I Think I've Become the Neighborhood Tree Guy...

Feb 2, 2020
103
Madison, WI
Somehow I've become the neighborhood tree guy. Someone in the neighborhood is getting a tree taken down, that wood is at my house a day or two later. Literally having just finished splitting the wood the tree service dropped off, one of our neighbors who walks her dog past our house every day let me know that a house on a street not far from me is taking down a 200 yr old oak tree and there is wood on the curb. I'm thinking, great, free firewood! I head over there, yeah there's a pile of branches and some rounds on the curb. I move the branches and began loading the rounds in my car. The homeowners come out and start talking with me, they ask me if I burn wood and would like some more oak. They show me the tree they are taking down. A 200 yr old oak, rotted in the middle, snapped in half and a large chunk of it smacked into their house and their roof. The rest of the tree, probably some 80 or so feet of it still standing, is being removed by the city since its tangled in power lines. They say that I can have as much oak as I want. The city is coming tomorrow to remove the tree but its up to the homeowners to clean up the wood. None of these people burn wood or have a wood burning stove/fireplace. They ask me if I have a chainsaw (I have 3). I tell them I'll come by in the evenings and help these guys take apart the tree and take as much as the tree as I can. They're on their own for the trunk base sections, which I estimate is over 3 ft in diameter and there's no way I'm trying to transport that in my Equinox. This is what I grabbed tonight, the entire tree is probably over 5 cords of wood in itself, I'll be happy if I get 2 to 3 cords from it.
 

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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,305
Northern NH
What is treasure to wood burners, is trash to be gotten rid of by most home owners and cities.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
4,900
07462
Don't discount the oak trunk, yeah they are big and heavy, but generally oak with (2) metal wedges splits very easily, you can half or quarter a oak trunk in no time.
 
Feb 2, 2020
103
Madison, WI
What is treasure to wood burners, is trash to be gotten rid of by most home owners and cities.
I know, I love when a non wood burner is taking down a tree!! Seems most of the non wood burners have tree troubles and therefore have no use for the tree. For my city, 99% of the time they come out to take down a tree they haul it away to be "chipped" citing that chipping somehow is going to kill all the possible invasive insects and tree diseases. Sure maybe if they heat treat the chips but they don't. They don't even offer free chip drops and pick up anymore so who knows what is really happening to those logs!


Don't discount the oak trunk, yeah they are big and heavy, but generally oak with (2) metal wedges splits very easily, you can half or quarter a oak trunk in no time.
I'd love to take every last bit of this oak, don't get me wrong. For me it's a logistics issue getting family members with vehicles with trailer hitches and trailers to town to help move the wood. It's too short notice for them since they all live an hour or more away and most don't want to come to Madison because of the Covid outbreaks we're still dealing with (most of them have or live with someone who has health problems so they can't take chances). I think just with my SUV and my wife's SUV with several trips we can get 90% of the wood and then afterwards see if it makes sense to split down the trunk sections. The guy lives 3 streets over from my house so I don't mind taking a bunch of trips since he's so close. I haven't personally seen the rest of the tree yet and since half of it has already come crashing down I am thinking there's a good deal of rot somewhere in the tree and I don't want that stuff anyways.
 

aansorge

Minister of Fire
Aug 12, 2011
911
Southern Minnesota
I'd highly recommend getting a hitch and a 4 by 8 trailer for yourself. If you are going to be a wood burner it will be a huge help. When I started burning, I owned a 1991 Honda Accord wagon. That was my wood hauler as well as my daily driver. Ridiculous. Soon I invested in a 4 by 8 trailer and added a hitch to my wife's van. This works great. I have had the trailer for about 13 years ago, and use it in the woods with an ATV for gathering and as a hauler to my home in the winter (I store the wood at my uncle's).

It is not only a wood hauler but useful for all kinds of hauling (bikes to the campground, couches, etc.). These trailers are cheap, low to the ground (for easy loading), and pull behind anything. After you've owned a simple 4 by 8 trailer, living without one seems silly.
 
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Mutineer

New Member
Dec 13, 2018
33
NE Ohio
I have found that aansorge's excellent suggestion of buying a 4 x 8 trailer can only be surpassed by have a close (2 miles away) firewood buddy who owns one and has the space to store it.
 
Feb 2, 2020
103
Madison, WI
A trailer would be an excellent idea but I ended up getting the version of the Equinox that doesn't have the hitch or the more powerful version of the engine made for towing but my biggest issue is I have no where to store a trailer or someone that lives close enough who could store it.

In any case I'm not going to be needing a trailer anytime soon because I think I'm good on wood for the time being :)

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That's the entire tree!! A roughly 280 year old burr oak. The massive trunk section was left in place by the tree company because the property owner says he'd like to make some kind of artwork with it. This took 6 days to clean up all the yards the tree was dropped in and haul it to my house. Everyone is pleased with how things turned out and as a result of being someone who knows how to deal with trees, one of the neighbors who I helped clean up is getting 2 ash trees, a birch and a pine tree removed next month which are mine as soon as they are dropped. This is no doubt the best wood score I've ever come across but believe me I worked my butt off for it!! Cutting and hauling wood in 90 degree weather! Now to clean this pile up and make room for more trees :)
 
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Reactions: sloeffle
Jun 8, 2020
37
Craig County, VA
Being know as the neighborhood tree guy, I would think this is a good problem to have in a way! Loads of free firewood and sometimes already cut up.
 
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Reactions: WoodBurnerInWI
Feb 2, 2020
103
Madison, WI
So those neighbors of mine getting their tree's dropped and said I could have the logs, was supposed to be a July job...

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Yeah their tree guys decided to do it this morning. Even trucked it to my house and threw in several other trees from their other jobs today. Great!! Except....they delivered it at around 5 pm :( No way I was getting all that cleaned up. I'll be taking the day off work tomorrow.

At this rate my neighbors must think I'm a hoarder! I fully expect to be on that show sometime in the near future ==c
 
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Reactions: MissMac and Riff
Feb 2, 2020
103
Madison, WI
I'm upgrading my "being 3 years ahead" wood plan to the "infinite" wood plan :)

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