How many cords of firewood needed?

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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
4,083
SE North Carolina
ok.. never said anything bad about that species.. and nobody was given the choice between the 2 woods.. wet or dry
No you didn’t and think your date on btus of species is really helpful to understand.

I was just pointing if I was trying to get 3 years ahead poplar isn’t a terrible choice for next year if it presents itself. I wouldn’t ever choose poplar if given a choice but ive burnt plenty of it because it’s what fell close by or was set out on the curb.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
18,120
Philadelphia
I see your trying to get your wood consumption to 8 cords.. how are u going to make that achievable.. are u supplementing with something else..
Nope. Just using the second stove less! ;lol

In reality, I was burning that second stove more than needed because:

1. There was a time it was my only stove, so I was just in the habit of using it as much as possible.
2. I used to regularly overheat that side of the house mid-day, just to have it warm in the mornings

Last year, I changed my habit to only load it on weekend evenings. This year, I'm home much more than last year, but I'm experimenting with just partial loads, as I really don't need that part of the house heated all afternoon. I can load with just 5 splits at 10-11pm, burn it low and slow thru the night, and have that side of the house still at 72F when we eat breakfast 6-7am. The stove goes out by noon the next day, but between solar gain and a little heat absorbed and radiated back from the stone fireplace, temperature over there actually holds reasonably enough until the next evening. I might burn a little more oil in the evenings, before I get around to a reload, but right now that's keeping me from having to build another wood shed.
 
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TradEddie

Minister of Fire
Jan 24, 2012
978
SE PA
No you didn’t and think your date on btus of species is really helpful to understand.

I was just pointing if I was trying to get 3 years ahead poplar isn’t a terrible choice for next year if it presents itself. I wouldn’t ever choose poplar if given a choice but ive burnt plenty of it because it’s what fell close by or was set out on the curb.
I don't get the hate on poplar either. It dries fast, lights easily, burns prettily, doesn't make splinters and doesn't leave piles of coals, the only down side is that it does all that for only half as long. Added bonus is that you can impress your neighbors by slinging 24" rounds like frisbees. I just wish I could figure out why some poplar trees are almost impossible to split when green and others are a breeze.

TE
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
4,083
SE North Carolina
I don't get the hate on poplar either. It dries fast, lights easily, burns prettily, doesn't make splinters and doesn't leave piles of coals, the only down side is that it does all that for only half as long. Added bonus is that you can impress your neighbors by slinging 24" rounds like frisbees. I just wish I could figure out why some poplar trees are almost impossible to split when green and others are a breeze.

TE
I got a couple rounds that were lowest 6’. Nearly impossible to split green. Having milled nearly 40’ from the first big crotch down the flare I can say the wood grain changes near the bottom. I would not say that the grain is not straight at the bottom but it sure is tougher wood. Almost has a resinous quality. I’ve seen it in crotches too. I had this much left to go mill or cut for fire wood and I left it. 150’ from my wood stacks. Wife said I’m turning the house into a fire hazard bringing in something like 16. 24”+ slabs in.

EDA95024-FF80-4E8E-9DFA-B9C5A46C9D14.jpeg
 

TradEddie

Minister of Fire
Jan 24, 2012
978
SE PA
I got a couple rounds that were lowest 6’. Nearly impossible to split green. Having milled nearly 40’ from the first big crotch down the flare I can say the wood grain changes near the bottom. I would not say that the grain is not straight at the bottom but it sure is tougher wood. Almost has a resinous quality. I’ve seen it in crotches too. I had this much left to go mill or cut for fire wood and I left it. 150’ from my wood stacks. Wife said I’m turning the house into a fire hazard bringing in something like 16. 24”+ slabs in.

View attachment 301210
That may be it! The first time I had poplar, a friend milled the lower trunk (see my avatar pic, I had lots to give away), so I only had the higher up leftovers which could almost be split by waving an axe nearby! This most recent tree, some rounds were, as you say, almost rubbery, the axe, maul, wedge and even Fiskars could bounce off leaving barely a mark, not enough to seat a wedge next swing. I left those in the sun for six months and they became manageable, now three years later it's a perfect shoulder season wood.

Back to OP question, I'm normally only a weekend burner, but working from home much more due to Covid, I burned two cords last season and that was nowhere near full time, I'd easily need 3 cords if I was burning 24/7.

TE
 
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Piney

Member
Nov 29, 2015
77
Frozen North
It’s fun reading the story of when someone starts burning. It’s always very interesting and we are grateful when people share their stories. It makes us all richer.
At any rate, where we are it’s cold 7 months of the year and on average we burn about 8 1/2 cord of pine. It’s currently -30C and we have only 8 cord sitting in the main shed (prob enough) but 2 cord are still in seasoned logs sitting under a foot of powder snow. We got behind on prep this year when the young and short wife decided, at the end of August, to let her brother and his youngest kid move in permanently. I had to take the truck half way across the country to fetch them - and then plenty of time was lost rebuilding part of the old house to accommodate them for their first year. We just moved them out of a (literal) shack back in our woods and in to the main house on Sunday. (They can build their own place next year as by then they will have some idea of what is needed and how to handle the tools). At least now, with the renos done, it will be easy enough to finish up the decked firewood logs but I sure don’t like leaving things this late. In this case I guess it’s okay because we always keep a couple of cord in a secondary shed ‘just in case’ (a thing we do because because once it gets really cold after Christmas that is no good time to discover we have sleep walked in to a firewood shortage). Although I completely despise having to use the snow-machine to slide back loads of standing dead from down the frozen river in the dead of winter, we always have that option as well. So we’re good.
At any rate, we are isolated, off grid and wood is heat, hot water and cooking from September through March - though we also keep a few 100 lb bottles of propane on hand, have a back up gas stove, plumbed in gas lights and a wall fireplace thing. Of course the gas wouldn’t last long though if we really needed it for continuous heat but it’s nice to have the fp on pilot if we are away the day as it will kick on and keep things from freezing if we are late getting back.
Fwiw: After a couple learning years on wood we notice that most newcomers have gained a pretty good idea of their wood consumption and we recommend to them that a 50% buffer of ‘more wood’ on top of that is enough for safety and comfort.
And that’s what I wanted to say here. 50% more than needed is a good safe policy. Time tested and keeps families alive and comfortable without the need for heroics at -50.
 

Crummy

Member
Sep 2, 2022
139
North Pole, AK
Probably best to look at your first year wood burning as a learning year. Learn about your stove, and how to get, store and dry wood. And all of the tools one employs to do these things. Just set yourself up for year two.
Mistakes are definitely made. Been almost 30 years since I heated with wood so this is basically my first year. I made some serious mistakes in setting myself up for the winter. For example I filled the wood shed with six cords of wood but as I've been taking it out only about 75% of it is ready to burn. I put stuff in that had been down for a long time and fresh trees, when it's buried a couple of rows back it does not season like the stuff on the outside. I now have five cord on pallet bunks with the top covered for 2023-2024 and only seasoned wood in the shed for this winter. Also have 12 cord of 1-2 year old logs decked up for 2024-2027. It's all a learning process but when you end up having to dig a cord out of the shed and restack it outside for further drying it makes the education stick in your head a little better.