Processing firewood for beginners

mcstatz5829 Posted By mcstatz5829, Nov 18, 2018 at 3:40 PM

  1. mcstatz5829

    mcstatz5829
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    In my area there is a lot of free “firewood” on craigslist, usually a felled tree in someone’s yard they want gone without paying someone. I’m don’t think I can process the 4 cords I need for next year without making a big time and $ investment, but I figure with some basic gear and a little weekend warrioring I get 1-2 and save a little money.

    I don’t plan on felling trees basically ever, and I don’t plan on messing with rounds more than 18” in diameter until I have more experience. I figure I will need to get pretty good and limbing and bucking. I really don’t want to bleed to death in someone’s backyard. I feel pretty good about my splitting technique

    I’ve starting a course of study at the University of Google and Youtube.

    What I have so far:
    Maul
    Axe (probably won’t use it, I’m guessing)
    Chainsaw
    Wedges
    Sledgehammer
    Grand Cherokee (with tow package)
    Eye and Ear Protection
    Steel toed boots

    What I’d like to save up for in the next year or two:
    Splitter
    Trailer
    Log holder

    I figure the cargobed of the grand Cherokee can hold about a week’s worth of wood. So if do one load over 8 weekends this winter, I can get a decent amount ready for next year and build a cheap kiln

    What other gear should I consider? Chaps? Other clothing?

    What’s the best way to buck the right lengths for my stove? Tape measure and score?

    Any other advice you experienced pros can hand down?
     
  2. bholler

    bholler
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    Yes chaps and protective helmet
     
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  3. Renovationman

    Renovationman
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    X2 ^^^^ and you’ll get used to length you want to cut after a while so no need to measure.
     
  4. BIGChrisNH

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    Wear chaps every time you cut, it just makes sense. Nick your thigh one time with a running chainsaw and you’ll see what I mean. A splitter will drastically speed up processing time. I work full time and split on the weekends and with my wife’s help was able to cut, split and stack six cords from early September through early November this year. I can’t stress the chaps enough though.
     
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  5. jetsam

    jetsam
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    My trailer was cheaper than any of my chainsaws, but I did watch Craigslist for about 6 months for it.

    There is nothing a splitter can do that you can't do with a sledge and a bunch of wedges; in fact, the sledge'n'wedge is more versatile. I have a splitter but view it as a luxury item.

    If you are scrounging Craigslist for wood, you'll probably meet some tree service guys on job sites. Ask them to give you a call if they ever need to drop off a load of trees!
     
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  6. weatherguy

    weatherguy
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    I have a 20 inch stick I keep in my vehicle, I use a piece of chalk and mark off the logs. I used to freewheel but I end up with too many rounds to fit on my splitter.
     
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  7. jetsam

    jetsam
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    I think my best advice is "score all the softwood you can this year". Pine, fir, poplar, whatever.... get it split, stacked, and covered this winter and it'll all be ready to go next year. Grab the hardwoods too, but set them aside for years to come. It's a waste to burn them wet.
     
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  8. woodhog73

    woodhog73
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    Chaps and ear protection for sure.

    As for measuring your rounds, How long is the bar on your chainsaw ? For example an 18 inch bar probably has about 16 inches of usable length. Well a darn perfect measuring stick for 16 inch rounds. use your bar length to measure your rounds ( if it’s the right size obviously )

    It’s very rewarding to process your own firewood and use it to add heat to your home.
     
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  9. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    Get a file for the chain saw. Frequent touch ups using that will make life much easier and avoid unnecessary abuse of the equipment and you. I hand split and much prefer the Fiskars splitting ax so the maul, hammer and wedges only gets occasional use.

    Used a Cherokee Sport (now deceased) to haul a bunch of wood. Small scores add up.
     
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  10. Anduril

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    Lot's of great posts. +1 on the Fiskars splitting axe - single best wood processing investment I've ever made. Agree with all the safety gear posts - I would add steel-toed boots if you plan on working with heavy rounds or doing any felling; I've learned that lesson the hard way. If you don't mind spending a bit more you can get chainsaw-rated boots with a steel toe.
     
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  11. FaithfulWoodsman

    FaithfulWoodsman
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    All great posts. Fiskars axe is super nice. Maul for knots. I also use the bar to buck to length. Id get an extra chain. I hand file and then use a granberg bar mount electric sharpener to get to factory sharp. I hear a lot of good things about the stihl 3 in 1 though. 5 gal bucket with a tool insert cover makes a nice way to haul all the small gear. Pickaroon. First aid kit.
     
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  12. Jan Pijpelink

    Jan Pijpelink
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    What he said.
     
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  13. weatherguy

    weatherguy
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    Lol. I still have a toe not right from an accident, those rounds are heavy, toe dont look right, actually have done it twice to the same toe, how dumb am I.
     
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  14. jetsam

    jetsam
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    Having tested the fiskars and my old maul side by side a number of times, I really don't think the fiskars is any more capable than the old maul. What it is, though is lighter. You won't care on the first whack but you'll appreciate it on the hundredth whack.

    The fiskars is just as good a splitter as an old 6# maul, which is an impressive engineering feat given that it is a much lighter tool.

    The handle is also ideal for beginners because overstrikes don't seem to hurt it (and also don't immediately punish the user). (All you kids who learned to split wood with a Fiskars, stay away from my maul, because y'all will break the handle!)

    So I'd put it down as a luxury also, but it's a nice one. I grab the Fiskars almost every time I need a maul.
     
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  15. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    Well engineered but mostly it's the physics. It's all about head speed.

    To the OP the Fiskars ax isn't pricey and they are very good with customer service in case that's needed.
     
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  16. jetsam

    jetsam
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    Disagree. I can swing a double bitted felling axe faster than the fiskars or a maul, but the fiskars and maul both split way better! The splitting axe just gets stuck in the wood because it doesn't force the split far enough apart to pop the grain.
     
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  17. mcstatz5829

    mcstatz5829
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    Idk, stings the hell out of my hands, even when wearing gloves!
     
  18. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    You had compared to 6 lb maul so basically the difference between mass and speed. The sharpness, the slick coating, the flared cheeks all go into it but in the end (as I bet you know) velocity squares when calculating force. I think I could swing a double headed ax about the same speed but as you said and I agree Fiskar's head is nicely engineered for splitting.
     
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  19. lost in the woods

    lost in the woods
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    I know this originally isn't a Fiskars thread- HOWEVER! after using the traditional 8lb and 6lb mauls and also an assortment of homemade monstrosities; I will say the Fiskars is the nicest piece I have ever used for splitting wood. anyway back to the orginal topic- yes don't goof around with a sick to measure just use your saw bar! lots of good advice in this thread for the newbie
     
  20. ED 3000

    ED 3000
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    Depends on your setup. I've been at this for 30 years, and to me, it's worth every moment spent measuring and marking to avoid pieces just a little too long, particularly when loading on a hot bed of coals. Just a piece of wood cut to the right length or a tape measure or yardstick, and some dollar store sidewalk chalk.
     
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  21. mcstatz5829

    mcstatz5829
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    I think I’ll try that
     
  22. Montanalocal

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    I will sure second that ED, and I think at my age a bit of a rest is very welcome now and then when bucking. Plus, I do not appreciate having to heft my heavy bucking saw up sideways at each cut. I also do not use a marker or chalk to make the mark. I carry a small compact hand trimer saw, and make an actual cut in the bark. This works better if the wood is wet, and is still visible several days later if I have to come back and buck later and it has rained.
     
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  23. woodhog73

    woodhog73
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    Agree. I’ve only been burning in my stove for a few years. But been making firewood for many years to burn outside cooking down maple syrup and to help different family members with their bolier and a big indoor wood furnace.

    Then I get a stove that barely fits 16 inch splits. The first year was a pain constantly going through my stacks to find smaller pieces, putting in too long a split on hot coals then having to take it out or rearrange it, not being able to fit the splits in tightly to pack the stove full, etc.

    If you have a small stove measure your splits.
     
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  24. Modenacart

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    I would get some plastic wedges too if you don’t already have them. They help with bucking and won’t dull the chain on your saw if you accidentally hit them.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  25. ED 3000

    ED 3000
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    Agree all around. I've used the trimmer saw, and it definitely makes better marks under many conditions, and more permanent. It is a little more time consuming and effort, but definitely part of the complete marking toolkit. And I really don't like using the bar of the saw, as you said, it's just too heavy to be swinging it around like that.

    Regarding the extra time it takes, I have tried to strike a balance between expediancy and deliberation. Marking the wood strikes the right balance for me.
     
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