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Thread: Wood Stoves

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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Jeff is out of his mind right now. A cherry log that big? Never happens. It drives me insane to see a big tree in my neighborhood go down and the "tree surgeons" have no thought of saving saw logs.

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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    Jeff is out of his mind right now. A cherry log that big? Never happens. It drives me insane to see a big tree in my neighborhood go down and the "tree surgeons" have no thought of saving saw logs.
    You said it. Broke my heart to see that tree on the ground. It was huge. But now, most of that tree has been milled into planks for furniture and is drying in Jeff’s workshop (garage,) some is aging as firewood next to our garage and the base of the tree and root ball will be used by a colleague of Jeff’s who turns wooden bowls. Admittedly a fallen tree has a role in replenishing the soil nutrients, but it is also a nice way to honor a great old tree by crafting a creative product.

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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Quote Originally Posted by Bewheels View Post
    Jorn - This cannot be a real photo of a living space. Where is all the stuff randomly covering surfaces (tables, chairs, floor)? This looks like the cover of a scandinavian home and garden magazine cover. Post a photo of this same room perspective during mud season.
    Well we don’t have much extra stuff here. And we have many more closets and cupboards than we can fill, even in the kitchen. How we planned it. Plus a super nice Miele vacuum, a fancy robot vacuum and two 4x6 industrial entry carpets from Grainger, one outside and one inside the front door. Oh and no shoes allowed in the house. That cuts down on a lot of stuff. Plus no kids and no dogs. I am often the dirtiest thing in the house and usually that’s just because I am bleeding from something stupid I did outside.

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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Explain me this -

    We have a lot of dead ash on the property. Not a unique situation. The gardeners cut down several trees, and my friend Jeff and I split it into firewood. The other day I was poking around, and I found a nice ash log lying on the ground. 8-10" in diameter. It looked horribly rotten, so I gave it a stomp to see if it compressed and nearly broke my foot. So I peel the bark off and cut out a wedge, and the wood was really nice. Solid, dry, etc. I shaved the rest of the bark off a 10' section and cut the trunk into logs, then split it. Except for a couple knots, the wood split perfectly and made that nice "clink" ceramic sound when it hit the ground. Not rotten at all. Just dry.

    Meanwhile I have a downed sugar maple that I limbed for kindling, but when I got to the trunk, it was a fungus festival. Splits, punky wood, wet streaks inside. The limbs were perfect, but the trunk seemed like it would be a mess to burn.

    The ash could have been on the ground over 2 years. The maple was there for about one and a half. Is that just the randomness of fungus or does maple rot quicker on the ground than ash? Or am I fooling myself that the ash I split was actually good? I haven't burned any of it, because I approached it mostly as a "let's see what we have" experiment. It is still sitting in the wheelbarrow.
    Last edited by j44ke; 11-17-2020 at 01:26 PM.
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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    This is an unscientific reply.

    Hard maple is a closed-grain hardwood and takes a good year or more to dry well. I've split a large tree- maybe 4' at the butt- and I don't expect to burn it till next winter maybe. It's already in a crib. Red Oak likewise. Moisture doesn't come out of these quickly. Beech, Birch also. If you cut a piece of Red Oak you can sip water through it.

    Ash is open-grain. Not rot resistant. I cut some standing more or less dead trees this summer and it could burn immediately- traded it to a friend who makes bread in a wood-fired oven. It depends on ground contact how quickly either will rot, but Ash is basically burnable when green.

    Cherry is rot-resistant. The sills of my house are Cherry 8x8's.

    Soft Maple seems to turn really quickly unless you split it. In the log it degrades quickly.

    If a piece of wood makes that sound like a bat hitting a homer I figure it's ready to burn. Certainly worth trying. Sometimes wood will sizzle awhile even after it's been dried. Seems like atmospheric moisture can get into it.
    Jay Dwight

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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    That makes sense. The maple was big enough that some branches were good sized. So I've been burning them mostly to heat up the box. Then when it gets nice and hot, I put in one or two larger ash splits and let them cook. By the time we go to bed, it is just a string of glowing coals. I am wondering if that maple has been on the ground longer than I remember.

    Jeff is coming back this weekend to get the base of the old cherry and root ball for his bowl-turning colleague. He's going to cut 3 dead ash up while he's here. I'm now hand splitting everything, so that will give me something to do afterwards.
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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Ash is brilliant for splitting by hand. Sugar Maple and Oak too. Soft Maple is a bit less easy to split, depending on how straight the grain is. Cherry can be difficult if it's curly and stringy. If you find the piece not splitting easily, flip the piece over.

    It's best to at least cut a tree into rounds rather than leaving it in log form, even on bunks off the ground. Birch and beech seem to degrade inside the bark. Yellow Birch bark is a great fire-starter.

    Google the BTU values of various woods, just as a reference.

    Locust is about the best: you can leave it for a decade and it still makes great firewood. It makes for nasty splinters, though.
    Jay Dwight

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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Doing things the hard way. The timber jack makes things A LOT easier, though this is relative as the saw is a real workout. But hey, I need all the upper body exercise I can get. I am still amazed at how rotten the bark on an ash can be and how solid the wood inside is. Also how difficult a few knots can make splitting a section. My axe was supposed to be a Fiskars splitting axe, and it does work for splitting about 80% of the time, but get something with a few knots buried in it and I'm reduced to whittling.

    Ah well, I'm having fun keeping the pile going. And learning a lot about wood. Maybe I'll look for a better splitting axe.

    Last edited by j44ke; 11-25-2020 at 07:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Doing things the hard way. The timber jack makes things A LOT easier, though this is relative as the saw is a real workout. But hey, I need all the upper body exercise I can get. I am still amazed at how rotten the bark on an ash can be and how solid the wood inside is. Also how difficult a few knots can make splitting a section. My axe was supposed to be a Fiskars splitting axe, and it does work for splitting about 80% of the time, but get something with a few knots buried in it and I'm reduced to whittling.

    Ah well, I'm having fun keeping the pile going. And learning a lot about wood. Maybe I'll look for a better splitting axe.
    I've had the Fiskers X27 for ten-ish years, and it's pretty good for what it is.

    I think I mentioned elsewhere that last spring I picked up a Gränsfors Bruk splitting maul, and I've been very happy with it. If you're fighting knots, you might want a heavier head than the X27.





    It's been a chilly fall here, and we've been home a lot. We've gone through about 2/3 of a cord of birch and ash so far.


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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Quote Originally Posted by caleb View Post
    I've had the Fiskers X27 for ten-ish years, and it's pretty good for what it is.

    I think I mentioned elsewhere that last spring I picked up a Gränsfors Bruk splitting maul, and I've been very happy with it. If you're fighting knots, you might want a heavier head than the X27.

    It's been a chilly fall here, and we've been home a lot. We've gone through about 2/3 of a cord of birch and ash so far.
    I was just looking at axe heads, and while I thought I was getting this:



    I somehow ended up with this:



    which works for most things, but it doesn't work well in knotted wood. Just gets stuck every other swing. So it might improve my efforts just getting the right axe in the first place. I really like that Gansfors Bruk maul but practice - and an actual splitting axe - might be what I need, as good looking as those mauls are.

    Great fire. I'm learning about that too. I was feeling proud of myself tonight after several nights of good fires, and then I choked the fire tonight by overloading after having gotten everything hot and a nice bed of coals. It is back now, but it took some coaxing.

    Always be learning.
    Last edited by j44ke; 11-25-2020 at 10:22 PM.
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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    [and now, in my third thread this week I sing the praises of kit made before I was]

    I picked up one of these beaut's, a 12 pound monster maul, before we moved to the condo and am happy I held on to it now that I'm splitting wood again. Paired with an eastwing hatchet maul, there's nothing I can't split pretty quickly. I recommend buying one if you have the opportunity.

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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    +1 on the orange monster maul. I only bring it out for the toughest logs because, man, is it heavy!

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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    this is what the wedges I use look like:

    https://www.gransforsbruk.com/en/pro...litting-wedge/

    None of the mauls I use, all purchased at tag and farm sales, could be driven into a round and stick. That is the point. They are blunt and fat precisely to pop the round. The handles are readily available and easily replaced, and none cost more than $10.
    Jay Dwight

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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Yesterday I re-did the 5” round stove pipe on our little Jotul. When I installed it last year I spent so much time getting the thimble detail right I didn’t notice that I put the elbow on backwards. Said “screw it” and ran the pipe down to the stove with the overlaps facing down (crimped end up). So when it cools and condenses the black goo runs out the joints.

    Like Rudy’s sideburns.

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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    <Snip>

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    So it might improve my efforts just getting the right axe in the first place. I really like that Gansfors Bruk maul but practice - and an actual splitting axe - might be what I need, as good looking as those mauls are.
    Honestly, depending on the size of the round you're tackling, sometimes you just need to go wedge and sledge too knock them into quarters, and then you can go after it with a splitting maul. Gansfors Bruk makes nice kit - the metal guard below the head is clutch. I have one of their hatchets for small work and making kindling out of chord wood in a pinch which there's too much snow and we've run out of kindling. Good wooden handles however resonate way less than fiberglass/composite and add to the overall heft. Most of the work is actually in the technique of the swing however, with that nice snap at the end of the swing. For really tough rounds, I've taken to making 1-2 cuts with my chainsaw perpendicular to the face about 1-2" deep to tap a wedge in place. Then one swing with a sledge and its knocked in two and then 4.



    This took some time once I got to the trunk which was a good 7-8000 lbs and about 30" in diameter. Those rounds bucked were just stupid hard to split since it was Beech. It was a shame but it had to come down with the proximity to our house and the fact that it had Beech Bark Canker.



    Barely starting to make a dent. (I split everything with a splitter for the record - hand work is just getting it down to size).



    Our buddy Kyle is a top notch human.

    Last edited by fortyfour; 11-26-2020 at 10:55 AM.
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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Yeah, chainsaw is inevitable even though right now I am actually enjoying my hand saws. The big Silky Katana is amazing. But while I am definitely getting in better shape, the time factor is not conducive to get other things done.

    I still can't get over the size of that beech. And the incredible job felling it that Kyle did without crushing the house.
    Last edited by j44ke; 11-26-2020 at 11:05 AM.
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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Yeah, chainsaw is inevitable even though right now I am actually enjoying my hand saws. The big Silky Katana is amazing. But while I am definitely getting in better shape, the time factor is not conducive to get other things done.

    I still can't get over the size of that beech. And the incredible job felling it that Kyle did without crushing the house.
    Yeah, at some point, time becomes a huge factor. With chainsaw 2 weeks ago, I felled, limbed, bucked and stacked 2 trees and had the rest of the day ahead of me and it wasn't even close to lunch time. There's specific tasks that makes sense for handwork, but over time, that repetitive motion/hand work can start getting to the shoulders, wrists, elbows and hands. Tennis elbow is real...

    Kyle and his small crew made quick work of our Beech. Pretty world class. It was really interesting to watch them work as a team and see how they took the tree apart. Kyle is rigged up in the tree with climbing rope and harness, then used a series of ropes, zip lines, anchors, and winches with two other crew members on the ground to create controlled falls of the limbs he was parting off the main trunk. The way they felled the trunk was really interesting. It all had to be done really carefully too because that's our leach field down-slope to the left of center.
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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Quote Originally Posted by caleb View Post
    I've had the Fiskers X27 for ten-ish years, and it's pretty good for what it is.

    I think I mentioned elsewhere that last spring I picked up a Gränsfors Bruk splitting maul, and I've been very happy with it. If you're fighting knots, you might want a heavier head than the X27.]
    I've got one of these (the Gränfors Bruk splitting maul) as well as one of their felling axes, recently used to fell two 30" diameter trees that needed to come down on our property. If you've got the coin and inclination, they make a damn fine product..
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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgorman View Post
    [and now, in my third thread this week I sing the praises of kit made before I was]

    I picked up one of these beaut's, a 12 pound monster maul, before we moved to the condo and am happy I held on to it now that I'm splitting wood again. Paired with an eastwing hatchet maul, there's nothing I can't split pretty quickly. I recommend buying one if you have the opportunity.
    It seems like people either love or hate the Monster Maul.

    When I was a kid during the aftermath of the oil embargo, we heated our house entirely with wood, and every piece was split with the Monster Maul. Maybe it's because I was swinging it when I was like 80 pounds, but I don't have fond memories of it.

    However, my dad is almost 70 and still heats his shop with wood. He still splits every piece with the old Monster Maul.


    @Octave that sounds like an amazing project. I'd love to see some pictures of that process if you have them.

    It seems like there's a significant non-motorized wood cutting crew here: Have any of you guys used a two-person cross-cut saw? They sound pretty impressive, but I've never used one.

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    Default Re: Wood Stoves

    Quote Originally Posted by fortyfour View Post
    For really tough rounds, I've taken to making 1-2 cuts with my chainsaw perpendicular to the face about 1-2" deep to tap a wedge in place. Then one swing with a sledge and its knocked in two and then 4.
    Yes, I agree, and sometimes I'll just noodle the nasty stuff with the saw, although keeping the round secure can sometimes take some doing.

    My other favorite option for the really nasty stuff is to leave it in the woods to fertilize the soil. Knocking off splits in a single swing is gratifying exercise. I don't find bouncing off knots nearly as fun, although those nasty pieces do make some nice overnight logs.

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