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..
This portable winch is a must have for an off-grid dweller or off-road explorer. It’s set up to work off a trailer hitch, 12 volt car battery and has a pulling rate of 2000lbs. Picked up last year, on sale, for only $79 dollars (regular $129.99).
The project I needed it for was to move some large logs a distance of 50 feet and up a hill at our off grid cabin. Decided to try the “Winch-in-a-bag”. Since I didn’t have a trailer hitch, I had change the mount for my application. Used a come-a-long hand winch anchored to a tree and the other hook through the trailer hitch base plate. Found a wooden box used for hauling wood scraps and put the winch on it to keep it out of the dirt.
The winch comes with a 30-foot cable, but I still had another 20 feet to go to reach the logs. Found a heavy-duty ratchet and strap in the workshop and used that to snag the logs.
It worked quite well. Had no problem pulling the logs up and didn’t see any safety concerns.
This video covers the typical “To Do List” for someone who owns or maintains a cabin/cottage off grid. You can make plans, but when you finally set foot on the property, you soon discover there’s a lot more that needs to be done. The hardest thing is to stay focused and finish the job you started.
The long weekends have always been the cottage or cabin season opener. That’s when the ice has finally melted and moved off the lake. Most of the snow is gone and the recreational home is prepared for the summer. Lucky for me, a bunch of pals offered to give a hand and make this transition much easier.
Check out the Facebook page for updates https://www.facebook.com/cedarworkshop
Music credit: Drop and Roll, by Silent Partner
The project for the weekend was to build an outside fire to warm some pieces of wood splitting equipment. The equipment runs off of hydraulics and the fluid needed to be thawed out. The logs could be split by hand, but they are over 24″ in diameter and the wood splitter would make the task so much easier. Plus, with the monster generator running, I could charge the deep cycle batteries at the same time.
Now one may criticize me for not having enough firewood and why make the effort to search for logs under the snow? I do in fact have great wood for firewood. It’s nice cut and perfectly dried hardwood firewood, but, this particular firewood has been reserved for only the indoor wood stove. Unlike the Pine, the mix of Maple and Birch hardwood firewood give really high BTU’s and long, clean burn time. So, I don’t want to waste the good wood for outside fire. I guess it stems back to my woodworking hoarding days, where you want to save the perfect piece of birds eye lumber for the supreme project.
Back in the summer, when my folks came out and we had cut down 5 standing dead Pine trees. Each tree was cut into lengths and piled in a log cabin style. This type of wood was ideal for an outdoor fire. The only catch was the 4 to 6 foot long logs needed to be hauled a short distance. Plus, it was wicked cold outside, minus -27 degrees celsius without the wind chill. The whole process took 4 times longer than planned. As many people may already know, doing anything outside when its bitter cold is difficult. Aside from the fear of freezing your fingers and toes, the amount of clothes you have worn makes movement cumbersome. I would dress in 4 layers of clothing for legs and 4 layers on torso. When comes to simple tasks, like chopping wood or using a hammer, it’s easy to make mistakes. It feels like you are the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.
After some complaining to the neighbors about the cold, I’m told that -27 degrees Celsius (-16 degrees Fahrenheit) in February is nothing. Normally, it get down to -40° C at night. (I stopped complaining and sucked it up.) I guess on the flip side, cold nights are good, because it will kill off the Mountain Pine Beetle. This small beetle has killed all the healthy Lodgepole Pine trees in North West Canada.
Anyway, back to transporting logs. A YouTube viewer made a comment that he/she doubts the “cheap plastic sled” could transport logs. The sled I used was from Pelican. This company makes cases for photographers, kayaks, paddle boards, canoes and awesome utility sleds. There was five different sizes of utility sleds for transporting cargo. The model I use was called the Mega Utility Glider. Picked up from Home Hardware for around $25.00. The rope limits the use for pulling. You have to worry about drawing down on you when going down a hill. A draw bar works better for control. But, for the money, it works great and can even be used for sledding down hills.
So this video was made to show how the logs are loaded into the sled. There is a few more parts to show, but, since most of my viewers can’t watch more that 1:30, it will be in the next video. Thanks for watching.
Note: This is a fill in story/video while I’m off to Disneyland for a few days. This was day 2 of the three-part series. The first is finished, but I’m having a problem with the audio sync. Should have it finished soon.