Ontario
    I recommend the little tool from Husqvarna that sits on your bar over your chain. You have to move it for each link you sharpen, but I've been using it for 3 years now and have never had a bar cut crooked since I started to use it. Pretty sure you can use it with other models of saws... the tool isn't a "set in stone" guide... so you're still eyeballing it based on the witness marks on the chain, but over time you get good at filing. Rarely have I been dissatisfied with my filing job... like I said, no crooked cuts, just the occasional quick-to-dull session when cutting wood.
  9. Shane N

    Shane N Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    West Central MN
    Are you able to get your vehicle right up to the pile? If so, maybe you could try using a log chain to pull out the locust?
  10. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
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    1,195
    Loc:
    NE Ohio
    For my area there is a Freecycle.org alert system that will notify participants of any key words like "wood" that end up in the city recycling center.
  11. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Croton-on-Hudson, suburbs of NYC
  12. suprz

    suprz Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    Messages:
    219
    Loc:
    Rhode island
    Next time i go there i am going to ask if i could just pull the logs outside the gate and cut them up right there, and tell them i would be willing to sweep up any shavings from the saw.

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