Author Topic: Firewood  (Read 4092 times)

Monkey Uncle

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Firewood
« on: July 10, 2016, 02:30:24 PM »
DW and I cut and hauled 9 pickup loads of firewood over the last two weekends.  My rough estimate is that this will replace about $2,000 worth of electricity and a $400 membership to the Y.  It cost about $50 in mileage on the truck and probably less than $10 in fuel, oil, and wear & tear on the chainsaw.

Of course we've been doing this for 12 years, so it's nothing new, but we don't often do it all at one time such that we end up with such an impressive pile.

Vic99

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2016, 02:41:57 PM »
Always love to see a good scrounge!  I've been at it for 9 years.

I do the same.  Don't pay a dime for wood and probably spend under $50 to run the chainsaw/year.  Taking down trees or scrounging for wood, hauling, splitting, stacking, and moving wood are good work outs (we know firewood warms us more than twice).

Save a huge amount on natural gas as I get ~95% of heat this way.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2016, 05:53:06 PM »
Always love to see a good scrounge!  I've been at it for 9 years.

I do the same.  Don't pay a dime for wood and probably spend under $50 to run the chainsaw/year.  Taking down trees or scrounging for wood, hauling, splitting, stacking, and moving wood are good work outs (we know firewood warms us more than twice).

Save a huge amount on natural gas as I get ~95% of heat this way.

Yeah, I figure I handle most pieces of wood at least 8 times.
1. Cut it and throw it clear.
2. Throw/carry it to the truck.
3. Unload it from the truck and stack it in the pre-split pile.
4. Split it and stack it in the post-split pile.
5. Load it in the wheelbarrow and take it to the dry storage stack under the deck.
6. Carry it to the staging stack just outside the back door.
7. Carry it inside to the rack beside the stove.
8. Put it in the stove.

aaron3719

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2016, 04:38:08 AM »
wow that's a lot, where do you get these woods from?

Fishindude

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2016, 05:12:03 AM »
I've got a big pile behind the barn right now that needs to be split up and put in the wood shed, soon as we get a couple cool days.
Can't beat a good wood fire when it's cold outdoors.

Mtngrl

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2016, 07:50:29 AM »
It's that time of year, isn't it? We've been cutting and hauling wood, too.
We get ours from the National Forest -- it is $10 a cord for a permit and we get four cords. We have a gas boiler to supply in-floor radiant heat, but keep that turned down low and rely on the wood stove primarily. I love the luxury of being able to keep the house as warm as I like.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2016, 04:32:11 AM »
wow that's a lot, where do you get these woods from?

This particular batch I got from a friend of a friend who is trying to sell his property and needed to clean it up.  He had logged a portion of his property a year or two ago and still had a bunch of tops and logs lying around that he wasn't able to get transported to a mill. 

Over the years I've scrounged from a variety of different sources.  A couple of friends have wooded acreage from which they're willing to let me cut dead/down wood.  One year my neighbor had some trees taken down for safety reasons and let me take the wood.  A few years ago we had a big storm and the local college let me cut down wood off their property.  Then they had a tree guy come through and clean up, and I followed him around for a few days sawing and picking up logs.  I got about two years worth of wood from that one event.  A couple of years ago we had some trees taken down on our own property for safety reasons.  And usually every year something will come down on our property and I'll make use of it.

I live in a heavily wooded area, so there is always something available if you keep your eyes and ears open.  I have had to buy a few loads here and there in some years, but mostly because I just didn't have time to go cut wood rather than because there wasn't any available anywhere.  Because wood is so plentiful here, it's pretty cheap, so even if I had to buy all of my wood it would still cost less than half what it would cost to heat with my electric baseboards.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2016, 04:33:49 AM »
I've got a big pile behind the barn right now that needs to be split up and put in the wood shed, soon as we get a couple cool days.
Can't beat a good wood fire when it's cold outdoors.

Yes, I'm also going to get well-acquainted with the wedge and hammer over the next few months.

Fishindude

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2016, 05:12:00 AM »
No wedge & hammer for this guy.
Bought a hydraulic splitter many years ago, money well spent.

Mtngrl

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2016, 10:28:19 AM »
We inherited a hydraulic splitter from my father. It makes quick work of the wood, plus I think of my dad every time we use it.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2016, 04:02:34 AM »
Pansies.  :)

Vic99

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2016, 09:55:36 AM »
Yes, an 8lb maul is what I use. I hope to be able to split all my own for a long time.  I'm 46.

nawhite

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2016, 10:58:00 AM »
Have you guys seen this ax? http://wonderfulengineering.com/this-reinvented-axe-design-splits-wood-in-record-time/

Basically it is designed to fall over sideways upon hitting the wood and uses that sideways motion to lever the wood apart. I want to play with one but at $200+ it's a little much compared to a $30 maul that I know how to use.

Vic99

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2016, 02:18:08 PM »
Have you guys seen this ax? http://wonderfulengineering.com/this-reinvented-axe-design-splits-wood-in-record-time/

Basically it is designed to fall over sideways upon hitting the wood and uses that sideways motion to lever the wood apart. I want to play with one but at $200+ it's a little much compared to a $30 maul that I know how to use.

Looks like it works well on straight grain, easy to split wood. But unknotted pines and birch like they show in the videos split if you breathe on them to hard. Would like to know how it performs with oak or sugar maple.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2016, 04:48:19 AM »
Have you guys seen this ax? http://wonderfulengineering.com/this-reinvented-axe-design-splits-wood-in-record-time/

Basically it is designed to fall over sideways upon hitting the wood and uses that sideways motion to lever the wood apart. I want to play with one but at $200+ it's a little much compared to a $30 maul that I know how to use.

Looks like it works well on straight grain, easy to split wood. But unknotted pines and birch like they show in the videos split if you breathe on them to hard. Would like to know how it performs with oak or sugar maple.

Yeah, no way would that thing handle the large blocks of knotty oak and hickory that I typically split.  I can't even use a maul on most of it.  Even with an 8 pound sledge hammer and 4 pound wedge, it's a lot of work.

Mainestache

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2016, 05:42:21 AM »
When fuel oil prices were high ($3.50-4.00/gallon), we calculated firewood as costing us only 25% of what it would cost had we only used oil. I haven't re-calculated, but even with fuel oil prices quite low now, it's still probably 50% of the cost. Sure, it's more work but I like the heritage aspect of it on top of it being a renewable resource, healthy physical activity, and a mindful daily practice of creating my own warmth.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 09:34:29 AM by Mainestache »

acroy

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2016, 06:43:56 AM »
Badass!!

jacksonvasey

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2016, 03:03:29 PM »
Nice, I recently found a tree service that's less than a mile from my house, so the guy sells 2-cord log loads for $200, which is a bit steep, but I figure $400 a year for firewood is better than buying and maintaining a truck, plus spending time scrounging for free wood.

I have the fiskars 4 lb (I think it's 4lb) super splitter, and an 8 lb maul, and a 12 pound mega maul, each of which handles a different kind of wood really well.  The fiskars is good for easy-to-split stuff, because it doesn't wear you out.  The 8 lb is good for most stuff, and the 12 pound is for the knotty pieces.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2016, 04:44:37 AM »
Nice, I recently found a tree service that's less than a mile from my house, so the guy sells 2-cord log loads for $200, which is a bit steep, but I figure $400 a year for firewood is better than buying and maintaining a truck, plus spending time scrounging for free wood.

I have the fiskars 4 lb (I think it's 4lb) super splitter, and an 8 lb maul, and a 12 pound mega maul, each of which handles a different kind of wood really well.  The fiskars is good for easy-to-split stuff, because it doesn't wear you out.  The 8 lb is good for most stuff, and the 12 pound is for the knotty pieces.

Yeah, I've gone back and forth about whether it is worth the maintenance and depreciation on the truck.  It's an old truck, so it's pretty difficult to guess the depreciation rate on it at this point, and any changes in the assumed depreciation rate make all the difference in whether the truck is worthwhile or not.  I could buy a season's worth of wood, split and delivered, for around $800, so burning wood is always going to be cheaper than using electricity.  But it's a crap shoot as to whether keeping the truck is better than just buying wood.  In the numbers I quoted in the OP, I was using a typical mileage rate ($.65/mi), which may not be all that accurate for an old truck that doesn't get driven much except for cutting wood and the occasional short fishing trip.  At that mileage rate it is definitely cheaper to keep the truck than to buy wood, but if I attempt to estimate actual maintenance and depreciation costs, it's less of a clear advantage.

The holy grail would be finding a tree service that is willing to drop off free logs at my house.  A few years ago after the last big storm, I had one that was willing to bring me as much free wood as I could handle, but the last time I contacted him he didn't return my call.  I suppose he's not having any difficulty disposing of waste wood right now.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Firewood
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2016, 05:56:34 PM »
Added two more loads to the pile today.  I think I'll go to bed early tonight.