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My firewood cutting, splitting and drying plan

 
Dale Hodgins
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I have tried to run my rocket stove with less than dry wood.  Every horrible thing that Erica has ever said about wet wood,  is completely true!  It's shit.

 I burnt a dirty fire,  using semi dried wood.  Later,  I tried using oven dried maple.  It burns beautifully and sometimes a blue flame came off of it.
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 The other day I set about harvesting some maple firewood from the  roadside. Anyone with a similar road in my environment,  is familiar with the concept of broadleaf maple, closing up the road with it's reaching branches and trunks. This can be a perennial problem or it can be a great source of coppice wood.
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 The raised bank on the north side of my road is the hottest and driest part of the property. It's the perfect spot to dry wood. It's right where I cut the wood and it gives a nice solid base for splitting. On a cool winter day, this spot gets much warmer than the rest of the property. In summer, it's unbearable.
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 On February 20th I put in about six hours cutting and processing wood. All of it was cut within 10 feet of the road. I had to put on light summer clothing and wear a broad brimmed hat,  with my back to the sun.
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 The wood is very easily split in the spring,  when it's fully saturated with water. It will lose about 40% of its weight before it is moved. It will not be touched again until it is put in a woodshed in September. We very seldom see any rain during the summer, and if one does occur,  it quickly burns off.
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Landon Sunrich
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I've burnt a lot of less than dry wood. It sucks. It always smokes more and steams and is just plain lame. Even my beloved red alder. Conifers are the worst in some ways. They put off better heat when wettish but they get super tarry and make much lots creosote.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I use a concrete splitting block. It sits very solidly against the road bed and doesn't waste all of my energy with bouncing. I hit the block slightly on two occasions during the splitting of all of this wood.

I sit on the bench with my legs spread apart and the block directly in front of me. This short hand held maul needs only a few inches of stroke. I stand the wood up and take short deliberate strokes,  usually landing within 1/4 inch of the center of the block.

 I cut a load and then split a load, moving along the road as the sides fill up.  Wood is grabbed from the wheelbarrow,  split and then tossed against the south facing embankment.

 In good conditions, I can cut,  transport and split about three wheelbarrow loads per hour. This gives me about 600 pounds of wet wood or about 350 pounds of dry wood. I think that is enough wood for at least one week of average burning.
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Dale Hodgins
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Once it is dry,  this wood will be used as a Trombe wall against south facing and east facing glass in the bathing and storage building 12 feet away. It will get much drier there than it would in most woodsheds.

 A warm spot near the stove will be used for wood storage inside the cabin. I'll store at least one weeks supply inside the cabin, all of the time.

 Once the stove is in cool down mode, I may place a basket of the next days wood,  in a basket that is placed on top of the clay ovens.
.......

This is the story of my masonry stove.

http://www.permies.com/t/43542/rocket-stoves/Dale-Rocket-Powered-Mass-Heater?nonMobile=true
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R Scott
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Nice system.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Thanks, R.

I did and efficiency test, to see how long it would take to cut and split a load of firewood.

I can do 3 loads this size in one hour. That includes finding it, cutting, loading and walking the wheelbarrow a short distance to the splitting/drying area. It took 11 minutes to split this load, so clearly that's where time could be saved.
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Dale Hodgins
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Now that I have quite a bit of firewood stored up, I won't need to piss around like this in the future.

I plan to use a rocket heater for a hot tub and and outdoor bathing area. The feed mouth on this until, will either be about a 10 inch J-tube or I will use some sort of batch box.

 Wood larger than four inches in diameter will be used for the larger unit. I should be able to avoid most splitting, by sorting the wood as it comes in.

 My work in the city,  often produces small dimension firewood. I will save this rather than give it away, as I have been doing. I'll put a little more time into processing wood and a little less into hauling waste to the branch dump.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I did some improvement cutting around the property, mostly taking down small evergreens. I cut off all of the limbs first and then I chunk the trunk down in firewood length pieces that fall on the limbs.

 I won't return to the many trees done this way,  until near the end of summer. It will be very dry by August and then it will be placed behind glass.
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Michael Cox
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Dale - firewood left in our woods like that gets totally swamped by brambles in short order. Does that happen with you?

Also, a lot of your wood looks like it is in contact with the ground. Any way to raise it up to prevent wicking, or are you treating the bottom layer or two as sacrificial? I left a stack of split wood like yours a while back and came back 12 months later to find it totally buried by an ant hill!
 
Dale Hodgins
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Oregon Grape and salal take over slowly. Nothing thorny or viney will cover it in one season.

There are rock piles along the north side of the road.  The wood is sitting on rock and very powdery rock flour that gets really hot and dry. The road reflects heat and light. Nature's kiln.

 The evergreen branches are springy and will keep that wood off of the ground.  The ground is very dry anyway. It's mostly well drained rock flour.
 
Michael Cox
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Kinda the opposite of our damp clay-pit conditions here in Kent then!
 
Dale Hodgins
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Tim Malacarne
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Even though my brother tells me that free advice is usually worth what you pay for it, here goes my 2 cents, OK?

We've been heating with wood, and even a little coal, for around 40 years. Have used a great variety of stoves, some good, some bad, some dangerous...

The main, number 1, all-important rule, IMHO, is: Burn seasoned wood.

We put up a woodshed years ago. The next Spring, the local carpenter I'd hired to help build the thing had one too.. He said, "I thought about you a lot last winter." Me: (Shocked) You DID? Carpenter: Yeah, every time I moved the woodpile tarp, and the snowmelt water ran into my boot. Me: (Whew)...

The farther you can get ahead on your wood supply, the better off you'll be. It's like money in the bank... I was in an industrial accident some years back, broke my leg. Late October found me with no wood. The neighbors all pitched in, came around, cut wood and piled it. Was OK, but not high quality, nor to the right length... Taught me a lesson, get ahead at least a year It'll take time, it's a LOT of work, but it's worth it. When it's sleeting and snowing, and the cold wind is blowing, you can not, in my opinion, beat the ambiance of a woodshed that is stacked to the gills with dry firewood. We never know when misfortune may strike, sickness or accident. Once you get a nice, year or two supply, you will know that, as long as you can get wood to the stove in the winter, you'll stay warm.

Oh, and wood doesn't cure until it's split. Not much anyway.

Learn proper felling techniques, and always, always chain the tree just above the cut area to prevent splitting while felling.

Good luck!
 
Dale Hodgins
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I won't be doing any chaining, but some may want to. If I were to spend 10 hours a year cutting wood, I think I could meet my needs. Just this week, I have given away 6 truck loads of wood from this row. I remove trees for money. Wood is a low paying byproduct.
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