Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Firewood

Our first year using wood to provide some of our heat has shown me how woefully under prepared we were!
Quite a bit of wood lying around that needs splitting and storing
 Luckily we had my tree surgeon brother to bail us out and provide (give) us more seasoned wood when we needed it. The trouble is I had plenty of wood cut from trees that we'd felled, I just didn't do anything with it. Chucked outside in a heap it isn't going to heat anyone.
This year I'm going to make more of an effort with using wood fuel. Every night I'm splitting some wood and storing it in an old shed I absolutely hate, but I also need to finish cleaning out this shed from the last people who lived here (anyone want a workout gym from the 70's or a collection of plastic snooker trophies?). The shed is falling down slowly but it should last long enough to season some firewood for a winter or two.
I think by the time I've split and stacked all the wood and the wood I get from work as kindling, we should have enough for a few winters.
This sheds very existence offends me, but while I've got it I might as well use it
 As well as this I'm going to look into putting in a wood burner in the summer as our open fire is just too wasteful of wood. So tips and advice on wood burners will be gratefully taken! Also doing this will let us lay out the sitting room differently, which in turn might help some of our space issues.
Who can tell me what the top tool is called?
How do other people tackle the cutting, splitting and storing of their firewood? And what time of year do you normally do all of these things?

28 comments:

  1. We cut & split during the summer when the ground has dried out and we can get the jeep, trailer, truck, splitter, etc. up the hill to whereever the wood happens to be. Off and on, until we have enough. There are always plenty of seasoned oak & maple thaT have blown and fallen down.

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    1. Mines all got to be moved by hand really (unless I make a trailer for my garden tractor/rotovator) but I might use the van if it ever drys up enough.

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    1. Nope! see Muddyvalleys comment for the answer

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  3. It is most definitely a Pickeroon.

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  4. Unfortunately we have to buy ours (always try to get the best at a cheap rate) and it comes ready split although sometimes too long. We store ours in home made log stores. The shed (if you can get around to making some log stores with it?) would also provide you with lots of kindling with the bits left over. This winter, we got through 2 tonnes of wood (£140) but only lit the burner late afternoon. Made do with warmed barley bags for the rest of the day! I read somewhere that an open fire sends up to 80% of its heat up the chimney whereas a wood burner only 15%.

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    1. Yeah the efficeny is rubbish with an open fire. it has to be burning for quite a while to feel any benifit. Kindlin is never really a problem as I'm a carpenter and I've always got off cuts to burn (and the odd mistake!)

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  5. My husband does it at any point in the year, whenever we come cross some wood (we have never bought any) We actually bought a big log splitter to make the job easier. You need to make sure you split before it goes dry or else it's near impossible!

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    1. Yeah splitting when it's green seems to be the key to winning when trying to split it. I think I'm going have to do a little bit over the course of the year.

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  6. Whenever we have time.Our woodstove is high efficiency so we can only burn seasoned hardwood. The outer part of the stove is soapstone...it retains and gives off heat long after the fire has burned down...great for cold Canadian winter overnights.
    We don't have central heating but the fire heats really well.
    Jane x

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    1. Why does the high effeciency mean you can only burn hardwood?
      I'd like to have it so oneday we could heat the whole house off wood but it's not really set up for that (although we have an open fire in nearly every room I'd hate to think how much wood we'd have to burn to make it warm!)

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  7. Ah, the problem of having wood but not getting it cut in time for winter! Know that one well. But my husband escaped this task last winter because building work was being done in the room which has the one and only wood burner, so we either went without heating or used electric fires. Next winter, we shall hopefully have a wood burning stove in the kitchen on which I can cook, and which also should heat the hot water, then Lester is going to have to get to grips with chopping wood again, which is a good thing because we have a huge untidy heap of old house beams which need to go, plus a pile of old fallen down trees which are cluttering up the place.

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    1. Time is always against me! It we ever get planning to extend the house and have a bigger kitchen I plan to add a wood burning stove so we can cook and heat the kitchen from it.

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  8. We speak the same language, only we use different vocabulary. I presume when you say "wood burner" you mean what we call over here a "wood stove". Here is how I made one for the garage out of an old propane bottle:
    http://isserfiq.blogspot.com/2012/10/cobbling-together-new-wood-stove.html
    It works quite well, perhaps the changes I'd make is 4 legs instead of three and some sort of inner lip on the door to limit the draft even more:
    http://isserfiq.blogspot.com/2012/10/first-firing-fo-new-stove.html

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    1. I love that little stove! I'll have to build something like that if I ever get round to building another workshop!
      I love the differnece in the vocabulary with things like this and the trade stuff - makes it interesting!

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  9. I finished cutting for next winter a few days ago, I stack my wood in a long wall of wood away from any buildings so that insects won't be a problem. I have close to a hundred yards of wood stacked as wood is our only heat and during a real cold winter it all gets used. We have a wood furnace in the cellar which has a built in 8 inch duct work blower built in. I ran new ducting throughout the farm house and now it is warmer than when we had propane.

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    1. It was reading your post the other day that spurred me into action! Do you measure your wood in cords then?

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  10. cutting wood is a tuesday afternoon job here over winter at least as this is the day hubby collects it from a local woodland where we have permission to collect fallen wood. he collects a 5foot by 3 foot trailer full of trunks about 6inches across then we cut it into log sized pieces as we unload the trailer this goes into ton bags in the neighbours big open fronted barn it will be dry enough to use next year.

    We currently have about 14 bags drying and there's a bit more wood to chop as some days we have had other comittments and just emptied the trailer and stacked the trunks hopefully next year we will have some spare to sell :)

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    1. Being alloowed to collect it is a bonus and having 14 bags drying is being very prepared - make sure no one pinches it round here some fire wood was going missing in that cold spell we had (luckily not from me!).
      If I managed to get enough split for this winter I'll be happy!

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  11. Ah yes... wood. We heated exclusively with wood for about 9 years when we lived on the West Coast. The very best way to manage wood is to get ahead so that you can stay ahead. Seasoned wood burns much better and throws so much more heat, so it's in your best interest to try and get a year ahead. Summer is so busy with garden chores, the best time to get wood is in the cooler months when our general activity level is down. It's hard, hot work, and summertime is NOT the best time to do it in our experience. If you can get a year's worth stacked up then you can always be working on "next year's" wood, allowing for proper seasoning. Either dedicate some time one day/week to work on it or do a little splitting/stacking each day.

    As to your shed - plant a couple of climbing vines next to it - you'll have it covered in food and flowers in no time! :)

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    1. Getting ahead is good advice I think! The wood I've got to split is all good stuff like oak and ash so it should burn nice and hot and long. The trouble with the winter is it gets dark too quick and I've nowhere I can split it inside but I admit its much nicer to do it when you want to be warm!
      Working out how much a years worth is the bit I'm stuggling with!

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  12. Muddy Valley is right about the name. The only thing I ever saw it used for was when the tie graders used them to roll cross-ties to grade them. We occasionally used them to reach firewood on the thruckbed that was out of reach, to save climbing up into the bed.

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    1. Yep. I love the tool. It saves me bending to pick up branches and I was using it the other night to pick up rounds to put on the chopping block to be split! Good to hear form you Gorges!

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