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Admitting I "Might" be aging...

 
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Hi All;
Momentous day for me.  I have always gone up and cut my own fire wood, 1 cord at a time.  
As a milestone of aging ... I have had a long load of firewood delivered to my field this morning!!!
I just don't want to expend the extra time and possibility of accidents going out alone like I always have before.
Now I can cut as long or as much as I care too, rite here at home!  No falling trees involved!
Estimated to have 12 + cord , mainly red fir and larch. Cost was $1000, delivered to my field.
I'll still take the chain saw out for rides into the hills, I just won't need to fill the truck. Sort of like taking your hunting rifle for a walk each season.
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on the ground
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Lots of cutting
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All my work in a pile
 
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Don't feel too bad. I'm 24 and have my firewood delivered. I could cut it myself, but why? My time is better spent working for wages at this point and doing other things
 
steward
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I'm not sure if it works with smaller diameter long logs like that, but around here, the older/wiser guys have the delivery guy put a couple logs down as runners and a few more as end stops.  Then put the pile in place.  That way they aren't cutting into the ground.  Now that's with 8' long logs, not the kind you have.  But it might be a helpful idea to noodle on.
 
master pollinator
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It's a shame that nice poles like that are considered firewood. About the same thing can be delivered where I live. I know a guy who had a few loads delivered. He cut up two-thirds of it and sold it as firewood and he kept the best ones for building his barn.
 
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thomas rubino wrote:

As a milestone of aging ...

I salute you for making a rational decision. There are lots of safer ways to stay in shape and contribute to the environment than cutting firewood in a forest with a chainsaw alone. As we get older, many parts of our bodies change regardless of how carefully we live, and accepting when it's time to give certain tasks over to younger people is a very personal but important decision to make.
 
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I'm hoping that planting black locust and osage orange/hedge seedlings on the property will let me stop start a coppice rotation which as I age will still be an easy/safe option compared to felling larger trees. Also not much splitting wood if the trunks are only 3-4" thick. But that's all theory for now, we'll see 10 years from now once it's in full swing.
 
Dale Hodgins
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At 54, I've decided it's time to plant thousands of trees that won't be ready for harvest until I'm 60. Giant Lucina grown in a tropical location. They need to be thinned out when they are about 4 inches on the stump, and are seldom grown to more than 8 in diameter. A medium hardwood similar to birch. I expect one-third to half of it to be saw logs or poles and the remainder firewood or charcoal. Lots of wood, at 20000 sticks per acre, but nothing too big.
 
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Im with you dale. I plant pecans yearly. No telling if i will be around when they start nutting.
 
Jay Angler
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I think coppicing truly is a great way to solve the firewood problem in an environmentally sound way. I'm far less worried about my 65 year old spouse felling a 6-8" tree than a 3 ft in diameter tree. And yes, the correct time to plant a tree is 10 years ago, but today will have to do!
 
Mike Jay Haasl
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How long does coppiced hardwood firewood need to dry?  In my experience (colder humidish climate) split wood dries tolerably in a year and it dries well in 2-3 years.  Oak kind of needs three years.  But branch wood that isn't split seems to take longer.  Not sure if double but clearly longer.  I'd imagine coppice wood is the same as branch wood?  So if you aren't splitting it you might need to let it dry for 3+ years?
 
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That's really cool Thomas. Looks like half the work is already done! Btw, I couldn't keep my eyes off of the background in those pictures. You have one beautiful place to call home.
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I know a guy who had a few loads delivered. He cut up two-thirds of it and sold it as firewood and he kept the best ones for building his barn.



You can do that with pulpwood too.

Ceratin species are not worth a lot, like Eastern Hemlock here in Maine. They do buy Easten Hemlock logs, but they only buy the very best ones. This leaves a lot of "tops" left in the woods, by tops I mean anything smaller than 10 inches or so. They used to take eastern hemlock as pulp, but it costs too much to literally bleach the red color out, so smaller hemlock, and the tops for the logs is hard to get rid of. Even if you can sell it, the pay is incredibly low.

I do not want to pay for log quality wood, so I will buy Hemlock Pulp by the truck load. On my bandsaw mill, I can get lumber out of some pretty small logs, and a truckload of wood, makes quite a bit of lumber. Yes, I end up with some rotted trees, crook, and other junk wood, but I am not paying for logs, so I cannot expect to get logs, and that I can burn as firewood. But when 2x4's are $3.50 a stud at the lumber yard, i can convert "junk wood" into lumber, and be ahead of teh game.
 
Dale Hodgins
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If wood is split and put inside a greenhouse, it can be ready in a matter of months. Even in the dead of winter, when it's raining around here, greenhouses often experience low humidity during sunny periods. It's important to close it up solid if it gets foggy. I often see wood stored in areas that don't see sunlight and air flow. You need to be able to stop that airflow once the outdoor humidity is higher than that of the wood.

Many houses have a sunroom or a three season room, that doesn't really make sense to heat in the winter. This can be a great spot to finish the drying process and keep the wood dry. I have a friend who will not listen to reason concerning his firewood. Every year, he has nice dry wood by the end of October. But he doesn't take steps to keep rain splash off of it, or to stop moist ocean breezes from blowing through it.
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I often see wood stored in areas that don't see sunlight and air flow. You need to be able to stop that airflow once the outdoor humidity is higher than that of the wood.



I can attest to this. Our property came with the woodshed right next to the protected wetlands. It's shaded and damp. I've had various people tell me that I shouldn't tarp the sides...but if we don't, the rain and the damp come right in and the wood gets soggy. So, I have one side open, and the other walls of the woodshed are tarped. During dry/freezing winter days, I open it all up to dry out more. I see lots of people with just the top of their woodpiles tarped here in the pacific northwest. I'm thinking that doesn't work, as our winters are so wet. I'm thinking ventilation is important, but the sides of the woodpile have to be covered in some way, or your wood will just get wet and you'll be burning wet wood!
 
Jay Angler
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Mike Jay wrote:

How long does coppiced hardwood firewood need to dry?

Long enough that if it were me, I'd try to grow the wood just large enough that splitting it once down the center is worth it. I think that also makes it easier to stack safely. We have a little electric log splitter that's perfect for that sort of thing.
 
Dale Hodgins
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We have a dry summer. Coppice wood that is only 6 inches in diameter can easily be split with one wipe, right there in the bush. When left split side up, it will lose 30 to 40% of its weight by the end of August when it should be gathered up. No point carrying all of that water weight to the woodshed.
 
Mark Brunnr
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Yeah I spent a week at Cob Cottage Company for a "work party", essentially helping around the place and we bucked and split a lot of wood. They are coastal Oregon and get 70" of rain during the season in their temperate rain forest, so it takes 2-3 years to try under the thick canopy of trees. We would go up the mountain and split fallen trees, and stack them up on the hill and clear the ferns too close to block airflow so they could dry out some. They sit there a few months, then wheelbarrows are taken up and filled and brought back to the wood shed. Heck of a workout!

Good point about coppice wood possibly taking longer if not split, I was thinking of the convenience of dropping whole pieces into the J tube and only needing 1 piece of black locust after the kindling is going. I'm hoping to build my Oehler/Wofati hybrid with a greenhouse attached to the front, sort of like an earthship setup but isolated by door and windows, just an add-on greenhouse. Firewood would be moved in there so there's no need to go out in the weather to get another load, but still having a woodshed to store most of it and move in some to refresh the indoor stack.

So hopefully some additional drying will take place in the greenhouse, and of course it depends a lot on the local humidity levels and rainfall as to how quickly wood will dry. My site gets maybe 20" of rain a year and June-August is almost no rain at all. So I can see moving wood into the greenhouse around early September, and if that wood was cut the previous November or December then maybe 10-11 months including 4-5 months of low humidity and no rain will be enough for a 15" piece to dry enough. If not, then 1 extra year of buying firewood and then the coppice cycle will catch up, and every year you'll cut a batch to use in 2 years, and can replace the cords you're burning that season so you're only storing 2 seasons of wood at a time.
 
thomas rubino
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Cut my first load of wood today.  
Sure looks small compared to my loads from the past.
Sure kicked my butt compared to those past loads as well.
Admittedly the first loads down off the mountain always did me in as well... sort of got to work up to these things.
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todays load
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past load
past load
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Mark Brunnr wrote:I'm hoping that planting black locust and osage orange/hedge seedlings on the property will let me stop start a coppice rotation which as I age will still be an easy/safe option compared to felling larger trees.



I plan to do something similar, but with honey locust, eucalyptus and acacia. The smell of black locust wood burning makes me think a log of plastic has been thrown in the fire 🔥 🤢!
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Lizzie;
I have heard people complain about the thorns when they are small.One guy said B.L. is so hard that it eats chainsaw chain like candy.  Another thought it hard to split.
You are the first one to say it smells bad!!!
I hope it's a just personal thing for you, as I have 3rd year black locust growing now. And I really don't relish the thought of throwing a "plastic" log in my RMH.
 
Mark Brunnr
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Ideally if the RMH is drafting properly there would be nothing to smell when burning. I’ve heard some can have a skin reaction to BL sap so perhaps that’s also the smell source and proper aging will minimize it.
 
Lizzie Day
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Hi Thomas
Maybe my black locust tree is unusually strongly scented? It really smells quite disgustimg when I grub up the roots or cut a branch down. The dried wood doesn’t smell, until I put it in the fire, anyway! Can confirm reports that it is very dense and hard to chop through.

I burnt it in an ordinary wood heater, perhaps as PP has said, using it in an RMH will not present an odour problem?
 
thomas rubino
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Hi All;  Working out of state has extended the time its taken to cut up my load of wood.  But Finally , it's all in the wood shed's!  
By my measurements it's just shy of 13 cords of wood. @ Apx 75$ a cord... not bad!  
This was too easy ... I'll be ordering next years load soon.
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A Full load!
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No load left!
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The studio woodshed , all split and stacked... over 6 cords!
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The main woodshed over 6 cord not split but stacked!
 
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I'm constantly thinking about; "Will I be able to do it this way in 25 years?"

Nothing but conifer in the Great White North.

I've got nothing but oak and hickory here. Heavy and hard to split. I just cut a fence line through the woods around 12 acres and at 53 years old, I bought my first splitter because some of these trees were close to 2 foot in diameter. Just can't wail away with a maul on those big ones anymore. I also bought one of those high dollar Fiskar splitting axes. I'm at 5 cords which will last us two years.

Almost a senior citizen and still have a house to build. We'll be doing earth bermed, facing S/SE with that wall being glass for passive solar heat. Hopefully we'll be able to burn sticks in an RMH and/or a small efficient wood stove on occasion and nothing more. Might get a wood cook stove too but those also take small wood.
 
Jay Angler
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John Pollard wrote:

I'm constantly thinking about; "Will I be able to do it this way in 25 years?"

Exactly what I keep wondering and trying to plan for! I'm trying to choose a suitable place to set up a small "coppicing" woodlot. We don't need supper dense hardwood in our climate, but having a bunch of 4 inch diameter trunks that only need a single split, seems much more doable than what we currently get involved with. I *don't* do chainsaws, but I'm going to experiment with a very large saw my husband bought for other purposes, and see how it does on cutting 3-4 inch dead tree that is mostly cedar branches that came down in last year's big storm. The saw has an excellent integral clamp arrangement. I'll post the results, but we've only got one extension cord that will run the thing, and it's in use for the brooder - we've had a wet fall, so *everything's* behind the curve!
 
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James Landreth wrote:Don't feel too bad. I'm 24 and have my firewood delivered. I could cut it myself, but why? My time is better spent working for wages at this point and doing other things



This makes me feel better about purchasing firewood this year (again).  

I'm hoping that I can cut and split enough dead wood for next season and then enough green wood for the following year.

However, this *does* provide some insight on to the purchase of wood vs cutting my own wood (as I've got 10 acres of woods to draw from)

This year, I was able to get approximately 2 1/3 cords, seasoned, split and delivered for $250 cord + tax (~$600) total.

At my current day job, I make about $20 hour, so my firewood "cost" in time = about 30 hours of time worked to pay for the wood.

I'm wondering if I were to fell trees, buck, split, and stack...could I procure this same amount of wood with 30 hours of work?

I'm not entirely sure as I'm new to the firewood game (this will only be my third winter heating with wood in my life).

While I'm still working full time (at a local tree farm / nursery), purchasing wood may actually be a more viable option for me...

...until I've got more time available (which would subsequently mean less income in as I work on building our own enterprise on the farm and homestead).

Thanks for the comment, which generated a significant amount of thought on my part.  It's appreciated!
 
Mike Jay Haasl
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Rob Kaiser wrote:I'm wondering if I were to fell trees, buck, split, and stack...could I procure this same amount of wood with 30 hours of work?


I've been cutting wood for our own use for about 7 years, therefor I'm not a pro.  I cut trees and bucked them to stove length yesterday.  I think I cut about a cord of wood in 5 hours of work.  I also lugged it to the nearest access point and the missus hauled it to the splitting area (2 hrs of work).  I'm guessing I could split it in another 5 hours.  I'd have to stack it if I bought it or if I cut it so I won't count that time.  So for $250/cord plus tax, I think I'm saving/earning/offsetting about $20-25 per hour.

If I had a woodlot of nice big hardwoods that needed to be cut, I'm pretty sure I could cut my time significantly.  As is, I'm cutting just the dead or dying trees so I have to judge for punkiness and the chunks aren't always all that big.
 
Mark Brunnr
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And that money earned would be your after taxes rate too, if you had to earn it first to then pay someone else. A decent splitter that will last for years can be invaluable if that physical activity isn’t an option. The last time I had to split a wet 16” bucked tree it was not fun at all and I am well sized for such a task.
 
Mike Jay Haasl
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This afternoon I timed myself splitting wood.  I split 1/2 of a full cord of primarily fresh birch and some maple in exactly one hour.  I'm not extremely fit nor weak but I was definitely perspiring a bit.  So per my math above, I'm looking at 9 hours per cord of wood.  I think split wood delivered here is at least $200 and possibly $250.  Therefore I'm above $20 per hour for my labor, possibly closer to $25.  
 
Travis Johnson
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I have felled, yarded, then bucked, and split ten cods of wood (full cords) in 3 days time, but I was pretty tired when I was done. I was also in my late 20's and could not do that now.

My rates are as follows:

About 7 decent sized hardwood trees, makes a cord of wood.

I do not pre-fell my trees, I fell my trees, then limb them out, then immediately haul them out so that my woods are always cleaned of any trees I cut that day. I can pull 7 trees at once, and I average 7 trees to the hour of work, so I average about 1 cord per hour to fell and haul out to a landing.

Bucking trees into firewood is about 1/2 cord per hour.

Splitting is about the same; 1/2 cord to the hour.

....

But what I found is, felling and limbing is tiring, so hauling the trees out, is a break from that. Bucking up the trees is a break from pounding my rump as I haul out the trees on the tractor/skidder/bulldozer. And splitting is a break from felling, hauling and bucking. So with the right mindset I am on a break all day long. (LOL)

 
Travis Johnson
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I have been logging these last few days myself. I am pretty sick (cancer), so I was actually impressed with my progress. Working 11 am to 3PM on Wednesday, and 8 am to 2:30 pm on Thursday, and I got out 10 cord. These are hardwood logs so I do not have to buck them up or split them luckily.

As for logging, now if my favorite little Lumber Jill (my wife Katie) can run a chainsaw, and get some wood out, surely us boys can! (LOL)



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I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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