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The Most "Manly" "Art"


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#1 iowahiker

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 08:30 PM

The long story:  I have heated only with firewood for decades in a central forced-air furnace and burn around 5 true cords each winter and no more than 7 cords in the coldest winter.  We like the constant steady heat flow of the warm fire box.  The propane furnace cycles from chill to hot.  Also, I save over $500 in annual gym membership fees since I cut, haul (Astro van), split (wedges), and stack all my wood by hand.  I do have a Makita 14" battery chainsaw (very nice) for the woods and a 120 volt chainsaw for cutting longer pieces at the wood shed.   I do not like the noise,smell, and kick of a gasoline chainsaw.

 

I normally burn a blend of red oak, red elm (killed by dutch elm disease), and sugar maple with smaller amounts of ash, iron wood, and bitternut hickory (actually a member of the pecan family).  Our favorite firewood is sugar maple which dries fast and burns hot which is great during the first morning burn to warm the house.  Oak coals better but burns cooler and takes 2-3 times longer to dry.  The arrival of emerald ash borer in Iowa has resulted in a lot of ash tree harvesting and so a large supply of white ash tops for firewood.  All the ash trees on our lot have died from emerald ash borer but we lose more trees to native red oak wilt.  Before "gorging" on all that white ash and filling the wood shed, I checked the firewood forums for opinions on white ash as a firewood.  

 

And so...  The Most "Manly" "Art" is: cutting, hauling, splitting, stacking, and burning firewood by my un-scientific sampling of forum topics (and of course applying unbiased analysis).  The "Firewood Hoarders Club" forum had more recent and current male topics/posts than any other forum I have seen (If you have seen more, the subject would most likely violate the WTW rules  <_<). 

 

Should I "gorge" on all that white ash?  Yes and no.  Maple still burns a lot hotter but we will favor feeding the furnace with only white ash after the morning chill  and on warmer fall/spring days to consume the ash hoard.  Ash does dry as quickly as sugar maple.  Also, ash is the driest "green" wood and so the most cost effective "green" wood to transport with less water weight and more wood/heat weight.


Edited by iowahiker, 12 August 2019 - 09:40 PM.

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#2 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 08:56 PM

We used to burn our Vermont Castings air tight for many years starting back in 1976 in the "sun room"

I made attached to our house that completes a full circle of all the rooms.

We even added a second "steel" stove to our fireplace,but didn't use that as much as it would drive you out

of the room.I would usually burn less then a cord per winter.

 

Now we do live in a not so cold winter area.Montery bay area the temps usually don't get below 28*ish.

When available I used Oak but as that became so much more expensive  I switched to Almond.

Easy to get and about half the price of Oak. Almond has a almost endless supply as the farmers in the valley

replant their orchards a the trees are cut up for firewood.

 

Saying all that ,we stopped burning a few years ago.The smell from the fire was bothering the wife and it's actually cheaper to use out NG heater. There again our weather is warmer and the "sun room" generates a lot of heat.

 

Good that you have a lot of Ash that needs to be cut.Gives you a great supply.

 

I always liked to do the whole wood cutting thing. I always felt it's a shame you can't store the body heat from firewood harvesting

for the winter months when you need it.

Have fun gathering your firewood and stay safe.

Frank


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#3 iowahiker

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 09:12 PM

Frank,

 

Almond firewood:  the forums consider almond firewood a great choice but the scent would always make me hungry (but I could save by not purchasing "air fresheners").  The best wood scent here is cherry firewood which is available in small amounts but the heat output is low since it burns both slow and cool for the forced-air furnace. 

 

Steady wood heating requires temperatures below 30 deg here.  We do only partial day morning burns above 30 deg.  Larry


Edited by iowahiker, 12 August 2019 - 09:15 PM.

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2013 Ford F-150 Reg Cab, Long Bed, 5.0 V-8, 4x4, payload package + 2012 FWC Granby

Over 900 camper nights in six seasons.

"The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives"  (Proverb)


#4 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 10:15 PM

Yes Larry the sent of Almond both the wood itself and while burning is nice.

It does put out a lot of heat.

We also burned it at out cabin in the 5000'elevation of the Sierra's.

Made a quick fire and overnight a large log would last through the night.

By morning a little stoking and fresh wood would have the fire going again.

Frank


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#5 iowahiker

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:45 AM

The best time to buck up sugar maple is about a year after a green tree hits the ground, after borers seed the wood with yeast.  Our wood shed will smell like a distillery for about a week after cutting "seasoned" maple.  No other tree has produced as much ethanol.  


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2013 Ford F-150 Reg Cab, Long Bed, 5.0 V-8, 4x4, payload package + 2012 FWC Granby

Over 900 camper nights in six seasons.

"The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives"  (Proverb)


#6 Foy

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 09:28 AM

Ah, memories of our first home in 1980, a tight little house with a Jotul woodstove. We had a Stihl 18" bar chain saw and a 1967 IH Scout with the back seat taken out, operated under Virginia's "Farm Use" vehicle registration laws. Our little 5 acre place in the Blue Ridge had nearby nearly endless supply of locust poles and we had a well made sawbuck, a big hunk of sycamore for a chopping block, and an 8 lb + a 6 lb splitting maul. I rarely needed wedges. The wife and I, then in our mid- to late 20s, spent many a day gathering, hauling, bucking, splitting, and stacking firewood. We'd go through only 4 full cords per year, so small and tight was the house, so efficient was the Jotul, and so BTU-packed was the locust.

 

Then came kids, a larger and draftier house, no handy source of free wood, and, perhaps most convincingly, availability of natural gas and a new gas furnace.  Goodbye wood heat, hello "knob heat".

 

Thanks for the memories!

 

Foy 


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#7 WjColdWater

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:36 PM

I’m not a fire wood expert. But we burn ambiance wood in a standard insert fire place. Ash is plentiful and is a great wood for our use. It’s a little stringy to split though. I trade the farm neighbors, small carpentry projects for wood. They have all the equipment, saws, splitters and trailers. I’m glad to have great neighbors in farm country. Safe burning this season all.
Wayne
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#8 iowahiker

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 02:03 PM

I could never swing a bat as a kid and the only thing I produce with a maul is kindling.  My neighbor can hit the sweet spot on a round on the first strike every time.  I set a thin wedge in the center or in a check and drive it through or add a larger wedge if the wood does not "pop".  Works first time, every time.  My furnace has a 9" x 13" door and so I need to split  a lot less than my neighbor who burns with a stove.  Also, collecting tops after a harvest yields a lot less wood needing splitting.  We had a large rock elm, 25", die in the back yard and wedges could not split the wood.   I used the 120 volt chain saw to process the whole tree to "splits".  Rock elm burns just as good as sugar maple.  The time saved in not hauling the rock elm was instead spent on cutting.


Edited by iowahiker, 14 August 2019 - 11:28 AM.

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2013 Ford F-150 Reg Cab, Long Bed, 5.0 V-8, 4x4, payload package + 2012 FWC Granby

Over 900 camper nights in six seasons.

"The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives"  (Proverb)


#9 ntsqd

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 01:32 AM

Used to help my grandparents in Central OR cut fire wood. The bug kill was big even back then, lots of lodgepoles cut down and put into piles to be burned by the FS come first snow. We'd back the '62 F600 under the 28' flatbed and go find one of those piles. Each year we'd take a another family with us. I don't know that they did it, but looking back on it I think those families were chosen by their lack of finances & the wood for heating lessened their burden.

 

Anyway, we'd cut as long as we could get out of the pile and load them up on the trailer. Most of the piles we visited were out toward Paulina because grand dad had a rancher friend out that way who'd scout the piles for us. That poor ole 292 sure worked hard getting that stack of wood over the hill into Prineville, and then again up the hill out of Prineville up to the airport.

 

All of the saws we used were short bar, usually 18's. Made it easy, back the trailer in to the stack and start at the rear using the bar to measure where to cut. Reach in and cut all the way across the trailer deck. Two cutting could keep 5-6 busy stacking and we'd trade off. I always liked the cutting more than the stacking.


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#10 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 03:22 PM

I could never swing a bat as a kid and the only thing I produce with a maul is kindling.  My neighbor can hit the sweet spot on a round on the first strike every time.  I set a thin wedge in the center or in a check and drive it through or add a larger wedge if the wood does not "pop".  Works first time, every time.  My furnace has a 9" x 13" door and so I need to split  a lot less than my neighbor who burns with a stove.  Also, collecting tops after a harvest yields a lot less wood needing splitting.  We had a large rock elm, 25", die in the back yard and wedges could not split the wood.   I used the 120 volt chain saw to process the whole tree to "splits".  Rock elm burns just as good as sugar maple.  The time saved in not hauling the rock elm was instead spent on cutting.


Larry, great thread. Heating with wood heats a person every step of the way, from cutting -> splitting -> stacking -> burning. For that rock elm, I think I would rent a hydraulic splitter to make life a little easier.
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