The solar firewood dryer project needed more wood before it was to be closed up. Had a few hours on the weekend to split some of the large logs. The large pile of Western Red Cedar logs under our deck was an eyesore and getting in the way. Since it was raining like crazy, had to set up the Ryobi 7-ton electric splitter under the covered deck. Not a lot of room to work, but it had to do. T
The wood at the top of the stack was easy enough to maneuver onto the splitter, but as we got closer to the bottom, the logs didn’t have time to dry much. Had to be really careful and not put my back out lifting the logs.
The first part of this project takes place at our full-time home in the suburbs. We are located on the west coast of Canada, just above Seattle, WA. It’s the only part of Canada that receives very little snow in the winter. The downside, rain, lots of cold rain and high humidity. Anything that is not covered gets just soaked from the pouring rain. Storage was always an issue, our lot is not very big and land is very expensive. You have to make do with what you have.
The goal was to enclose the split firewood inside a tent made from heavy-duty plastic.
With the aid of the sun beating down on the enclosure, it will heat up like a greenhouse and dry the firewood faster.
The firewood sits on 4′ x 4′ pallets found free off craigslist.org. I like to have firewood off the ground. It prevents water wicking, improves air flow and dries the wood faster. I plan to leave a 3″ gap in the bottom for air flow in and a gap in the top to let the moist air out.
I try to find spots to cram firewood to dry. Under tarps, next to the house and the shed. The best spot, was under the deck and stairs for the second story kitchen. Most of the 9′ x 12′ space was used for my spouses wedding stuff, but I have managed to store some large cedar rounds for drying. The split firewood is neatly stacked under the stairs. It’s a good spot, gets good afternoon sun and it protected from the occasional west coast rain squalls.
The structure for the solar firewood dryer has to be lightweight and temporary. It was made from materials repurposed from other projects. It’s a basic, rectangle frame from 1″ x 4″s. Eight feet long by four feet wide. 1″ x 2″ Strapping was screwed and glued every 12″ and ran the overall length. Since it was to be screwed into the existing stairs, the overall weight had to be light. I had made a previous design out of 2″ x 6″ x 12′ lumber and it was really heavy to move into place. The roof and walls will be covered by 6 mil vapour barrier plastic. The budget for this project was $50. If the canopy does it’s job, I would use it as a prototype for our off-grid property in the mountains. The roof would have to be reinforced for snow load or just construct it in the springtime.
If the canopy does the job, I will be a prototype for firewood at our off-grid property in the mountains.
The next step is to secure the plastic to the walls, create an air intake and an outtake at the top. Then add a thermostat and take a moisture reading of the wood.
Thanks for stopping by and another video will be in the works for the spring..
Whenever I head back home to the suburbs I drive around the neighbourhood or look online for free firewood. It’s a win-win scenario. I don’t have to worry about cutting a tree down or wasting money on gas for a chainsaw and the homeowner doesn’t pay to have the wood disposed of at the green waste dump.
Go online to Craigslist or Kijiji type in “firewood” in the Free section. You will then see a bunch of listings from homeowners advertising free firewood to be picked up. Fire off a quick email and then head down and load up your vehicle. It’s easy. No cutting down trees, no working a chainsaw, no wasting money on fuel and if your lucky, you might find a hardwood like Maple, Alder or Oak. When properly dried, hardwoods burn hot. If you have a truck or trailer it makes everything so much easier.
Thanks for watching!
Music credit: YouTube Audio Library Title: Grange Party Authors: Huma-Huma
With fall approaching now is a good time to get chainsaws tuned up and ready. Thought I would take another stab at getting the STIHL 0011 AVT arborist chainsaw working. Really like the small chainsaw. You can use it for an hour and it doesn’t tire you out. the power to weight ratio was excellent. The originally came from a neighbor that I had helped move. It started up just fine after sitting for a few years in his storage shed. I used it for 2 years and it then just stopped running. It would start and then just bog out.
The first thing I did was take it to an STIHL dealer. The staff was helpful and polite, but the service person comments the fix would cost more than what the saw was worth. This was a real blow. I really like this saw, but to be turned away from a certified STIHL dealership? Geez!
Well, there is always a bright side. Make a video, post it on YouTube and maybe on of the viewers can offer a hand. First video found here: https://youtu.be/H7dTAQEDu5w
In this video, the fuel filter was removed from the fuel tank. Used a forsnips to extract the fuel line and car remove the filter. Also take a look at the exhaust port and the route for spark plug wire.
Getting firewood isn’t exciting for most people. It’s the dreaded chore when camping or going out in the middle of the night. But, if you’re living off the grid it’s necessary for for heat. For me, I like working on a firewood. It’s a process. Seeking the perfect, dry log, cutting and then stacking in an orderly fashion. I can then stand back and see the accomplishment… it’s quite gratifying.
The process of fire would starts with cutting up a tree into 5 – 8-foot long logs. The logs are transported to a central work area. The logs are placed into a cradle called a sawbuck. A sawbuck is a special kind of sawhorse framed for holding rough wood so it can be sawed into lengths suitable for use in a wood stove. The logs are cut into 20-inch long pieces, called rounds. The rounds are now ready to be split. Split firewood dries faster than whole logs. Dry wood produces more BTUs and cuts down on creosote chimney fires. The wood should be seasoned for at least 1 year, but 2 years is best. I like to choose trees that are already dead. It makes them lighter to move and it speeds up the process of drying. The log piles are in certain places around the property where they are exposed to the greatest amount of sunlight. Covering the piles with clear polyurethane tarps helps too. Creates a solar kiln.
Before the wood can be stacked, I place a couple of runners down on the ground to keep the firewood off the ground. It also increases the air circulation and keeps the bugs. As I mentioned above, the stacks are laid out to get the most sunlight. Also, if used efficiently, the stacks of firewood make a rustic, privacy screen for your neighbours. It hides all the piles of crap.
Everyone in my work crew took their turn on operating the Ryobi electric splitter, carrying logs and stacking wood. I prefer the Ryobi splitter over swinging an axe. There is less chance of hurting yourself (or others) and it takes a lot less energy to split many logs. Since we don’t have a big enough solar system, the splitter was power by a 6500-watt gas generator. The splitter needs at least 14 amps to run. My neighbour sold me their old one for $100.00, but they can be found new for $299. It’s one of the few tools that will totally recommend to the rural homeowner.
The video below is a time-lapse of 7 hours converted into 1 minutes and 22 seconds. The whole family helped with the firewood prep for next year. By all us working together as a team, it transformed a 3-day project into 7 hours.