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Preparing for winter

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default Preparing for winter

Post by Chilli-head on 9th September 2012, 8:15 pm

Having cut down a tree today, I started to re-arrange my wood piles. Split up some oak which was felled and sawn to length over two years ago; it still looks a lot wetter inside than I would like.

I've decided that a bow saw really isn't the way forward for sawing logs - hard work and tracks so badly that I can't stand the logs up properly for splitting(*). So a one man cross cut saw from Thomas Flinn is definitely going on my Christmas list. I'm scared of chainsaws Embarassed

(*) I know bow saws can work well, but not the sort that cost a fiver from Screwfix !
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Post by freebird on 9th September 2012, 9:26 pm

And we've been offered an oak tree! It's been fallen for about four years and some bits cut already. As we are in the process of installing a wood burning boiler stove, it's too good an offer to turn up. The only trouble is that as well as being a vast amount of work, it is 63 miles from where we live. We have a car the size of a peanut with a trailer we use for our camping stuff. So we have to work out how we can deal with it and get it back here as cheaply as possible.
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Post by Dandelion on 10th September 2012, 5:54 pm

That's a tricky one FB - have you got a friend with a chainsaw to start with? That was what we had to come up with when we felled a tree in the garden - but we didn't than have to transport the wood. What a great thing to have been given though.
Mr D uses a grenade to split logs, which has made life a bit easier. And we have two bow saws, one each - if I say (as one is smaller than the other) 'his and hers' I'll just duck as you throw things!!!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by freebird on 10th September 2012, 8:42 pm

Dandelion wrote:That's a tricky one FB - have you got a friend with a chainsaw to start with? That was what we had to come up with when we felled a tree in the garden - but we didn't than have to transport the wood. What a great thing to have been given though.
Mr D uses a grenade to split logs, which has made life a bit easier. And we have two bow saws, one each - if I say (as one is smaller than the other) 'his and hers' I'll just duck as you throw things!!!

We do actually have a chainsaw. Back in the spring our neighbours felled several enormous trees in their garden. We were allowed the wood provided we cleared it. It's not so much the tree sawing as making the best use of our time, money and energy, faced with a 126 mile round trip each time. We are considering taking the car & trailer, and camping on site for a working weekend, in which we just prepare the wood into moveable sized chunks, then hire a large vehicle for a single day to move it all.

And I can assure you, Dandelion, I have no issues with 'his and hers'. He is 17+ stone and 6', and I am 8 stone something and 5'3". I'm a big believer in the tool fitting the user. I do draw the line, though, at sledgehammers with flowery handles, and pink fluffy ear defenders!
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Post by Chilli-head on 11th September 2012, 9:27 am

freebird wrote:We are considering taking the car & trailer, and camping on site for a working weekend, in which we just prepare the wood into moveable sized chunks, then hire a large vehicle for a single day to move it all.

How big is this oak tree ? 63 miles seems like a long way for firewood; if it is a big enough tree to be worth the while, it's a shame it wasn't planked for some higher grade use. Getting good cabinet making oak is proving quite a struggle. Still, if it's worth traveling for, it should keep you warm for a while. It is quite heavy stuff though, and although it may have been down for 4 years, it won't necessarily have dried as thoroughly if it has been sitting more or less intact. For wood which has been sawn into planks, a year per inch of thickness it normally needed. Good luck !
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Post by freebird on 11th September 2012, 10:29 am

Chilli-head wrote:
How big is this oak tree ? 63 miles seems like a long way for firewood; if it is a big enough tree to be worth the while, it's a shame it wasn't planked for some higher grade use. Getting good cabinet making oak is proving quite a struggle.

Yes I agree - we are also considering passing it up completely. We were on the verge of doing that, and I just looked online at the cost of bought logs. A cubic metre of some tatty old softwood offcuts is £59 - more like £150 for seasoned hardwood logs. We brought back some ready sawn bits from our reconnaissance trip at the weekend - about 1 1/3 cubic metres in our trailer, for the price of our car fuel, so £17. It put it into a different perspective. It certainly won't be free fuel, but may still be worth doing.

I completely agree about it being a shame that it wasn't put to better use. It possibly could be, even now. My knowledge of wood is very little, and I really don't know if the tree is in a good enough state.
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Post by Dandelion on 12th September 2012, 4:25 pm

freebird wrote:


I do draw the line, though, at sledgehammers with flowery handles,
and pink fluffy ear defenders!

Do you mean I should take them back to Claire's Accessories?? Rolling Eyes

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head on 1st October 2012, 10:24 am

I've had a busy weekend. I started to split some logs that I got from the local tree surgeon (who seems to have mislaid his axe - they used to come already split ..)

I quickly realised that I had a space crisis, so built a new small woodstore - big enough to comfortably hold a builder's dumpy bag of wood. I was quite pleased to be able to make it entirely from skip wood, and an offcut of polycarbonate roofing sheet I had lurking in the garage. A quick lick of cuprinol, and it even passes the DW aesthetic approval. Now, I know Cuprinol might not be the greenest timber treatment, but I had an old can from my less environmentally conscious days. I figured that, now it's been made, the greenest way to dispose of it is to put it to good use !

This is the second store of this type; I think that the clear polycarbonate roof, whilst not looking so nice as wooden shingles or something, does let the sun in and speed drying.

Whilst sorting through the logs I picked out some bits of cherry, which I used on the pole lathe on Sunday. It turned very nicely - so I suspect it will be a good while before it is dry enough to burn.
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Post by Dandelion on 1st October 2012, 5:31 pm

As I type Mr D is barrowing the newly arrived logs from the front garden to the back. This time of year is always a time to wonder what the winter will throw at us.
CH, the idea of polycarbonate offcuts for a log store roof is brilliant. Mr D took a panel or two of corrugated iron off his shed roof this summer and replaced it with polycarbonate - it has transformed it from a dark cold spider hotel to a much warmer place to work. (Painting the interior white helped as well!) Will see if we still have the offcuts to do something creative with to keep the rain off the wood - it would be much more efficient than the tarp we use.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head on 25th January 2013, 2:40 pm

Well, we are well into winter now, and I am in my usual predicament. I have a nice big pile of wood - a mix of eucalyptus, hawthorn, cherry, conifer - none of which is dry enough to burn yet. Why does what looks like a good pile of logs always run out shortly after Christmas ?

Anyway, I checked out a possible new log source this morning, and a nice experience it was. He showed me his woodpiles, his log spliter, and gave me a bucket of logs to try as a free sample, with no hard sell. Very promising.
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Post by Chilli-head on 4th July 2013, 9:14 pm

Spring planting finally over, my mind now is turning to autumn, and being ready for the burning season. I don't want to be caught out without enough dry wood to last past Christmas again. Moved all the logs form outside under cover, and ordered another load form the tree surgeon to refill my log stores. I've also found a good source of scrap pallets for kindling - I need to break some down at the weekend to free up the garage ...

I've also been eyeing up some of my apple trees. Neither very productive, or particularly great apples. Their days may be numbered.
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Post by Dandelion on 5th July 2013, 4:59 pm

Although I hate the idea of it ever being winter again (!) we've also been collecting wood. Mr D has his eye on a pallet or two which have been stored at school (we just need the site manager to remember to get them out for us) and I also have a stack of old planks of wood which are too decrepit to do anything else with in my shed. Just need the time to chop them up.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head on 18th May 2015, 11:25 am

I've sawn and split two batches of free wood this weekend - the first stuff from clearing up trees left lying on the ground after the building work at the bottom of the allotment. The second lot were rounds of beech from a friend, who passed them to me because they were hard work to spilt. He was not wrong ! A good hour with the sledge hammer and wood grenade sorted them though. One more lot to collect from another friend, and with the leftovers from the mild winter we've just had I should be all set for the next one Smile
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Post by Ploshkin on 18th May 2015, 11:39 am

What's a wood grenade CH? Is it what I would call a wedge.
We take the easy route, a hydraulic log splitter on the tractor but we do use a lot of firewood over a year. We've currently got two 40' curtainsider trailers filled & wood still to saw & split that will fill one more. It's the first time we have managed to get well ahead of our needs since we installed the boiler 3 years ago.
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Post by Chilli-head on 18th May 2015, 12:29 pm

Gosh you are in a different league to me Ploshkin - we have just the one 5kW stove we use most evenings in winter. We have gas CH, but I set it to turn off early and retreat to the much more convivial warmth of the fire. We tend to get through one transit load of wood per year.

Most of the wood suppliers I have tried supply wet wood but claim it to be seasoned, and also leave it in far too big lumps for my little stove. So I end up further processing it and seasoning it anyway, so for the sort of amount I need I can just about do it all by hand. The "grenade" is a sort of wedge, but it looks a bit like a harpoon head - like this one:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Roughneck-65504-Grenade-Splitting-Wedge/dp/B00002N801

I do have a pair of more ordinary Bacho splitting wedges, but I tend to use them just for green woodwork, not firewood. The grenade is fatter and seems to spilt big logs better - if you don't mind too much exactly where ! It does need serious welly with the sledgehammer though - best not do this on a driveway / patio you want to keep looking nice !
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Post by Chilli-head on 21st October 2015, 12:19 pm

In the middle of bringing in some more logs last night (need a fire to dry the chillies !), I was disturbed by an unexpected knock at the door. It was my allotment neighbour. "Have you been to your allotment today ?" he asked. I braced myself ready to be told we had been vandalised, but no, much better than that. After some woodchip for his allotment paths, he had hailed some council workers cutting down a big pear tree near his home. They said he could have the waste and they'd drop it round to the allotment, if he took all of it, logs included. Knowing I have a stove, he got them to drop the logs at my plot.

I had a look this morning, and I have two piles of pear wood sawn into rounds ready for splitting, that will probably be me sorted for next winter ! And I'm guessing pear will be good for cooking too; I am planning a ξυλόφουρνο (wood burning oven) project in the garden soon.
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Post by Dandelion on 22nd October 2015, 5:31 pm

Is it any good for carving?

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head on 24th October 2015, 1:16 pm

If it stops raining I'll go for a more careful look. I've been waiting for some good wood for treen that will be in contact with food, and fruit wood would be good. I'm not a great carver, but fancy making a bread making bowl, one of those screw type nutcrackers and some more lemon squeezers, which all involve a bit of carving.
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