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.