With a healthy chill in the air tonight, thought I'd talk firewood. Tools, old time tricks, new technology, scrounging/sourcing free or low cost wood, species selection, woodlot management etc are all fair game. I'll testify to my credibility on this subject having worked as a logger, studying forestry in college, burning wood all my life and studying woodcraft under some of the best oldtimers in the North Woods. Lets start with tools today. I just bought a 59,9CC Echo chainsaw. Going out on a limb a bit here, being a long time Jonsered/Husky guy but it's got good reviews and seems to be a solid, well put together saw for $400 out the door equipped with quality Oregon chisel chain and a 20" bar. Preliminary handling and performance on a couple light logs in the backyard is good. I should have a more detailed report by Dec. when I get into some serious wood. A quality chainsaw is a must for anybody considering heating with wood in a cold climate. If it says Jonsered, Husqvarna or Stihl it's a pretty safe bet to be a good machine. We'll see about the Echos. If you only use wood occasionally, say less than 2 cords a year you can get by with a big box store Poulan or similar, but if you can afford it, the quality saw will give you better performance for more time with less maintenance. For any serious firewood cutting, I'd say 50cc and 18" bar would be the absolute minimum I would consider. If your typical tree is under 12", a 50-55cc "pro" saw will be a firewood making juggernaut for you. My Jonsered 2152 has served beautifully in this regard for 6 years cutting about 8 cords of hardwood per year with minimal maintenance. Finally had the carb rebuilt last year. For larger trees or any production logging, I'd step up to the 60-70cc range. If you're an experienced cutter, "chisel" cutter chain will seriously outperform "semi-chisel" or low profile chain. The only time I use semi-chisel is when I am cutting very dirty wood. If you can afford a gas splitter great. I prefer the cost and exercise of hand splitting. I use a Fiskars firewood axe. Gronfors Brukks and similar designs are truly awesome but expensive. Stihl also makes a quality splitting axe. Forget the Hudson style axes and heavy wedge mauls for splitting. The first is not designed for serious wood splitting but works well for kindling or very straight grained wood, the second is outdated garbage. If you really hate your back, get a 12 lb wedge maul. You'll work twice as hard for half the wood I can make with my Fiskars. You should almost never have to drive a wedge with a sledge unless you're making timbers. It is good to have one around to free the occasional chainsaw bar pinched in a kerf or axe stuck in a log though. They make nice .22 targets too. Just drive it into a stump and plink away. 2 of them driven into a stump make a good field expedient vice-clamp to work on tools or sharpen saw chain.