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Thread: Keeping the house warm. In firewood mode full swing.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Keeping the house warm. In firewood mode full swing.

    So I love burning wood for heat. I also enjoy splitting firewood and cutting down useful trees. I bought my first house in April and I'm just now getting the time to start cutting firewood. Most of the wood I cut is mixed species, and a lot of it isn't very efficient to say the least. I split all my wood with an axe. I'm young right now and I can use the workout of swinging an axe, and I also enjoy the work. To me there's something to be said about cutting and splitting your own wood to help heat your home. It isn't my primary source of heat but when I'm home I try to have the stove running as much as possible. I do have a glacier bay coal/Woodstove. The stove came with the house and I'm not too familiar with it aside from the manual I found online. Overall it performs well enough for me to like it. However right now I have less then a cord of wood cut and split. And it isn't all that dry. I plan on doing more cutting and splitting this weekend and I'm hoping I can get about 2 cords cut and split between Saturday and Sunday. I know I'm being optimistic, but I really want half decent wood to burn this year. So how about you guys and gals. Who else burns wood and enjoys a good fire or even cutting the wood to supply that fire? How do you go about doing it and what tips might you have for someone such as myself that's younger and not very knowledgable?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    DerekP Houston's Avatar
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    i enjoy cutting and harvesting my live oaks in the front....but it is for bbq wood not heat!
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master


    MUSTANG's Avatar
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    Since I retired from the USMC, I have cut firewood every year. Most of our heat is generated from wood, but we use a Heat Pump or Propane for late night heating after the Wood Stove burns down they kick in. I look at splitting firewood as a "Exercise Regimen", similar to former President Ronald Reagan.
    Mustang

    "In the beginning... the patriot is a scarce man, and brave and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." - Mark Twain.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


    mold maker's Avatar
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    When I was about 8, Dad installed a wood/coal hot air furnace in the basement. It's still there and up until 1964, it was the only heat source. It still provides supplementary heat. When the ice storms come it is again able to keep the house comfortable. Many a meal simmered on top of the fire box.
    I envy you fellows with strong straight backs, and the willingness to fell and split wood. In 2011, I had two monster oaks that were mature and dropping limbs. One had 117 rings at the cut line. The other two had in the mid-nineties.
    I had them dropped and cut in movable pieces. There was over a cord of wood in the limbs. The remainder after 5+ years of burning, is still stacked waiting it's turn in "old smokie" as Dad referred to it.
    I doubt that I'll ever split wood again, my 74-year-old back and hips complain too much. I do love heat you can back up to.
    Information not shared. is wasted.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I have not even lit the pilot light on my furnace for 16 years. I burn about 4-5 cords of hardwood per year. It does not matter how cold it gets outside, just how long the cold weather lasts. If it is above freezing outside and we have a fire in the woodstove we have to open the front and back doors and get a breeze going through the house.

    Last year a couple neighbors had 5 big trees dropped, and through a deal with the tree cutter all of the logs thicker than a big guys thigh were dumped in my driveway. It took me 5 weeks of cutting and splitting after work and weekends, but we got almost 3 years of wood heat for about $50 in gas and my time. The best part about it was that I did not have to drive anywhere to go and get it.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    We have a wood burner in our new house. Love using it. But I quickly learned you cant get a decent fire going and burning easily unless the oak is seasoned at least 18 months AFTER splitting it. No worries about getting wood as our house is in the middle of 42 acres of beautiful white oak.
    Tennessee

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    In reality wood cut this year should be burnt next year this gives it time to season and dry. This years wood should have been cut last winter. Oak, Maple, and some fruit woods burn hot and long. Cottonwood when dry and seasoned produces heat but burns fast, willows and box elders are daytime woods. Split in diffrent sizes smaller for during the day and evening, burns hotter but faster. Bigger chunks for night to help hold the fire longer. For this winter buy some seasoned wood to burn and cut split for next years winter.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    CastingFool's Avatar
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    We had a wood furnace add on in our last house. We needed 4-5 full cords per season, and I would cut wood for 3 days straight, haul it home, and take my time splitting it with a handmade splitting maul. It took some getting used to it, it weighed 12 lbs, but there wasn't much it wouldn't split.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Thats ine one thing I would like to invest in soon is a good splitting maul. I have a cheap one from tsc. But it's my third one with a fiberglass handle. So far this one hasn't broke, I'm grateful the handles are warrantied for so long. A friend has an older axe. I can't remember the maker of. It looks beatiful. I've been trying to persuade him to sell it to me for some time. But he's under the impression it's made of gold.

    Quote Originally Posted by CastingFool View Post
    We had a wood furnace add on in our last house. We needed 4-5 full cords per season, and I would cut wood for 3 days straight, haul it home, and take my time splitting it with a handmade splitting maul. It took some getting used to it, it weighed 12 lbs, but there wasn't much it wouldn't split.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Agree with Country Gent, buy enough dry seasoned split wood for this year. Keep cutting at a moderate rate for next winter.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master lefty o's Avatar
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    yup, what you cut this year is going to be too wet to burn well. also, it'll split better once it freezes.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master southpaw's Avatar
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    Since you have a late start, look for standing dead trees. They will already be seasoned. Don't turn down any wood, even if you think you already have enough. Try to get a couple years supply put up. I like to do my cutting in the fall/winter. Keeps me out in the woods after hunting seasons are over.

    Get a good saw. Go professional, they will last longer. The biggest that you can handle. Atleast 70 cc. It will make the cutting much easier. I use a stihl 064 (~85 cc). It is a bit heavy but when cutting larger stuff it just runs right through it. Put a 2' bar on it and I don't have to bend over to cut. I have a 3' bar I use to cut slab wood into 3-4' pieces for the outdoor burner. A 50-60 cc saw would be fine but you are gonna spend more time cutting the wood up.

    Put a box together with your saw tools and several spare chains. Wear your chaps (get a pair if you don't have any). I have seen a couple of guys that were pretty glad that they had them on. I also know some that wish they had been wearing them.

    Between my brother and I we put up about 10-12 cords a year. I also get about 10-15 cords of slab wood for the outdoor burner. I don't use much hardwood in it tho. Only the second year with it so still getting a feel for it.

    Be careful out there.

    Jerry Jr.
    You can't buy experience, but you'll pay for it.

    .... but what do I know, I'm just a dumb farmer. ~ My Dad.

    NRA LIFE MEMBER Upgraded to Endowment Member 5-23-14

  13. #13
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    Definitely agree with buying a pro saw. Husky XP line or Stihl 0 numbers. Good safety gear is a must. Having seen several chainsaw accidents in my career, you don't want to be one of them. Arboristsite is a good forum for chainsaws and everything related. Check it out.

    Fell standing dead wood for this years wood and get it put away first and then work on next years wood. Make sure it's stacked and covered so it doesn't rot. You can build a standing wood shed for next to nothing.

    Never stack wood wood agsinst your house or foundation.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master TCFAN's Avatar
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    We burn wood as our only source of heat.The stove we have is a Fireview soap stone made by Woodstock.I do not cut wood now days. I can buy 45.00 dollars worth of wood that will last about four to six weeks depending on the temperature.Most of it has to be split and I use a 27ton hydraulic log splitter.I try to keep at least two years ahead so I have dry wood to burn.In a normal year we light up the stove in mid October and keep it going till sometime in April.

  15. #15
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    When I burned wood we did like everyone here is saying. Cut a year ahead, split and stack. We did a lot of standing dead red elm and that we could burn the same year we cut it usually. Now I burn corn and pellets, much easier on the spine!

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    My first reaction to op was not seasoned enough. Plenty of good advise and I will just add to do it right. You don't need to be Superman or you will end up like a lot of us who can barely move half the time with messed up backs. You also know when your splitting time is almost up when you use an electrick log splitter. Laugh, but the one I got worked great for what I needed it for.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Nothing beats belting up the tractor to a buzz saw. Makes short work for cutting firewood. I use a chainsaw to cut wood into manageable lengths, then the buzz saw takes over. The tractor is a 1951 John Deere model B. Chain saw is an old Homelite model C51 made around 1965. Like others have said, cut a year ahead. Split in winter. Keep a good bed of coals in the woodstove, and it'll last overnight easily. Keep your chimney clean. And most important, work SAFELY!!!!!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    I put in a outside wood burner around 10 years ago , it heats the water that runs through a heat exchanger before going to my oil furnace then my oil furnace circulation pump runs the water through my radiant heat in the house . I have burned wood most of my life and don't care for a busting mall one bit . So I picked a burner that can take wood without being split , if I can pick it up it will go through the door , and the blower will burn it . In my rural area I can find a lot of down timber that is seasoned , you may want to consider trying to reach out to people who have recently had properly logged their is a lot of seasoned wood left . Be safe watch the chimney ,

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Keep the chimney and stove pipes clean. I had a chimney fire years ago (1988) one week after I had the chimney professionally cleaned - now I clean it myself. That stove had a catalytic converter - big mistake with an outside chimney. A few years back the chimney lining cracked so I installed a stainless steel liner, which has been great. Apparently most chimney fires occur in the fall when stoves are allowed to burn down during the day, then relit at night. Bring the fires up slowly in a cold stove.
    Every spring I swear that I'm going to switch to a pellet stove, but every year I keep buying green firewood that will sit until the next season. Lots of work, but good exercise.
    An old timer once told me, "Never split wood in pieces too big for your wife to carry."

    Side note: I live in MA and I found out the hard way one year that a "face cord" of 110 cubic feet is a legal cord in this state. Now I only buy from NH where a cord is a cord - 128 cubic feet.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Lots of good advice. I do have what I consider a good saw. It's a husqvarna 365 special. It's kind of a little brother to the 372xp which has a good reputation. As for seasoned wood, I had several felled oaks from the previous owner that I just got around to bucking and splitting. Luckily it was fairly dry, unluckily it was somewhat dry. I feel like seasoned oak is harder to split the. Fresh stuff.
    Someone had mentioned something about freezing logs and they're easier to split. I find that interesting because I had done 3-4 cords a few years back and noticed how much easier it was to split the wood when it was 0*. But I never thought about the wood being frozen. I just thought it was me wanting to warm up.
    Sagety equipment I definetely lack. I really need chaps and gloves and a new pair of boots. Among many other things.

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