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The Most "Manly" "Art"

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#11 roverjohn


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Posted 14 August 2019 - 05:27 PM

There have been wars fought over Ash as a firewood in Europe so I'm a little surprised this question is being asked but , yes, it's a great firewood. I used to burn a lot of Maple that I thought was Sugar Maple when I lived in the UP. What I remember was how easy it was to split when green.

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#12 iowahiker


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Posted 14 August 2019 - 08:38 PM

Lodge pole firewood:  I was curious after reading ntsqd's story and looked up lodge pole as firewood and was surprised at how popular and favored lodge pole pine is as a firewood.  All the hikes we did through lodge pole and we never appreciated how decent a firewood lodge pole is (no wonder those Yellowstone NP fires were so large).


Our research into burning ash firewood is somewhat furnace specific: our forced air furnace operates best during a chilly morning when the wood burns HOT since our blower can pull a lot of heat out.  There are some firewood burners who have doubts concerning ash's rate of burn or heat output per minute.  Should we ration our sugar maple for chilly mornings or switch to 100% ash in our wood shed?  Our search of firewood forums leans to rationing our sugar maple.  If we manage to create hot white ash fires than we will "gorge" on ash.  Right now, I am hauling about equal parts of red oak, sugar maple, and white ash but I am eyeing a very large collection of white ash tops (greed?).


Trivia for the day:  using a chain saw to "split wood" is not as uncommon as commonly thought and even has a name - "noodling", because of the long strands created by cutting with the grain.  Yes, I "noodled" an entire 25" rock elm which did/does burn as hot as sugar maple (I spread the rock elm out over several different firewood rows and still have some left).  Actually, splitting with only wedges is also fairly common.

Edited by iowahiker, 14 August 2019 - 08:49 PM.

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#13 Foy


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Posted 14 August 2019 - 09:38 PM

I labored mightily, for a good 8 years, at my father's direction, by splitting firewood for his conventional fireplace at our family's home, using only an 8 lb sledge hammer and wedges. Starting as a scrawny 8 year-old and finishing as a scrawny 16 year-old, Dad put me in charge of keeping his woodbox full so he could enjoy a fire on weekday evenings and all (freaking) day on Saturday.  I made so much kindling out of sledge hammer handles by trying to whale the wedge in as few a number of strokes as possible that he'd buy replacement handles 2 or 3 at a time. Only when I started an after-school and Saturdays job with a friend's father's tree service did I become exposed to the wonders of a good maul and how to wield it. Ralph collected white oak, red oak, and hickory from his father's jobs and we bucked it and split it up for sale. All splitting was done with a maul. It obviously helped a lot to be hitting big green rounds of those species since even an unchecked round would readily yield to a line of maul hits stitched fairly straight across its center. By the time I was 16 I was still scrawny but had developed a good swing and could fairly fly through good material.


Even now, in my mid 60s, I can handle a maul fairly well, though I prefer a 6 lb tool. I recently enjoyed showing my 6 year old grandson how to split firewood using some hickory rounds from a Hurricane Florence casualty from my yard.  I popped it gently in half, then walked a circle around it while the halves were still connected at the bottom, making quarters then eights out of it.  The Boy said "how did you learn how to do that, Pop?".  Practice, lots and lots of practice, Son, I replied.  


All that hearkens back to Larry's excellent title to this thread.  There most certainly is an art to converting a tree into split and stacked firewood, and doing so with a degree of efficiency.  It's a heckuva lot of work no matter how it's done, but it's much more if one doesn't learn some "tricks of the trade" along the way.



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#14 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 12:33 AM

Foy nice story.Yes cutting/splitting/stacking/burning wood is a "mostly manly art"

Thanks for the story.


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#15 ntsqd


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 01:05 AM

My recollection of lodge pole pine as firewood is that it is pretty resin-y and can create a lot of soot. At least that is what I remember granddad saying about it. That jive with what you're seeing said about it? He made a point of getting burning as hot as he could to cut down on the soot and the ash.


As an experiment he once cooked an egg directly on the top of the wood burning heating 'stove' that he built from 3/16" & 1/4" steel plate. Wish that I had a picture of it. Not very decorative, but boy did it put out the heat! About 36" long, 26"-28" wide, and ~30" tall. Excepting cold snaps he could heat a 4000 sqft house (2000 sqft home + 2000 sqft "basement") with it. I think normal winter consumption in Central OR was about 4 cords.

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Where does that road go?

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