Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting Ready for Winter

Piles of wood started sprouting in front of country houses sometime in April. First it was a pile of logs, and then a second pile of split wood started growing next to the first one. I've seen it in front of so many houses that it's clear that this is the way it's done. Make winter wood in the spring.
I had planned on renting a splitter, but they rent for about $100 for 24 hours, so I realized I'd be better off buying one, for all the years I plan to use my own wood for heating. This one got good reviews online, so now one sits by my front door, still in the box.
I have many (like 20-40) trees down from the excavator sitting a little ways uphill from the house. The next step is to use the chainsaw to cut the logs, bring them down to the house and then try out this baby. I found a reference piece online from the University of New Hampshire on estimating firewood from standing trees. At 9 inches diameter, 6 trees make a cord and at 8 inches, 8 trees make a cord. Using this reference, I think I have 3-6 cords down waiting to be cut, plus the 2 cords I'm taking out of my basement. Plus the 16 big pine and spruce trees 13-18 inches diameter. (Hopefully I'll use the Red Pine trees for flooring.)
I think I used about 2 cords last winter, so this should be enough wood for several years. I've heard that 2-year old wood is the best wood for burning. What I don't know is if I should cut and split it all and let it age, or if it's better to to leave it unsplit for aging. Also, if 2-year old wood is good is 3-year or 4-year old wood better?


  1. Your wood will definitely dry faster and better after it is split. (This is assuming, of course, that you have it under cover where all wood needs to be to dry properly.) Unsplit wood will often turn punky (giving you many less BTUs when burning) if left outside in the elements. Covered unsplit wood will take just that much longer to dry, compared with split wood.

    Your cut and split wood at 2 years of age (covered, not left out in the elements) will be as dry as it will ever get so keeping it for a couple more years just to make it "drier" won't gain you anything.

    Hope that doesn't sound too bossy . . . just knowledge we've gained from many years of burning wood.

  2. That's really helpful! Now I know what I need to do, which is always good. After I cut and split - I need to fix the roof on the woodshed! It leaks now.