1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Yes, Firewood Grows On Trees

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Cluttermagnet, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    No, really- it does. I know this because every time I go out to my friend's acreage to harvest wood, there are lots of seasoned, 4-5 year old hardwood splits just laying around on the ground. All I have to do is bend down, pick them up, knock the dirt off them, and load them in my van. Am I lucky or what? He must have some sort of firewood tree, I guess. Splits just fall to the ground in Autumn.

    He also had a deadwood Cherry for me. It blew down in high winds a couple of years ago. Nearly all of it was off the ground, still hinged at about a 4ft to the stump, about 12-14in diameter at the base. Pristine wood- no ants, borers, or whatever in evidence. Cherry is usually soooo infested. This stuff is old enough the bark is falling off it. Split it this week, burn it in the fall. Man, I'm in wood burners heaven every time I go out there. It would take me a few years to clean up all his acreage. As it is, lots of stuff just lays around decomposing.

    I measured about 0.87 cord, more or less, after loading it all. Photos tomorrow. I'll be going back there later in the week for another load or two. This will be my year to finally try to get a year or two ahead, just for once. It was a colder winter in the mid-Atlantic. We burned a little more wood than expected. Happily, we didn't come near to running out. Probably at least 1+ cord left. As a beginner, I have been making it primarily because I have had access to so much excellent deadwood. In fact, it's nearly all deadwood I harvest.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,026
    Loc:
    Madison, WI
    Are you sure it wasn't 0.88? ;-)
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Why just for once? Once you are 2 or 3 years ahead, stay there! It is a bit of work getting to that point but once there it is easy. I relate it to the old pitcher pumps. You had to prime them to get the water flowing. Then all you had to do was keep some easy pressure while pumping. Stop pumping and then you'd have to prime the thing again. With firewood, like with water; keep pumping!

    Glad you found a good spot to get that wood.
  4. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    A figure of speech, "just for once". I'm so new to wood burning that I have yet to get ahead 2-3 years that first time. So this is my year to do that. Actually, Dennis, I enjoy the wood processing so much that I think I will have no problems 'keeping the pump primed' in the future. ;-)
  5. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    I took a few photos today while unloading the latest haul. It was late in the day and rainy, so they
    aren't very good. I'll redo it on a sunny day.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Above you see my wood getter, a 1 ton van that doubles as a work truck. I had it nearly half
    unloaded before I remembered to get the camera.

    Also shown is a small stack of Cherry rounds, not the whole tree but most of it. I'm told it's about
    two years old. The bark is starting to fall off. There's still a Cherry log about 6ft long by about 12-
    14in left over. Both his saw and mine were acting up that afternoon. I'll go back later this week to
    get that and lots more. Oh, yes- there's also a jagged stump 3-4ft tall to get too.



    [​IMG][​IMG]

    To the left of the Maple is a stack of well seasoned splits- probably mostly Oak with a little Hickory
    as well. Also a small pile of short 'log length' (3-6ft), mostly Oak. There is plenty more like this just
    laying around waiting to be picked up and tossed in the van.
  6. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    I picked up the rest of the Cherry on Wednesday, plus various other splits and rounds laying around. Looks like another 0.82 cord or so. My friend pointed out that some of the rounds I cut from deadwood on the ground happened to be Locust. Now I know what the stuff was that I had in another thread about Wood ID. In the future I'll recognize this from the grain only, even if the bark is gone like on this batch. In all, another good day. I love working in the Spring. Planning on getting it all done before the really hot weather settles in here.

    My 1 ton van has the beefed up suspension package, looks like. It's first few years it was as a plumber's truck. The back end settled only about 1.5-2 inches and looks to be pretty far from bottoming out. My friend says I could load this old van to the roof, no problems. I think I'm good with about 1/2 to 2/3 full, however. Handling and braking are pretty good loaded this way.

    Oh, the base of the Cherry did have ants after all, to maybe 2-3ft height. Guess I really expected that. But the rest of it was beautiful, non- buggy wood.
  7. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    I picked up another load today- all Red Oak deadwood. Most had ground contact, a little was off ground a ways. Looks like just under 0.8 cord in the van this time. I'll post photos tomorrow. Some of it is a little punky, most is not. Some was pretty wet inside, though not all rotten. Other parts were off the ground and are dry. I'll see how it splits. Probably good to burn regardless, but maybe a few less BTU's in that wet wood (due to slight amounts of rot). This brings my total from that site up to 2.5+ cords so far this season.

    Edit: Here are two shots of another ~0.8 cord in the van.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    In the photo above, you can see that the round on the right middle is fairly dry. Will split it in the next few days. It should burn OK some time next winter 2010-11. You can see that three of the rounds on the bottom row are quite wet, however. They will probably need more than a year to season. Wet ones like these I tend to split smaller.
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Clutter, whatever you do, be sure to stack that wood where wind will hit it and preferably some sunshine too. That is because of the type of wood it is. It has been laying around so no doubt is pretty wet stuff.

    Earlier you wrote, "Actually, Dennis, I enjoy the wood processing so much that I think I will have no problems ‘keeping the pump primed’ in the future." I think there are a lot of us who enjoy doing this and am glad you enjoy it too.
  9. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    Thanks, Dennis. Indeed, that deadwood Oak can be pretty darned wet. I have seen it need more than a year after splitting. What I've learned is to jumble stack it ('heaphausen') to let as much air as possible go through the stack. I'm in near full shade all summer, so sun is less of a help for me. I may get the odd hour or half hour of direct sunlight at times, through openings in the canopy of leaves 100ft above. Mainly, I know to let it breathe as much as possible. Stacking can come later.

    Hmmm- maybe I'll try some of that crisscross stacking you guys do at the ends of your stacks sometimes- just for the really wettest ones, 'heaphausen' for the rest. ;-)

    See the two new photos above for an example of just how wet the Red Oak I get comes to me sometimes.
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Clutter, believe it or not, that wood will dry faster after being stacked!

    To maximize the drying though, I'd stack it pretty darned loose and stack it so the wind hits the sides of the piles and not the ends. Also, leave plenty of room between each row; at least enough so you can walk through without turning sideways. Air flow is the key.


    As for the crisscross stacking, that does work nicely on the ends but also can work nicely for drying if you stack it all that way. Caution though; don't stack it too high or it will tend to get a bit unstable. This is also another reason why when I split wood I like to make squares or rectangles rather than more pie shaped. It stacks nicely for ends and also stacks nicely in the stove.
  11. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    Here are a couple of photos of my pile of rounds lately. I haven't added any to this in about a week. Estimate 3.5 to 4.3 cords there, maybe closer to the lower number. Will be getting more next week. The goal is about 10-12 cords this year, split and stacked- if I have enough time. The neatly stacked stuff is Cherry, 2 years old. Theres about a 1/4 cord of mostly Red Oak splits on the end. Most of the rest is also Oak, with maybe another 1/3 cord of Yellow Poplar buried in there too.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The small pile of splits in the foreground are some Black Gum (probably). A neighbor gave me an odd piece about 36in long that was just laying in the woods across the street from them. I cut it in half and split it. I had heard terrible things about how difficult Gum supposedly is. These weren't too bad. BTW I'm trying to positively ID the wood. My Wood ID thread about Gum tree is here. Please weigh in with your guess, if you can help.

    Maybe a wood shed in the fall- finally.
  12. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    I picked up another ~.62 cord of Red Oak deadwood this weekend. These are big and heavy rounds. Some are wet from ground contact, but the wood looks to be still pretty sound. I needed my 2x8 wood ramps to roll these up into the van.


    There was room for more but I lost the light before I had it all loaded.
    [​IMG]


    Easy to see that some of the rounds are pretty wet.
    [​IMG]


    Everything to the left of the line is 'new'. Two courses by three levels.
    [​IMG]


    If I can keep up a steady pace like this throughout the summer, I should end up with my three years supply by fall.
  13. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    I'm listening to your experience, Dennis, and I'm modifying how I do things a little. In the past two years it has been too much narrow spaced stacks, side by side.

    My 'Heap Hausen'® on 7x9ft of pallets I have only allowed to go to about 1ft height.
    [​IMG]
    I won't make any really tall heaps of splits. I'm going to concentrate on doing the well- spaced stacks approach instead. I do like to spread the wood in thin layers on pallets if it's really wet, however. Then after a month or two of drying, move it to stacks.



    Heap Hausen® is a registered trademark of Jags, Incorporated, Illinois, USA
    %-P
  14. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    14,655
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Clutter - the old saying around these parts was "stack it so a squirrel can run through it, but the dog can't". If you are in a race for wood, as Dennis stated, row stacking is your best bet.

    Once you get plenty ahead, your heap hausen method will work, but only cuz you will have two or three years of drying time.

    (I am still waiting for my first royalty check from coining the term Heap Hausen. I ain't seen one yet >:-( )
  15. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    That puts stacking in a different light, Jags. My close- spaced stacks usually met the 'squirrel width' spacing, but definitely not the dog or human spacing. Often I would stack with cross member longer splits to tie these close- spaced rows solidly together (to lessen the risk of a stack tipping over). I can see how human width stack spacing would be best, or especially long, meandering, single stacks hugging fence lines, etc. BTW I'm keeping all my stacks low profile- 3-4ft max height. I have the room and I'm just trying to minimize visual impact on my neighbors- since I can.


    Yeah, I'm starting to get it, so far as piles of splits. For unseasoned wood, that would only be expected to work well on a 3 year cycle, not with 'hand to mouth' (year to year) scrounging. I am harvesting near 100 percent deadwood. That helps, but big old Oak rounds are about as wet as live cut. I suspect they do season faster once they get split, but seems like some of them do need a full year.


    Leave it to the ingenuity of the American farm boy. I laughed my aspen off when I first saw that. Kind of reminded me of Mike Meyer's "Dieter" character on "Saturday Night Live". The German tendency towards methodical precision is sometimes just too tempting a target for humor. ;-)
    :lol:


    P.S. I have some German ancestors so I guess I 'have a right...' :)


    Heap Hausen® is a registered trademark of Jags, Incorporated, Illinois, USA
  16. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    14,655
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Just to clarify - that is between splits not the rows themselves. (think air movement between splits)
  17. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    "I see" said the blind man.

    "D'oh!" (Slaps self on forehead) :red:
  18. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    I got lucky with a Craig's List ad recently. Homeowner had 3-4 cords of Red Oak from a tree that split and had to be taken down last winter. Probably had a trunk around 30-32in DBH. Long story short, I ended up with about 2 cords of it. The guy said he got 30 emails from his ad. He chose 3, and I was one of the lucky ones. Something about writing a good email, no doubt. I'm guessing he wanted to give it to someone who would actually use it, as opposed to turning it around and selling it.

    I'm pretty tired from all the work. Took me a few days because it was all down a hill part ways and we had to bring it up in wheelbarrows with about a 15ft elevation gain. Basically, I got 4 van loads averaging about a half cord, plus/minus. This wood will be for the winter after next, 2011/12. It is still quite wet, as this was a live tree when it was felled. I've been spoiled by all the deadwood Red Oak I've been getting. Live wood makes you work twice as hard. Yikes! A little sore this week.

    I'm closing in on my 3 year reserve, Dennis. May have it finally this year. ;-)
    Photos soon...


    Edit: The homeowner was happy to see all the wood gone. He ended up offering me more wood- a pile of Oak rounds in his back yard. Looks like about 3/4 cord or so. Slightly punky in places but still looks like good, sound wood.

    I'll have to do another estimate, but bet there is now 7-8 cords at my place. I'm getting close now to having that 3 year reserve, which would be 9-12 cords.
  19. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,777
    Loc:
    mid-ohio
    I call that stacking method the random squiggle......
    heap hausen, huh........
    hope we dont have any copyright infringment there
    ill have the attorney do some checking.........
  20. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    I think Jags will let you slide on that. :)

    Do a forum search on "Holtz Hausen". After a while it will start to sink in, the humor behind "Heap Hausen". :lol:

    Heap Hausen® is a registered trademark of Jags, Incorporated, Illinois, USA
  21. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    Here are a few shots of my ~2 cords of Red Oak from a Craig's List
    ad last week. This is a typical batch from that job, about 1/2 cord
    loaded. It took several trips to get it all.

    Note the wood handled cant hook, Dennis. ;-)

    [​IMG]


    All the small rounds and logs in the left side of the photo are new.
    There is about 1/2 cord there. Visible in the upper RH corner is
    another 1.5 cords from that batch.
    [​IMG]


    This is that other ~1.5 cords of it.
    [​IMG]


    This wood was cut green this past winter. It is very wet and heavy. I had to work extra hard for this batch. It was harder to split by hand, and harder to move uphill 15ft in elevation. My muscles are telling me just how true the old saying is: "Wood heats you three times..." Yeah, right. More like 7-8-9 times, I'd say. This is too much like work. Deadwood Oak is ever so much easier to work with. BTW this batch is for winter 2011-12 or later, and I'm zeroing in towards my goal of 3 years supply on hand, Dennis. Still a lot of splitting to get done in the next month.
  22. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Loading wood in a van has got to be a PITA compared to a pickup?
  23. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    That's a good question. I have only a little experience with pickups. Helped a guy load one time. Splits, loose tossed. It was fairly easy. He had no rear window protection, made me nervous.

    With my van, mostly it's rounds or big splits (halves and quarters). Heavy. I end up having to do some crawling around and grunting as I more or less stack them. There is a double, side- access cargo door, helps greatly. Yeah, probably it's harder than a pickup where you can get at 3 sides of that bed. Or with side rails, just toss.

    OTOH with a 1-ton van, I can haul more than most pickups can handle- up to a cord or so. I got a real good price on the van. It doubles as a part time work truck. I love it, despite the drawbacks. Started out as a plumber's truck. Has the extra heavy duty suspension. Those guys often haul concrete rubble from basement rough ins. Truck has to be tough.
  24. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    14,655
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    That looks to be a pretty nice pile of heat. Get it off the ground, split, stacked and in full sun and wind. Thats your best bet on getting it dried up and burnable.
  25. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    863
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    OMG it's positively raining firewood here. We had a second Red Oak in our yard, dead a couple of years, and a tree service guy has been asking me if he could take it down since last year. He was in my neighborhood the other day doing another job and asked again. His price was so good I said to go ahead. Three hours later they got that other job done and started mine. It went well and within a couple of hours it was all safely on the ground. I got a good price because I take care of all cleanup, including all branches. I think everyone was happy. They did saw mostly through the biggest trunk sections on the ground for me. This helped greatly the next day when I went out and used a wedge and carefully finished all the cuts without burying the nose of my saw in the ground. My results exceeded my expectations; it went pretty fast and easy. I had thought I'd have to get a helper on the big stuff.

    So now I have probably another 3+ cords or so of Red Oak. It was about 30in +/- DBH, and around 100ft tall. That puts me up around 10-12 cords on site, so I have now met my goal of 3 years wood on hand, Dennis. Next comes all the processing, probably a couple of days splitting to get it all done.

    [​IMG]

    This is more wood for winter 2011/12 and later. Fortunately, I do already have enough wood seasoned to get me through 2010/11 at this point.

Share This Page