Efficient Firewood Cutting

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by JV, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. JV

    JV Well-Known Member

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    I have bought a new stihl chainsaw and have entered the wonderful world of firewood cutting. I am pretty new at this so I would like to know when does it become a waste of time to cut up branches. I mean how small in diameter is it still worth it to cut up for use in a woodburning stove. I'm thinking about the size of my wrist. Any opinions? What do you do?
     
  2. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    That's about the size where we stop cutting. You will need a lot of small stuff like that for starting fires & the more branches that size you have, the less splitting you will have to do. In really cold weather, I don't let my fire go out, & with a good bed of coals, small stuff isn't necessary. In other words, you will need a lot of small pieces if you let your fire go completely out overnight & build a new one every morning.
     

  3. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    I burn everything.
    if its to small to saw, I use big lopper pruners.
    when its dry i break it all up by driving the truck over it.
    then i rake/fork it all up and tarp it.

    if its dry and doesnt stink, I will burn it. pallets, construction scrap, old furniture... trees, deadfalls, on my trips around town if I spy a really nice dead elm, i'll saw hunks off and drag those home.
     
  4. dscott7972

    dscott7972 Well-Known Member

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    We have a woodfurnace and I would probably quit with wristsized pieces but since we have a fireplace I cut up branches just larger than my thumb since they make a nice fire. We have several wood companies around here and I get much of my wood from them for frew or $20 a load I don't have to mess with cutting down my own trees, just cutting up the long pieces from the sawmill.
     
  5. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    Nothing past about wrist size. You do need some smaller stuff to help start your fires, so I segregate my wood as I stack it.

    The problem with burning a lot of pallets, is that depending upon the wood used, you can get a lot of creosote. I tend to use pallets, or construction cut-offs, as mostly kindling.
     
  6. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    I don't really heat or cook with wood, but I do have a fireplace & I like a nice fire. I keep everything down to finger size for kindeling,as long as it is dry. I also like to have some of the small stuff to add when I want the fire to flare up & be bright.If I was using a woodstove for cooking or heat, I would have quite a bit of the finger-sized stuff for starting fires. I use my loppers for that stuff.
     
  7. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    I agree with this poster, although it is downright painful to see the "volume" of wood wasted in a tree top. This summer the husband talked me into getting a used chipper powered off the PTO. Wasn't enthusiastic. Another noisy guy machine :rolleyes: But in fact, it chips up a top into something very useful... yards of mulch. Which we've been able to swap, in truckload lots, for things we need. Mind you, it is going to take a few years to pay off that chipper, but at least I don't have that feeling of wasting the top any more.

    So I've got to ask... now that you have a chainsaw, does the forest look different to you? My husband still drives down the road and remarks "that'd be a good tree for our pile..." :haha:
     
  8. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

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    It seems to depend on the availability of wood in your area. Before I came upon my current stash, I cut everything, because I did not have much available to me. Now I have more wood than I can use, so I do not cut very small pieces. It's all relative.
     
  9. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    A few things to consider.Are they your trees?I would tend to leave less waste behind if they where mine.Down to wrist size atleast.
    If you have a big saw like mine your going to get tired and fatigued quick trimming and cutting up little stuff.Which could be dangerous in the first place sence this is where most kick backs and pitched chains happen.
    Also pay attention to how much wood you get after hauling it home and stacking.The big stuff you carrying home then split will add up much faster after its split than the little round stuff.It will also burn much longer.
    With that said i had rather have nothing but the logs and a few big round sticks for over night sticks.which is often the case sence i usually get to cut off of land that is being completely cleared anyway.

    By the way as for kinling.I save back the straightest easiest busting wood usually red oak.Cut it shorter and split it into kinling.It starts much easier than a round sticks.You can also leave it say 24inches long then when your ready to bust it into kinling, cut it inhalf to 12inch pieces.As fresh cuts will bust much easier.Also keep that in mind when cutting big stuff.If you can, leave it in log form until your ready to bust it.If i can ill cut the trees down and cut it down to about 8ft logs,to let the sap drain.Then when i have time to bust it ill finish cutting it up.

    Wood that bust and burns best:
    Ash,cherry,red oak,white oak,hickory.The only time i take any other is if it slim pickings or it just needs to be removed.
     
  10. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    oak, rock maple, soft maple, beech, cherry, ash, birch, and apple are in our wood stash!
     
  11. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    If it's wood and will burn I burn it.

    From pine and spuce to red oakl and maple. It is a complete myth that burning the wrong species of wood will give you creasote problems. Burn your stove hot and you will not have problems regardless of what you burn.

    Pete
     
  12. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    :haha:
     
  13. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    I think its mainly the burning of green wood that causes creosote.I usually burn green at night to hold fire.Usually followed by a hot dry fire in the morning.To burn/dry it back out.
     
  14. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    And I think it has a lot to do with the type of stove you're burning in. I've used Vermont Casting's Defiant, a Barell Stove (home made), a Jotul with a catalytic, a Hearthstone "Phoenix" (soapstone, no catalytic) and a Hearthstone cast iron number who's name escapes me, a Garrison steel stove.. oh, and a small Ashley.

    The Jotul near burned the house down twice, and clogged with creasote so often it was essential to clean the pipe once a month.. and tonnage in 'sote would come out when we did. Just AWFUL. I blame that catalytic, which only fired under certain perfect conditions. Conditions were almost never perfect. The stove went away this fall.. just too darn dangerous.

    The Defiant was the next worse... because you just could not get the thing hot "enough" without risking a chimney fire in the first place... but it was a combination of old and new tech and never a particularly efficient thing.

    The Barell was the most flexible... it would burn anything and it never had a chimney problem. Followed by the Garrison which my husband uses in the shop and pretty much gets whatever is lying about handy and combustable.

    The Hearthstone Phoenix isn't bad... it runs continuously all winter, day, night, for 5 months, and we do the chimney in fall and in mid-winter. Take out a couple of quarts of fine black. But the Phonenix prefers small hot fires and if you load it for night and come back in an hour the stove is literally rocking it is firing so hot. As the fuel goes the stones hold the heat, but the thing scares me a bit. I've never had a stove that turns fuel into a sheet of white hot flame. But, 2 years into owning this stove, no chimney fires, so I think it is built to run this way.

    T
     
  15. ibcnya

    ibcnya Well-Known Member

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    That's all I burn is wood and wrist size is the limit. But to start fires I use a push button propane torch like the ones a plumber would use and I just stick it in the front for a bit and away it goes. Stick collecting is too much bending over.
     
  16. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Geeze, all of this stuff about needing kindling to start a fire. I just buy a box of those wax/sawdust bricks. There are 24 in a box. I chop each brick into 3 pieces. It only takes one piece to get a full load of split logs to burning....WITH NO KINDLING! Cost me less than 10 cents a fire to start it my way.
     
  17. whodunit

    whodunit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A saw buck is a very handy thing to have to hold a bunch limbs so you can cut them all at once.

    I use limbs to about thumb size for my wood cook stove.

    You can make your own fire starter by using those cardboard egg cartons and filling them with grease sawdust mixture.


    Mrs Whodunit