Renting a firewood processor

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
When it rains, it pours. Thanks to a recent tornado, I’ve brought home roughly 6 cords in the last week, and you can’t even tell I took anything from the church property I help to manage. There must be close to 200 cords down there, and to help them get rid of the stuff, I’m committing to take 20-30 cords of it this month.

Trouble is, I’m having to stack it in some pretty inconvenient places, as my home wood lot isn’t really set up to store 30 cords in the form of 15-foot logs. I need to get this stuff processed and stacked.

Any advice on renting a firewood processor? I’m in southeast PA, if anyone can recommend an outfit. If not, I just need to get a good sense of what will work for me, and what questions to ask, or arrangements to make, when I call around on the hunt. Even my super-fast hot-rodded hydraulic splitter is going to be too slow, to get this volume of wood done in any reasonable time.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,391
WI, Leroy
one heck of a problem to have. I do not know about renting a processor-never seen anything listed that way- perhaps a short term lease? There is a firm not far from me that advertises processing- but I have never inquired. As the smaller ones are some what mobile that might be your option- at what cost though?
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
Oh, they definitely rent them by the day, either with or without an operator. I need to check with a former co-worker, who rented one locally last year. I remember they were processing a similar amount of wood, with the goal to get it done in one weekend, and I think they did over 20 cords per day with one guy managing the infeed and a second managing the output. In their case, the finances of it made sense, and I suspect I could justify it as well, given the amount of wood I’m piling here.

The one they rented lacked an input conveyor, they had to use one of their large farm tractors to set the logs onto a carriage about 6 feet off the ground, so that may not be the machine for me. But at least it’s a point of reference, and one potential source.
 

Jan Pijpelink

Minister of Fire
Jan 2, 2015
1,737
South Jersey
Oh, they definitely rent them by the day, either with or without an operator. I need to check with a former co-worker, who rented one locally last year. I remember they were processing a similar amount of wood, with the goal to get it done in one weekend, and I think they did over 20 cords per day with one guy managing the infeed and a second managing the output. In their case, the finances of it made sense, and I suspect I could justify it as well, given the amount of wood I’m piling here.

The one they rented lacked an input conveyor, they had to use one of their large farm tractors to set the logs onto a carriage about 6 feet off the ground, so that may not be the machine for me. But at least it’s a point of reference, and one potential source.
https://philadelphia.craigslist.org/hvd/d/firewood-processor-sales-rentals/6928987623.html
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,655
NE Ohio
To really keep a processor busy (to its potential capacity) it almost takes 3-4 guys...one to operate the machine, one to load logs, and one or two to assist the other guys.If your coworker did 20 cords with 2 guys they must have had almost the ideal setup all the way around.
"Straight" logs help too...anything too crooked or large really slows things down.
BTW, the machine we had out was a Dyna...
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
20,268
central pa
When it rains, it pours. Thanks to a recent tornado, I’ve brought home roughly 6 cords in the last week, and you can’t even tell I took anything from the church property I help to manage. There must be close to 200 cords down there, and to help them get rid of the stuff, I’m committing to take 20-30 cords of it this month.

Trouble is, I’m having to stack it in some pretty inconvenient places, as my home wood lot isn’t really set up to store 30 cords in the form of 15-foot logs. I need to get this stuff processed and stacked.

Any advice on renting a firewood processor? I’m in southeast PA, if anyone can recommend an outfit. If not, I just need to get a good sense of what will work for me, and what questions to ask, or arrangements to make, when I call around on the hunt. Even my super-fast hot-rodded hydraulic splitter is going to be too slow, to get this volume of wood done in any reasonable time.
I am thinking about renting one next year when I get a new load of logs in.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
To really keep a processor busy (to its potential capacity) it almost takes 3-4 guys...one to operate the machine, one to load logs, and one or two to assist the other guys.If your coworker did 20 cords with 2 guys they must have had almost the ideal setup all the way around.
"Straight" logs help too...anything too crooked or large really slows things down.
BTW, the machine we had out was a Dyna...
Good info! They actually had 3 on-site, with a part-time 4th. But I believe one of the full-time three was mostly operating their traditional splitter, working the pile of stuff that wasn’t suitable for the processor. I might have misunderstood his description of their work, but that’s how I understood it.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
Be careful about hiring neighbor kids. This is unsafe work and you’ll be in a hurry. Could be financially horrible if someone gets hurt.
Good point. I wasn’t planning on hiring any, but it’s still good to add, for others reading this thread.
 

Eureka

Member
Feb 4, 2018
249
NW Wisconsin
Craigslist ad here; guy will come to your location for $35/cord if you load his processor with your equipment. $50/cord if he uses his skid steer to load it.
I’ve seen others advertise $75/hour if you load. 2 cords/ hour average.

A processor leasing/rental outfit advertises $400/day and $1600/week for a 24’ Brute Force with conveyor. Average 2-3 cord/hour, you do all the work.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
Great numbers. Thanks!
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,128
Fairbanks, Alaska
Late to the party. Are none of these logs worth milling into planks to air dry for seasoned dimension lumber later? Just asking. Now that I don't live back east, I now appreciate all the fine hard woods from back east, hard maple, hickory, ash, white oak, red oak, all very expensive to ship to Alaska for making cabinets and cutting boards. Walnut. Eastern White Pine. Apple. Cherry. Sycamore.

I get that space is a premium at Ashful's place. Is there room at the church yard to air dry some board feet of good stuff to help pay for a new sidewalk or something in a couple years? The guys with the trailer mounted band saw mills should be going bananas.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
Yes, about 140-160 cords of the wood is being milled on-site by a local tall ship restoration group, and what is not useable by them for their ship (essentially all of the white oak) or scaffolding, is going to be donated by them to another local organization that restores log cabins. The 40-60 cords that have been left for me and one other guy is the “junk” that isn’t worth milling.

Did I mention we had a “few” trees come down? [emoji3]
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
So did you ever rent the processor if so how did you make out with it
Not yet. If I end up doing this, it will be this fall or winter. I've been plugging away at some of it on my own splitter, in the mean time, but I'm not making a ton of progress.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,144
Woolwich nj
Not yet. If I end up doing this, it will be this fall or winter. I've been plugging away at some of it on my own splitter, in the mean time, but I'm not making a ton of progress.
Id be intrested on some info on renting and how you made out
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
A buddy rented one last year, so I already have his feedback on that. More later.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,724
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Not yet. If I end up doing this, it will be this fall or winter. I've been plugging away at some of it on my own splitter, in the mean time, but I'm not making a ton of progress.
But your hot rod splitter is super fast! You mean there’s more to speed than just the stroke time?
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
But your hot rod splitter is super fast! You mean there’s more to speed than just the stroke time?
Nope. I can still do more with my splitter than just about anyone else with their 22-ton hydrualic. But when trying to process 10 cords in a day, you need more than a single splitter.

I've been spending so much time on hauling, I haven't had more than an hour here or there to split. We finally have one property cleaned up to the point where the rest can sit another year, but I have a second property that I've barely started. We are talking multiple dozens of cords, here.
 

Bushels20

Feeling the Heat
May 20, 2018
382
OH
Nope. I can still do more with my splitter than just about anyone else with their 22-ton hydrualic. But when trying to process 10 cords in a day, you need more than a single splitter.

I've been spending so much time on hauling, I haven't had more than an hour here or there to split. We finally have one property cleaned up to the point where the rest can sit another year, but I have a second property that I've barely started. We are talking multiple dozens of cords, here.

Post some photos once you get this thing rented and the cords split. Would be cool to see.

I have a farmer up the street who turns a pile of logs that I would estimate to be 100 feet long by 50 feet high into firewood in a weekend. It’s impressive. He then sells it for $220 a cord (not delivered).
 

mar13

Member
Nov 5, 2018
229
Humboldt coast, California
I just finished watching some YouTube videos of commercial wood processors, not knowing what they were. They made my scrounging seem like a joke.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
Post some photos once you get this thing rented and the cords split. Would be cool to see.

I have a farmer up the street who turns a pile of logs that I would estimate to be 100 feet long by 50 feet high into firewood in a weekend. It’s impressive. He then sells it for $220 a cord (not delivered).
Unfortunately, the stars did not align for me this year. I had four major unplanned projects pop up in rapid succession over the last two month, and now here we are at Thanksgiving, the week I had planned to rent this thing. I’ve been working on crap, often outdoors in the dark, until pretty near midnight (sometimes beyond) almost every night since September. Then back up at 6a to head to work on weekdays, or for a sunrise to sundown work day outdoors on weekends. It just hasn’t left me the time required to get prep’d for the processor.

I hit my limit last weekend, and decided to take today and tomorrow off from work, burning two vacation days. Today I’ll be finally moving one of my half dozen planned new 4-cord wood racks into place, and hopefully starting to fill it. The rain cut my work short on Saturday night, and Sunday was a wash-out here. This was last Saturday afternoon:



I’ve got plenty of wood waiting to go into it.



Some of you may remember the small prototype rack I built back in summer, that’s now installed and loaded on high ground near my barn, so I won’t be caught completely without wood if we have another wet spell this winter.



That tractor has been the source of a few of those major unplanned projects, a new and larger one is on order. It is setup to take a grapple, and can lift over a ton, so that will help with the processor if I ever get there.
 

Chas0218

Minister of Fire
Sep 20, 2015
526
Beaver Dams New York
Oh, they definitely rent them by the day, either with or without an operator. I need to check with a former co-worker, who rented one locally last year. I remember they were processing a similar amount of wood, with the goal to get it done in one weekend, and I think they did over 20 cords per day with one guy managing the infeed and a second managing the output. In their case, the finances of it made sense, and I suspect I could justify it as well, given the amount of wood I’m piling here.

The one they rented lacked an input conveyor, they had to use one of their large farm tractors to set the logs onto a carriage about 6 feet off the ground, so that may not be the machine for me. But at least it’s a point of reference, and one potential source.
Maybe swing it so the church would rent it and sell the wood after you've acquired what you want? I wish I could come across that kind of wood, but then again if I did I know it would end up being all my trees that came down.
 

Jags

Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
18,082
Northern IL
Bigger tractor....I like the sounds of that,:cool:
The loader on my backhoe has a 6200# lift. Working with firewood it never struggles.
 
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