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How many times do you move your firewood?

 
gardener
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I had a thought the other day as I prepared to move a stack of firewood for the umpteenth time. I was thinking about all the energy I expend in the moving of firewood and started to wonder if our understanding of thermodynamics, BTU content per cord, etc. might be all wrong. Is it possible that when we labour in the handling of firewood, our own energy is taken up by the wood in the form of BTUs? I've joked in the past that wood won't burn unless it has been moved at least 7 times. This may explain why heavier wood has more heat potential--being heavier, it took more effort to move it 7 times, thus more BTUs.

There may also be a frustration component involved when you have carefully piled your firewood somewhere that suddenly becomes needed for something else. These unplanned/unexpected moves create added frustration and bonus BTUs that you can benefit from during the winter.

If I'm wrong, then I'm just joking of course.  
 
pollinator
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I think you are on to something.  Currently the firewood sheds are about 100' from the house but I know that location will need to change again in a year or two.  I don't mind going out in the cold or the snow to gather firewood but on the cold days having to go every day or even every other day with the wagon or wheelbarrow gets annoying.  When the time comes to move the location again I am thinking of making the wood shed on a trailer so I can keep it in the very back during the summer fire danger months and move it close to the back door in the winter months.  If I make it good enough I can pull it to the hills when cutting firewood and just stack it as I cut it and park it where I need it when I get home.  I think either a tandem axle or design it like a hay wagon will make it easier to manage and park.  I just need to make t low to the ground with a ramp for easy access.
 
pollinator
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Michael Helmersson wrote:I had a thought the other day as I prepared to move a stack of firewood for the umpteenth time. I was thinking about all the energy I expend in the moving of firewood and started to wonder if our understanding of thermodynamics, BTU content per cord, etc. might be all wrong. Is it possible that when we labour in the handling of firewood, our own energy is taken up by the wood in the form of BTUs? I've joked in the past that wood won't burn unless it has been moved at least 7 times. This may explain why heavier wood has more heat potential--being heavier, it took more effort to move it 7 times, thus more BTUs.

There may also be a frustration component involved when you have carefully piled your firewood somewhere that suddenly becomes needed for something else. These unplanned/unexpected moves create added frustration and bonus BTUs that you can benefit from during the winter.

If I'm wrong, then I'm just joking of course.  



Well, I think you might be wrong but the joke is kind of funny because I have done my share of wasted work moving firewood. Not for several years though.

Now my system is move it once from wherever I cut it to the main stacks about 50 feet from the house. There it stays on racks covered in tarps or plastic, sometimes for years. The racks consist of concrete blocks with steel tee posts laid across them, this keep the bottom wood off the ground. Additional tee posts are driven at about 8 foot intervals to hold the ends of the stack and to separate the wood by age and size. Electric fence wire stretched at the top between the vertical posts keeps the weight of the wood from pushing them apart. All nice and neat and a great improvement over the hodgepodge arrangements I used to have.  The wood stack spot is now, just permanently, the wood stack spot.

Second time it gets moved is when one of those eight foot sections is carted over and stacked on the side porch where it stays dry and handy, no going out in the rain or carting wood in the snow.  Then smaller amounts then go from there to a stack under the stairs from which it feeds the stove.

Also to make it all still easier I have a 55 gallon plastic barrel that I completely fill with sticks and small split firewood each fall. So now days all the dry wood and all the kindling I need for the season is under cover and dry, just 6 feet from the door.
 
pollinator
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In wildfire country, the firewood stack(s) stay a good distance from the house and key buildings. A big stack, fully engulfed, is bloody dangerous -- throwing heat and sparks. I currently have one stack that is waaaay to close to a nice A-frame cabin/chalet/seasonal workshop. Move it or lose it.
 
pollinator
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Too many, but at least some of it with the tractor...

I have modified some pallets to have two extra stringers just 1-3/4" from the outside ones. This allows a stake panel made with 2x3 stakes and other pallet boards to be inserted on each side to hold in the firewood stacked on the pallet.
They can be knocked-down for storage/moving, and when full of firewood can be stacked 2 or 3 high.

The pallets I got actually had 4 stringers, being heavier duty for masonry products, and are 2-way pallets 48" wide x 40" deep. That means I can have two neat stacks of wood on the faces, with a gap in the center that can contain the short or crooked pieces that don't stack well.


My employer has a neat system for his firewood. His fireplace is in a second floor room, the firewood stack in the garage. There is a dumbwaiter that runs from a cabinet in the room, down to the stairwell to the basement on the first floor. Open the basement door, draw down the dumbwaiter, and carry in the wood from the garage a short distance away.  Pull the dumbwaiter back up to the upstairs cabinet.
 
Michael Helmersson
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:

My employer has a neat system for his firewood. His fireplace is in a second floor room, the firewood stack in the garage. There is a dumbwaiter that runs from a cabinet in the room, down to the stairwell to the basement on the first floor. Open the basement door, draw down the dumbwaiter, and carry in the wood from the garage a short distance away.  Pull the dumbwaiter back up to the upstairs cabinet.



I have a dumbwaiter too, but it's me.

I've got pallets with chainlink fencing wrapped around them that can hold about one face cord. My tractor can't move them when full so they stay where they are until they get emptied. It's uncanny how I am able to know, subconsciously, exactly where to put them so that I will need to move them before I need the firewood.

I like your staked-pallet idea.

 
pollinator
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That's one of the reasons I went with an outdoor furnace. It goes straight off the truck to the stack, then from the stack straight to the furnace.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Marc, I would be very interested to hear more about your outdoor furnace setup and operating experiences. Perhaps a dedicated thread somewhere?
 
Marc Dube
pollinator
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I only installed it last winter and ran it intermittently throughout the winter as a test basically. This year I have much more wood stacked out and have the flaws ironed out.

It is a forced air furnace that blows the hot air via a 12v radiator fan through 12 feet of ducting to the house which enters through an old shell of a air conditioner that was built in and could not be removed easily.
 
pollinator
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Our arrangement isn’t great. The main woodshed is 100m from the house, and here in the UK our winter ground is mud rather than frozen solid. Makes for some treacherous treks to bring wood in.

Our typical process:

Cut wood to length where it fell.
Chuck it in the back of the 4x4 - we desperately need a good trailer for this
Unload onto the ground by the wood shed
Split in situ where it was unloaded.
Throw split pieces in the shed - not near stacked, just tossed.

As the stack builds we add extra boards across the front to hold the weight in. We decided that neatly stacking just added extra handling and didn’t help drying etc… and our wood is no where near uniform enough to make those lovely stacks that others share photos of.

It sits there typically for 18 months, then barrows get brought to the house through the winter as needed. They get loaded into an indoor rack which can hold about two days of fuel.

I can’t really see where we can shave off a handling step given our geographic limitations. The indoor rack is new, and a nice upgrade in volume and tidiness over the multiple baskets we had before.

Future upgrades - we need to double the main woodshed capacity, as two households are now using it, and we need to sort out a decent kindling process. Too often we are left scrabbling around looking for something to get a fire started with.
 
pollinator
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It is handled 5 times.  1 cutting and loading to bring home.  2.  unloading and piling in the drying pile.  3. from one pile to the spliter and back to another pile.  4.  From split pile to the stove. 5.  Haul the ashes out to garden.
 
pollinator
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Forest to driveway. Processed through splitter to rack. Collected from rack each time I go collect eggs, which is near the rack. I overthought the heck out of my "system" before choosing wood rack location and I think I've minimized movements.
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