Small Woodland Owners' Group


Food, firewood, timber, walking sticks, for sale...

Postby John H » Tue May 19, 2009 3:42 pm

For those of you who don't visit the Arbtalk forum and with thanks to "Splitter" who posted it there.

John H
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Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:15 pm

Postby tracy » Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:37 pm

More on firewood needed please!

I am writing up some information for a new site and I need:

Photos of firewood

Stacks of firewood - different methods of drying/ shelters etc

photos of splitting firewood - by hand, different tools and with machines

advice from YOU on firewood, what to look for, how to buy/ sell.

Which ones are best

Anything else useful?!

Good websites

I do need freshly written material, and photos. Hope to hear from you!


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Postby martingarwood » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:06 am

Over the last few years I have got a bit more systematic about firewood, and it seems to work for me. At home we have an open fire and a small woodburner and our wood is largely Sweet chestnut, Scots/Corsican pine and Birch. Chestnut is a bit of a spitter so we use that on the log burner, felling in the autumn and winter, sawing into logs and splitting it then and stacking. I then leave the stack for two summers to give it plenty of drying time, putting a tarp over the top at the end of the second summer to keep it dry. On the open fire, Birch is best so I make a separate stack for this and as it dries more quickly I leave it for one summer. Once the stacks are dry and ready to burn I bring a little back on every trip to the wood and re-stack it in a timber store by the back door. It means each year I am preparing firewood and stacking it, sometimes two years in advance of its use. It give me a warm glow to know I am ready ! We got through a big stack this winter, with fires every day. I have my wood ready and waiting for 2010, and a newly made stack there drying for the winter of 2011/12.

The only challenge is that I stack where I am coppicing so there sometimes is a long wheelbarrow trudge to move logs to the car, but they say wood warms you twice. I also give firewood away to friends on a come and collect basis and sell about 4/5 cords a year commercially to a guy who takes it away and sells it on as logs. If I did this myself I know it would earn me more cash, but the day job pays better and he has all the gear.

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Postby DaveTaz » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:11 pm

useful website on firewood

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Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:54 am

Postby John H » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:58 pm

I started off by moving the logs on the front of my little Zetor tractor. the system worked well but there was alot of man handling. They were then cut on a McConell sawbench.

In the first photo you can see my old Hesford winch on the back of the Zetor.

John H
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:15 pm

Postby John H » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Here is a photo of the log grab I made up to try an reduce man handling the logs. It looked good but unfortunatley it did not work . It would not grab the logs tight enough so it was back to the drawing board.

In the left hand corner you can see one of the metal shoes concreted in ready for a corner post of the shed.

John H
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:15 pm

Postby John H » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:23 pm

I found the Mcconnel sawbench worked well, but it was just too dificult to split the knotty spruce by hand. So when I spotted the Palax advertised in "The Farmers Guide" and only a couple of miles down the road, I thought it was an opportunaty too good to miss.

Over last summer the logs I had cut did not dry as well as I had hoped, so I did not manage to sell many, well actually none!! I did swop a few loads for some oak and ash butts to saw on the mill. I do how ever feel that firwood is the best way of adding value to the vast quantities of small diameter spruce that needs to be cleared. I always return to Essex with a full load of logs or timber. I should think we burnt about 10 cubic meters last winter. Meghan our old dog started shivering if I didn't lite the fire first thing in the morning.

John H
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Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:15 pm

Postby tracy » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:33 am

We have been using a moisture metre to see how dry our firewood is. It is very interesting!

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Postby woodlander » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:11 pm

Impressive kit John I have a zetor with the same Mconnell saw as yours could do with a new wide belt do you have a source for them? I found a grapple to fit on a 3cx but it's a pain to fit came off one of those scrap timber wagons might be worth a look I was the imposter JohnH now woodlander

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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:57 am

Postby wrekin » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:46 pm

You must need to split/cut a log in half just before using an electronic moisture meter to get a meaningful figure? Measuring the surface moisture content doesn't tell you what's going on in the bulk of the wood (where the most of any moisture will be hiding, lying in wait for when you want it to burn.)

As Tracy's blog says, splitting the wood before drying improves the burning properties (by making the bulk of the wood closer to the surface and therefore more accessible to drying no doubt), so wood must have different moisture contents over depths of inches when months of drying are involved. - Woods, huts, cabins, sheds, forestry
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