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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The sound of summer



There's a common summer sound here in the rural north: chainsaws. Winter's coming. It's always coming. Wood heat is a popular way to survive the cold around here. There's comfort in a large well seasoned pile of cut and split wood. It's better than money in the bank.

Your average house will use at least a minimum of 5 or 6 cords of wood. That's a lot of chainsaw work. Very few people get their wood delivered cut and split. Even if wood's delivered, it's often in 4 foot, 8 foot, or even longer lengths. It seems that every other house in town owns at least one chainsaw.

I've cut cords of wood with handsaws. While it can be done it's a physical work out. Once cut it still needs to be split. I actually enjoy splitting wood with an ax or splitting maul. However, when I've got a huge pile to split I borrow a hydraulic wood splitter. Life is too short to mess around with that forever.

I've got a problem with chainsaws. Due to lung damage when I was a firefighter I've got a hard time with the gasoline fumes. That's one reason I own some good handsaws. The logs are generally only cut short enough to where I can drag them to the house. Once there they are cut to stove length using an electric chainsaw. This year I've added a cordless chainsaw to my tool kit. It's been really useful. No starting problems, light weight, and can easily cut up a few 10 inch diameter trees on a single charge.

I'm only bothering with a cord or so of firewood, all cut from my land. The local Tractor Supply had a summer sale on pressed sawdust blocks. Those burn really will in my woodstoves so I put down a deposit on a pallet, which is about a ton and a quarter of blocks.

In addition I'm getting a minimum order of heating oil. It the last few years I haven't bothered buying heating oil. Last spring I burned 30 gallons of off road diesel in the furnace to take the chill out of the place when we got back from Florida. Having the oil furnace as backup will be handy. We don't have anyone to feed the woodstove when we are away. It got pretty darn cold in the house if we were away overnight. Then it would take a day or two to get the house up to temperature.

My main plan to deal with winter cold is to avoid most of it. We'll shut down and drain the house plumbing in December and head south for the rest of the winter. Hanging around the Florida Keys in a sailboat beats the heck out of digging firewood out from under snow piles.

-Sixbears

10 comments:

  1. I have a slam bar that I use to split wood. And I do have some wood to split. Even though I rarely need it it's always nice to have a backup stack of split wood.

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    1. Better to have it ready than need it and not have it.

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  2. Electric chainsaws are useful. I don't own a cordless, but the 18" Sears Craftsman I've used has worked like a champ. No fussy gasoline engines to deal with, it works as long as you have power.

    Hand saws - I use a 28" Dandy Hand Saw, love that thing. Gives me a good work out too.

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    1. I find the key to an electric chainsaw is to keep it sharp. As long as the chain is in good shape they cut well.

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  3. Hermit's Baby SisJuly 28, 2015 at 8:32 AM

    Sounds like a plan, well in-hand to me, Sixbears. At least we have had (so far) a quiet hurricane season, so no one much down here in the Gulf Coast is even thinking about winter, except in their dreams. Near 100 every day, with humidity - thoughts of firewood and log splitting are not in the conscious realm right now ...

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    1. Winter here is so long that it takes a lot of prep to get by -unless you have a lot of money and can pay for everything.

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  4. I love an electric chain saw .I agree with a sharp chain . Much easier to touchup a chain than rebuild a carb on a gas saw. I added to my wood pile Sunday a man asked if I wanted a oak that had fell in his yard

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    1. I love donated wood. The guy gets his yard cleaned up and you get some heat.

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  5. A wood stove gives you lots of heat. You get heat when you cut the wood, you get heat when you stack the wood, you get heat when you carry it into the house, you get heat when you toss it into the stove, and of course it gives you heat when you burn it.

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    1. My chainsaw work just now gave me some extra heat -on an 80 degree day. It's have a nice glass of water time.

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