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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some people may wonder why I would cut and split firewood in the middle of winter. The leaves are off the trees and the weather is cool. What better time to cut some small oak trees, split them and put the firewood up.

I do not have a fireplace. I hope to have one in a few years, but that is in the future. So the firewood is used for cooking, and for outdoor activities here on the farm. It is nice to sit outside in the cool weather and enjoy a fire with friends and family, or just my wife and I.

Here on the farm there are a number of small oak trees that are growing at an angle. I say small, but they are at least six – eight inches in diameter. The trees grow at an angle because the small trees are shaded by larger trees. So the small tree grow at an angle to reach sunlight. They will never be a nice straight mature tree. The best thing to do is to cut them down, split the wood, and use the wood for cooking. Thinning the small trees will help the mature trees grow better.

Early spring will be consumed with gardening, hiking, and hopefully fishing. Rather than taking time away from those activities, let’s cut the firewood while nothing else is going on here at the farm.

Also, cutting the trees are part of fencing in a few acres for livestock. Some of the trees are in the way of the fence-line. Rather than cutting them down and burning the trees, I want to split the wood and use it for cooking. My aunt and uncle have a nice fireplace, so some of the wood will be going to them. Hopefully, very little will go to waste.

Another thing, cutting the wood early allows it to dry all year. This way the wood has almost a full 12 months to dry before being used. Cutting the wood in the summer means it only has a few months to dry.

Splitting Firewood

I use to split firewood with a hammer, wedge and splitting maul. Not anymore. A tractor mounted log splitter was bought for the farm in 2016. What use to take hours to do, now takes a fraction of the time.

The log splitter works with a hydraulic pump that is mounted to the Power Take OFF (PTO) of the tractor. The PTO is a spline that sticks out from the tractor transmission. Engage the transmission to turn the PTO on. From there, it is a matter of moving a lever back and forth to operate the log splitter ram.


When I got the log splitter it needed to hydraulic hoses replaced, which is no big deal. There is a place here in Jasper, Texas that can make make hydraulic hoses while you wait. I took the old hoses off, brought them to the store, and they made some new ones in a matter of minutes.


There is an old fence line here on the farm that I would love to plant some fruit trees on. However, the fence line is overgrown with oak and sweet gum trees. Sweet gum is not good for fireplaces as the wood pops. When it pops, pieces of wood are sometimes thrown from the fireplace.

A few miles from where I live is a family who uses wood burning stoves to heat their home. Since they are always looking for firewood, it would be a win-win situation if they would come over and help cut and split the wood. I would get some help, and they would get free wood. I would probably split the wood with them 50/50. They help cut and split the wood, and in return, they get half and I get half. I think that would be fair.
 

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Psalm 34:4
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My firewood for the next few years comes from the tree that fell on our house this summer.... nice oak that got blown over in a storm, it was on a power line so called in professionals. Had a pecan tree that was looking bad cut down when I had the tree removed from our roof. They cut it all to the proper length for our fireplace and we split it up with an axe, maul and wedge (damnit Kev, I want a splitter now) got about 5 cords of wood out of it all.

The moral of the story... check the trees near your home, building etc... the tree that fell had dropped about a dozen limbs over the last few years, mostly less than 5' diameter and always during storms but we never suspected it would break off at the base and crash down onto our house at 2 am.
 

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patriarch
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No time is any better than the present. I usually cut wood year round if its available.
I like it to be dried a season in advance before burning. Nothing is more satisfying than to see the wood shed completely full. My shed is full! :thumb: It holds enough wood for two years, so I feel like I should be out there cutting.
Presently, I am waiting for tree trimmers to cut a huge hackberry tree damaging my home. I think it will add at least 1-2 years of wood once its cut
& split .
 

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I burn just about every day during the winter, supplementing my geothermal heat, and use about one cord per year to warm my 2500 sq ft ranch.

Isn't the wood usually carrying much less sap and leaves in the winter? I thought that was why most folks cut during that time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Snow is WAY to deep at our BOL to gather/cut firewood in the winter.
But, we get/cut as many as 30 cords in the fall.
The youngsters usually sell 10 or 15 cords to put some cash in their pockets.
WOW!!!

That is a lot of wood, and I am not joking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Isn't the wood usually carrying much less sap and leaves in the winter? I thought that was why most folks cut during that time.
From what I have always heard, the wood has less sap in the winter.
 

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In Memory
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WOW!!!

That is a lot of wood, and I am not joking.
Our isolated 18.86 acre BOL is surrounded by thousands of acres of heavily forested national forest. The road past it dead ends on a Mtn top about 20 miles distant.

Road is unplowed during winter, so no vehicle traffic. (occasional snow-cats)

Winter roadside windfalls alone clearing the road in during spring supply a lot.

Good skills for the youngsters working with winches, cable & sheeve blocks pulling logs to the road. Winch the logs up on a car hauler trailer & haul to BOL to cut/split.

Teaches the young guns strong work ethic & puts several $K in their pockets.

Optimal cut - split - stacked - seasoned firewood is like money in the bank.
 

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I must admit, I usually buy my firewood.

I only need about 3 cords a year even though its my only heat source as my house is small and super insulated.

The local indian tribe sells wood, delivered and split for $150 a cord which is cheap enough that its not worth my time to do it myself.

I do have several chainsaws and wedges etc and have harvested wood in the past...but as much work as it is I save more buying it than I would doing it myself in current conditions.
 

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I used to be a suburban wood burner- even when wood was much cheaper- especially 'scrounged' wood. Eventually it became impractical, but I miss it. And I think of it as a fairly easy conversion in my current house. Still have the old kerosene heater for emergency back-up too.
 

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In Memory
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I tell you what.
On a frosty cold day.
Backing your behind up to a toasty hot wood stove.
Will warm you up quick.

+ wood heat warms you up repeatedly.
1 cutting, loading, 2 splitting, stacking, 3 burning it.
 
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I tell you what.
On a frosty cold day.
Backing your behind up to a toasty hot wood stove.
Will warm you up quick.

+ wood heat warms you up repeatedly.
1 cutting, loading, 2 splitting, stacking, 3 burning it.
^^^^This :thumb:

Our cabin/BOL has a woodstove as the primary heat source. During the winter months, the inside temp is the same as outside when we arrive. There is electric baseboard heat, but that is only on to take the chill off until the woodstove gets going. Can take it from 0-70 degrees in about 90 minutes.
After that you need to regulate to keep it from getting too hot.

Winter is the best time to cut and buck wood. I cut until the snow gets to deep for the 4 wheeler to drag logs through. Our land is heavily wooded and storms last summer took down several large red oak trees. The woodshed is full now, but I don't think there's such a thing as too much wood. Besides the longer it seasons, the hotter and cleaner it burns.

My wife thinks I'm crazy, she's probably right. I'm 62 now and I cut and split by hand and for me it's therapeutic.
 
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