THE firewood thread

Discussion in 'DIY / Self Sufficiency' started by Ole and Lena, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

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    Cutting wood with a dull chain is really the pits. Watch the chips coming out of the saw. When you are done with a cut, glance at the pile od chips left behind, they should be a nice crisp wood chip. When they get small, and look like sawdust - stop cutting wood and take a couple of minutes to sharpen your blade. It isn't hard if you have the right tool. We always had a chain sharpener for each saw we took into the woods with us. Just a rat-tail in a guide, but it makes a world of difference.

    Anyone use a log jack when cutting firewood?
    DH had to have one, used it one season, and now it just sits in the garage.
    He said it worked good, just never bothered to take it with when cutting wood. I think it is because the wood we were getting had been dragged out of the woods into the field, so it was dirty. Lifting the log out of the dirt, wasn't mush help at that point. The year we used it, we were getting our wood from the mountains and cutting down the trees our self, and chiunking it right where it fell.
     
  2. Ole and Lena

    Ole and Lena Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Never used a log jack. Only rarely would I have use for one, then usually I can get by with a sapling or branch for a lever.

    Dull chain is the pits. I try to avoid cutting dragged wood at all cost for that reason. I prefer to either cut it to length in the woods or if that is not possible I'll cut it to lengths that will fit in a pickup or on a wagon, then yard it in my cutting area. At the cutting area, I'll use a couple of pole sized pieces to raise the stack up off the ground. Save the grounded poles for last when I'm done cutting.

    Beware, advanced cutting techniques described below. Use at own risk only by qualified operators.

    Don't be afraid to use the tip of your bar (very carefully, advanced technique) to do a bore cut and under cut back up to the top of your log. The Husqvarna link earlier in the post gives a description of performing a bore cut. Reduces ground strikes when bucking in the woods as you're not driving down the last little ways through the log at the ground when you have the least control. If you've never done bore cuts, practice them on a tall stump or stable log where you have good footing rather than out in the woods on a tricky cut for the first time. Bore cutting is also essential for precision felling and cutting high value sawlogs without splitting. Also a good way to prevent getting your saw pinched when bucking logs under tension.

    The basic bore cut... Using the bottom quadrant of the bar tip, cut into the log no more than half thickness. After cutting down to bury the entire bar tip, with the throttle and chain at cutting speed, rotate the saw 45 to 90 degrees while smoothly pushing the bar into the log. Allow the saw to cut it's way in, do not force it, maintain only enough pressure to prevent it backing out. Beware of kickback, it may occur, keep all appropriate body parts clear of the kickback radius, keep a firm grip on the saw, be prepared to react.

    One situation where bore cutting is particularly useful is when a log straddles a depression and will pinch the bar if cut straight down from the top. In this situation I will cut half the thickness of the log down with the bottom of the tip, then bore through, cut out the bottom and under cut through the top. No pinched bar!
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  3. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

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    How often do you sharpen your chain and what do you use to sharpen it?

    One friend uses a tool he purchased that runs on a dremel tool. There are lots of gadgets out there to choose from.
     
  4. Ole and Lena

    Ole and Lena Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use nothing but a rat tail file designed for chain sharpening. Must be Pferd or Stihl brand made in Switzerland or Germany. They cost a bit more but they last and cut better than box store ones.

    The various grinders available are fast, but unless you're shelling out big bucks for a professional grade grinder they tend to take off too much metal and do sloppy work. For a file guide, I use the roller guides sold by Husqvarna. I touch up my depth gauges with an old Carlton gauge and mill ******* file.

    As far as how often I sharpen chain? When it needs it. Not before, not after. Occasionally, especially if I've hit some metal in a cut with a relatively new chain I will bring it to the local saw shop to get the edges cleaned up on their pro grinder. I've done the guy some favors over the years and he'll do the occasional touch up for free.

    How often the chain will need sharpening depends on the cutting conditions, wood type, cutter type, etc. I can cut almost all day in the snow with "clean" wood such as aspen, maple or birch without sharpening. If I'm cutting white oak in a windrow adjacent to a sandy potato field, I may not even make it through a tank of fuel before I reach for the file. As posted above, watch your chips, they'll tell the tale.
     
  5. NinjaRooster

    NinjaRooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found out that our local shop charges $5 a chain for sharpening.

    For as often as I cut wood (right now: almost never; hopefully much, much more in the future.), I think that's a spectacular deal.
     
  6. fishy steve

    fishy steve Out Of The Brooder

    ive got a husqavarna 455 rancher, its 56 cc, bin a amazing saw... cut probably 3 or 400 face cord of wood with it in the last 4 years, plus brushed my whole 5 acre property, and all i have had to do to it, is i changed the air, fuel filter, and spark plug, as well as adjust the idle. thats is! i run nothing but premium gas and good oil in it.

    as others mentioned, when it comes to chains and sharpening, buy good quality, chains and files, they will pay themselves off in the long run, when the wood start getting tough to cut, stop and sharpen your chain, it will be easier on both you and your saw

    i live in ontario canada, so good wood is abundant. i burn mostly sugar maple, beech, white and yellow birch and red oak. will ussually cut a couple cord of poplar for spring and fall burning, but the maple and oak, sure feal better when its -40 out. i burn on average abut 14 face cord per year.

    face cord (1/3 cord)= 8'X4'X16"
    cord = 8'X4'X4'
     
  7. Trent Hardy

    Trent Hardy Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey, I really like these posts I run into on firewood. I once had a buddy explain to me that burning firewood is actually a sickness. You start out thinking you'll just have a cord or so to supplement your primary heat source, but then you become OBSESSED with cutting wood (see CanuckBocks comment above "I'd like a few more but heck...how many cords is one suppose to use up?" - LOL) . I'd just like to add a couple of comments/suggestions/questions to this post.

    1) Ole and Lena. In your above comment you mention that wood primarily dries through the ends. I'd just like to clarify, by this you mean un-split wood (rounds). I'm sure you agree that wood that has been split dries everywhere there isn't bark.

    2) I think that I may take a slightly different approach than many in that I split my wood almost immediately after harvesting. This makes it harder to split but allows it to dry out quicker. That being said, I live in eastern Newfoundland. The wood here is primarily softwood (spruce and fir), and most of the trees do not get much larger than 14"-16" in dameter. So even when the wood is really green, a splitting wedge will do the trick, and when it doesn't I have a small (2 ton) electric splitter that does the job. Over the course of the summer my wood becomes dry enough to use

    3) Instead of laying tarp direclty on top of wood, some people suspend tarping just a few inches above the tops of their wood. This allows for air flow (discouraging mold) and still provides shelter from rain. The tarp needs to be very well secured in this case though, as it is basically a big kite.

    4) Recently I have heard of an axe coming out of Europe that twists when splitting and is supposed to be awesome. Has anyone encountered this one? Any comments?
     
  8. Ole and Lena

    Ole and Lena Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Even split wood dries mostly out of the ends. Think of a tree trunk as a big bundle of straws designed to transport water and dissolved nutrients between the leaves and roots. Evaporation at the end of the "straws" draws water out the ends. Split wood dries faster as the individual pieces have less mass and greater surface area resulting in faster climatization= faster drying when properly racked. Also some drying occurs through the sidewalls of the "straws" which rounds with bark will prevent. Most important is having the ends exposed to airflow though.

    Conversely, in extremely wet conditions (camping), splitting large pieces will yield dryer wood.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
  9. Eagleeyeice

    Eagleeyeice Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hey a thread that I can relate to:

    Canook, love your walls of wood. I live in town and have me own walls of wood. Not as big or as many but I have a small lot so I have to stack where I can. Makes my backyard very private.
    I cut with two stihls, a 310 and a 011AV. And use the stihl files to sharpen unless I hit something that I can't do with a file then I take it in and have them sharpen it with their machine. I'm done cutting for this year, as I have NO more room for wood.
    I have one wall of wood next to my driveway, 4 rows wide, 6' high and 21' long. Another on the alley, 3 rows wide, and 18' long and a small stack around the corner.
    This fall I had to stack on the chicken coop side of the driveway, (and the north side of the run, so it will block the cold north wind and snow from the north. But this stack is 5 rows wide, 6' tall and 12' long. I still have a big chunk of wood to split next to the garage, and I'll stack it where it is now sitting. Probably won't all fit there, so will add another stack to the north side of the driveway.

    Ole and Lena, thanks for starting the thread.

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  10. Trent Hardy

    Trent Hardy Out Of The Brooder

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    LOL - that is a lot of wood. If I did my math right you've got around 10 cord? Like I was saying before, cutting wood is a sickness :).
     

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