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Yes, Firewood Grows On Trees

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

  1. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Cut apart- these are very solid and straight grained, but there's about
    an inch that is punky, most places. Bark was starting to fall off in
    places. Some kind of borers may have killed this tree, but so far no
    evidence of them anywhere deeper than an inch or so. This stuff splits
    like a dream. "Red Oak- the anti-Elm"

    Oh- turns out the tree was 26in DBH.
    [​IMG]

    They hit the White Oak when the main trunk section came down.
    I sprayed it with asphalt-based tree wound compound where the
    bark got knocked off. Hope I did the right thing. I want to
    discourage any bugs from attacking that tree.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Have been busy lately, so I'm just taking my time with these Oak
    rounds. I split up about half of them recently. Very straight grained,
    about the best I've seen. They pretty much pop apart after I drive
    two wedges and then my torpedo through the middle. This is going
    to be some great BTU's, winter after next.
    [​IMG]

    This is much easier splitting than the ~2 cords of Oak from a
    Craig's List ad, mentioned above. That stuff was knotty and twisty
    enough to make splitting much more of a pain.
  3. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Yep. Well, Jags, I've accumulated enough wood now that I can plan for these to sit around and season for 18 months at least, after splitting. I have enough other wood that is (or will be) well seasoned for winter 2010-11. So I'm real close to being 3 years out ahead, as Dennis recommends. I just need to get all that splitting done now.
  4. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Gotta love those nice big straight rounds. Although, it kind of sucks to lose a tree like that.
  5. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Friday I got some time off so I spent the entire day moving wood around, splitting, stacking, and setting up a few more pallets for all the splits that I'll soon have. I got my storage area a lot neater and more organized. Looks way better than it did. Also got all of the brush, bark, branches, and rounds from the dead Red Oak we took down 'organized' and out of the way.

    I hand split about a half cord of Red Oak, smaller rounds from branches from that dead Oak. Looks like that tree yielded 2 to 2.5 cords or so. Here's an estimator for http://www.extension.iastate.edu/forestry/publications/F-338.pdf]cordage vs. diameter[/url] (.pdf) It agrees with what I calculate from the piles and stacks I have.

    I made a new list of all my stacks and piles, and it looks like I have 11+ cords on site, so I have met my goal of 3 year's supply. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement, Dennis. Many rounds still need splitting at this point. I think the neighbor will be borrowing that 20 ton hydraulic splitter again pretty soon, so I'll get my hands on it too.

    I'll post more photos later.
  6. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    I just picked up that batch of wood this past Friday. Every piece had to be brought up 15ft in elevation from the back yard, but it was worth it. It's another batch of Red Oak, and looks just beautiful when split. I got somewhere between 0.8 and 1 cord. This is the first time I had the van so full I had to rope the back doors partly open because my wheelbarrow wouldn't quite fit.

    I used my hand truck mostly, instead of the wheelbarrow- got the idea from one of you guys in the Forum. I enjoy seeing all the photos of other folks' setups. I learn a lot from that.

    This stuff is from a tree knocked over by Hurricane Isabel in 2004. It was stacked as rounds, not split first. It does seem a good bit drier than the stuff cut (green) this past January, from my Craig's List score. I have a hunch that some of this batch may be burnable late this coming winter 2010-11.

    The USB interface on my camera has gone flaky on me. Time for a new camera. I did take photos- will post them whenever I can pull those shots from the memory card.

    Thanks for all the inspiration, Dennis. I must be up to 11-12 cords on site now.



    P.S. A few days ago I finally got some time to get my saw out and
    process this half cord or so of log length (2-6ft) on the left into
    ready to split rounds- plus another ~1/4 cord shown in the 2nd
    photo on the left.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now comes some serious splitting this next month, somewhere
    around 8 cords all at once.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Clutter. Somehow I missed all the posts on this thread after I left for the trip and neglected to look at it when I got back. Your can't hook looks like a twin to ours.

    I agree, it is a great feeling when you get ahead with the firewood. It is a feeling which cannot be properly stated unless one experiences it themselves. To me it is like (or now even better) than money in the bank. When you look at the wood pile it is like having extra dollars set aside and you know that in an emergency, you can use it. Like what might happen if you can't get some wood for a while due to a sickness, injury or whatever. You have the wood so you are covered. In addition, you have the benefit of burning good dry wood which means better fires and you will use less wood in the long run. My congratulations to you. May you surpass me in the size of your woodpile!
  8. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    I tried splitting a bunch of these rounds with my 6lb maul, stuff up to about 8-9in diameter. The wood was well checked, with splits clean through in many cases. I generated maybe 1/6 cord or so in this session. Turns out that nearly all of this smaller wood is going to be burnable this winter. Heck, some of it could be burned starting as early as shoulder season this fall.

    I sorted it into two small stacks of splits- burn right away and burn towards late winter, as some of it felt slightly moist after splitting. But the beauty of it is that a lot of it feels pretty much bone dry, and clanks just like a baseball bat sounds. About 60-70 percent of these small rounds were 'burn now'.

    I'm sure that a lot of the bigger stuff, some over 24in diameter, will need a year to finish seasoning- but the point is that the wood did season some for sure, even though stacked as big rounds for 6 years.



    Turns out that a lot of the top branches from my dead Red Oak tree are also 'burn now'. I'm taking the extra time and effort to keep track of what's what and funneling this fully seasoned wood to my wood cribs for burning this winter, probably late in the season. 6-8 cords here will get 1-2 more years to season.

    Maybe now I'll build a woodshed in the fall. You guys with all your new woodsheds are really inspiring me. Meanwhile, I'm sitting on a large supply of 2by lumber I've been scrounging free this past year. I've now got near enough scrounged plywood and OSB for a roof...
  9. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    Cluttertmagnet I've never found one oak on our property then the other day I found one oak leaf outside the house next to the driveway, I did some seaching but no luck finding it yet.

    zap
  10. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Well, the Cherry wood just about makes up for that, Zap. That Oak leaf probably got tracked in- they can ride a while stuck to the sole of your shoe, blow into a pickup bed, etc.
  11. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    I finally got a few days use on a hydraulic splitter the neighbor had for a while. Virtually all of my big piles of rounds are now split. There were still a few remaining when I had to give back the splitter, but I sure did go through a mountain of wood in three days.

    There was a thread a while back about which phase of wood processing members least like. Well, for me it has to be machine splitting. Three days of that just left me tired beyond words. OTOH while I like manual splitting, I really doubt I could ever have worked my way through that much tough, green wood as I had built up this year.

    I now have most of it stacked. All that nice Red Oak shown earlier in this thread is now in neat cubes of wood with lots of airways intentionally left between splits. I listened to Dennis and Jags and others and increased my row spacing wherever possible- also got intentionally more sloppy stacking individual splits. I used to fit 'em tight like a 3D jigsaw puzzle. No more. I'm trying to let 'em breathe, these days.

    Earlier I estimated about 11 cords on site. It now looks like that was a little optimistic. Maybe it's more like 9+ cords right now. Is that a 3 year supply for me? I'm not yet sure, but my estimate is still 3 cords per year, so 'maybe'. I sure do want to reach and then maintain that 3 year reserve Dennis recommends.


    Edit: I'm remembering where some of the wood gathered this past summer went. Probably the 'missing' ~2 cord difference between 9 cords and 11 cords is the smaller stuff that got hand split and stacked on my older pallets along with the seasoned stuff for this year. Things move around a lot during the year and I don't keep maps or lists like some do- so I soon forget where stuff is.
    I shove the drier stuff into this year's stacks and lose track of where it went.
  12. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Behind the Holly and to the left: Splits from deadwood Oak,
    7 rows, ~1 cord. This is all hand split.
    To the right: Three rectangular 'cubes' of Oak, 42x96in, about 3.5ft tall.
    Each 'cube' holds about 0.8 cord of Red Oak.
    Not shown is another ~half cord of Yellow (Tulip) Poplar splits
    from the same batch that just got processed.
    In the foreground is my chunky wood crib for odds and ends.

    [​IMG]


    This view shows more clearly the spacing between the three pallets.

    [​IMG]


    This freshly split wood is going to need a year or two to season.
    The deadwood splits are ready now or by late winter this year.

    [​IMG]


    This was a heck of a lot of work splitting what turned out to be only around 3 green cords- but there's plenty more deadwood where that other batch of deadwood came from. Anyway, I prefer hand splitting that stuff to machine splitting the green stuff any day! I can hand split any time I feel like it- no deadline to return my maul to the rental place. :)
  13. jlove1974

    jlove1974 Member

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    Looks good!
    Although, when I stack on pallets, I try to leave at least 6-8 inches between two rows on each pallet for airspace. Otherwise the middle never will season (well, ok it will season in 3 years).

    Although stacked tight like that on each pallet would let you move it around with a lift pretty easy.
    Let us know how that stuff is in 18 months. Do you have a moisture meter?
  14. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Yes, I have one of the cheapie Harbor Freight meters. Will look at MC from time to time. I'm not expecting miracles on seasoning. This stuff may or may not be ready for winter 2011. I figure more like two years. I have enough of the deadwood Oak to fall back on, and can get enough of that from year to year. One year tops for the wettest of that stuff to be ready. I'd just as soon stay away from green wood anyway, but I'm going to take it however it comes available.

    Agree that I could have allowed a little more space between stacks. What may happen is that it gets stacked again if I ever build my woodshed- maybe in the shed, maybe in single rows along the property line. Just wanted to get it neatened up after all the splitting. It didn't look so good laying around in random piles. Possibly a bit unsightly to some of the neighbors? OTOH one adjoining neighbor was soon asking me about buying some. Apparently that amount of wood looks to him like a 'surplus'. ;-)

    The one thing I'll add for now is top covering with tarps. Some of this wood was punky. Don't want it constantly getting rewetted by rain. Did at least try to leave lots of air space between individual splits. I think it was the fact that the tree guys cut this stuff into all sorts of different lengths that led to the stupid 'cubes'. I felt I had to do a lot of crisscross lays and a lot of overlapping to keep it all level and stable. What I really wanted was two neat rows per pallet. See the 1st photo showing space between each deadwood stack on the left side. Like that. You'll notice I split all the deadwood smaller. Most of it is perfectly good to go in 0 to 6 months.
  15. jlove1974

    jlove1974 Member

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    You're definitely gonna be pushing it to season any oak in a years time....
  16. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Definitely! 2-3 years is more realistic. But when dealing with deadwood Oak, if it's already seasoned, MC already where it belongs, you can 'burn it now'- and I have many times. Nice hot fires, no sizzling, zero visible smoke. Oh, and very minimal creosote formation in the chimney, BTW.

    In practice, I've seen the vast majority of the deadwood Red Oak I processed need 0 to 12 months to be ready. It looks a lot like a bell curve, with most of it finished in 3-9 months, in my experience. Keep in mind I'm splitting that stuff pretty small- picture 3-4-5in faces on many of them.
  17. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Well, the 'firewood tree' that started this thread gave out on me. No more splits just laying around waiting to be picked up. OTOH I can go pull deadwood out of my friend's woods pretty much as needed- I just have to cut it up from log length. Those old splits burned real nice last winter BTW.

    The main thrust of my current efforts is to try to build up a 3 year supply, as Dennis recommends. Also, each year I try to harvest enough deadwood to keep me going for the coming winter. I probably already have more than enough for this coming winter, except that a good part of it is Oak that's going to need another year to really be seasoned right. Last winter was a pretty high BTU season. I burned more than expected.

    I just started harvesting again this past week. This is a later start to the wood gathering this year. So far I got a half cord of deadwood Cherry, then another smaller load, maybe a quarter cord of Cherry and Red Oak combined. My buddy pulled a few trees out next to the lane for me with his tractor. Sure makes it a lot easier, having to work in this hot weather.


    [​IMG]

    Cherry wood. This will definitely be ready for this winter.


    [​IMG]

    I got just over a half cord, this outing.


    [​IMG]

    Stacked for splitting. The cube of Cherry rounds in the center
    measured about 0.52 cord.


    [​IMG]

    Deadwood Red Oak. Definitely will not be ready this winter.
    This stuff is real wet.


    [​IMG]

    About a quarter cord of Oak and Cherry. I forgot my ramp and
    had to leave a bunch of bigger Oak rounds for next trip. Note to
    self: Make an equipment checklist. Use it!
    That Red Oak runs around 14-18in diameter. Those larger rounds
    are too heavy to risk my back on. I'll get them next trip.
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Mighty fine! As for the forgetting of tools, I seem to have become a professional at that lately so you are not alone. Yesterday I went to the pond to start getting water for the fruit trees and bushes. Well, it took me 3 trips to get everything together... Geeze, I used to really give the kids a tough time for doing dumb things like that. If memory serves me, I first forgot my boots and something to get water for priming the pump. Second trip, I got the cup for priming the pump (yes, forgot it again). Third trip was to come back for some gas to run the pump. One might say that was not one of my better days.
  19. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    Not much decomposes near my place.......

    but then, I don't have a mate who owns woodland with self splitting trees ;-)
  20. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    We all come to it eventually, it's called getting older.

    Some start practising younger than others ;-)
  21. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Right. Well, this friend had briefly been set up to split and sell firewood. Another friend of mine bought some, on my recommendation. It was great stuff- lots of good Oak and some Hickory, too. Anyway, that friend later decided he didn't want to sell firewood any more, so he made me welcome to harvest at his place, and those splits just laying around were part of it all. He burned firewood for years himself, but just got tired of it. I'm so new to it that my enthusiasm is still very high. Besides, I sure need the exercise. I'm starting to get a little pudgy around the waist. ;-)

  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I guess it is like a neighbor of ours says. Why do a job right the first time? Do it over and you get more practice....
  23. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    I'm going to remember my ramp today- and maybe even the gas can. ;-)
  24. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    That pile from a couple of weeks ago grew to about 1.5 cords before I took the week off from wood cutting
    due to the extreme heat. It's gotten a lot better this week. Will probably cut some more in the next few days.
    Everything I'm taking is deadwood.



    [​IMG]
    About 1.5 cords- on the left side is Locust, on the right some Cherry.


    [​IMG]
    On the back right corner, those last 3 courses are White Oak. In an earlier
    post I had mis-identified that wood as Red Oak- but it later became clear
    from the bark that it is really White Oak. My friend looked at it and agrees
    it's White Oak.


    [​IMG]
    In this view, the right corner is some more Cherry, left corner is the White
    Oak. The Cherry was the most dry of all the wood. I think most of this will
    burn great this coming winter, except the Oak, of course. I'll give that 1-2
    years after splitting. It was pretty wet.


    BTW here's an interesting fact from that very interesting list we saw on this forum recently:
    Yep, that pretty much explains why White Oak has such a bad rep for seasoning.
  25. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    You are really on a mission....and gettin' it done!
    I'm curious to know how well the stuff that's stacked close together dries. Dennis (and others) does this as well. Perhaps it dries so well just because of the time involved and/or the fact that some of what you're getting is dead already (ie:at least partially dry).
    I prefer, and have the room, to stack in long rows to maximize sun and wind exposure. What ever works is good. :coolsmile:

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