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Most suitable tool for cutting small firewood
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 4281
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikepepler wrote:
RenewableCandy wrote:
21" bowsaw and saw horse here. Loppers for really twiggy bits.

Yesterday I used our 'Truncator' saw horse in anger for the first time, having only done a couple of test runs with it previously to make a video review (which I did in return for getting a discount on it). I reckon it saved me 60-90mins work compared to our previous method of processing logs at the wood, loading them into the trailer and then transferring them to the store at home. The saving was because I brought 2m long logs back from the wood, and after sawing they drop off the Truncator straight into a wheelbarrow - so less bending too.

Here's a pic of it in action:


and if you'd like to watch the (part-paid) video review I made it's here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khv_0l5o6yg
What's your cycle time? As in ready to start the saw on one batch to ready to start the saw on the next. Then How many batches to a cord? Times the cycle time equals time to saw a cord. Of course if your wheel barrowing it and stacking it at the same time you get credit for doing two jobs at once.
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Tarrel



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like you split the logs before sawing them Mike. What did you use to do that? Also, what species are you cutting there? Cheers.
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mikepepler
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VT - I've not timed it properly yet. Tracy was helping, doing the wheelbarrow and stacking while I was loading the next rack of logs. Will set the stopwatch next time.... But looking back at my review video, sawing and wheelbarrow takes just over 1 min, I expect loading the rack again takes 1.5-2 mins, so if you have someone with you stacking then the cycle time might be 3 mins? I didn't count the number of racks it took to process the trailer load either, which was about 1m3 (not sure what that is in cords?). Next time I'll timelapse video it and then I can work all this out later Smile

Tarrel - I use a maul, a sledgehammer and steel wedges to split the logs right after felling - helps them season quicker and is less manual handling than placing sawn logs onto a chopping block. Pics of the process here: http://peplers.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/splitting-chestnut-and-some-chainsaw.html
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool I'd have a hard time getting these onto your rack even cut done to two meters. The loader on the tractor helps pick up the blocks to roll onto the splitter rail.
Edit to add . One cubic meter is 0.276 cord.
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vtsnowedin



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like you are having fun on your woodlot. How large is the lot and how do you plan to thin/ harvest it?
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mikepepler
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our woods are coppice, so the stems are inherently smaller than the ones you have VT. We've got some oak that are big, but they don't get felled very often. The coppice trees are mostly sweet chestnut, with some birch, hornbeam and other odds and ends mixed in.

Coppicing has been done for thousands of years, so it is inherently 'human scale', and can be done with no machinery - though of course a chainsaw and 4x4 + trailer are a welcome addition!

In terms of management plan, so far we've done the following in the winters:
2007/8 coppiced 0.75 acre and thinned 15 oaks in the same area (leaving 15)
2008/9 coppiced ride edges to let more light in (for wildlife) and help tracks stay drier
2009/10 coppiced 0.3 acre, but a more productive patch so a lot of wood from it.
2010/11 coppiced another 0.3 acre, as above
2011/12 cut a new ride in adjacent lot of wood that we were managing for a friend
2012/13 just tidying up a few bits, as we had a mountain of logs left from 2010-12
2013/14 coppiced about 0.25 acre, yielding ~13m3 stacked wood, plenty for a year's heating . Also clearing windblow from storms

Now I know how much I need to cut to heat for a year, it's getting a lot easier to plan, and I can cut what I need plus a bit to sell if I fee like it. No planting is needed as the coppice mostly regrows, and where it doesn't you get natural regeneration from seedlings anyway.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikepepler wrote:
Our woods are coppice, so the stems are inherently smaller than the ones you have VT. We've got some oak that are big, but they don't get felled very often. The coppice trees are mostly sweet chestnut, with some birch, hornbeam and other odds and ends mixed in.

Coppicing has been done for thousands of years, so it is inherently 'human scale', and can be done with no machinery - though of course a chainsaw and 4x4 + trailer are a welcome addition!

In terms of management plan, so far we've done the following in the winters:
2007/8 coppiced 0.75 acre and thinned 15 oaks in the same area (leaving 15)
2008/9 coppiced ride edges to let more light in (for wildlife) and help tracks stay drier
2009/10 coppiced 0.3 acre, but a more productive patch so a lot of wood from it.
2010/11 coppiced another 0.3 acre, as above
2011/12 cut a new ride in adjacent lot of wood that we were managing for a friend
2012/13 just tidying up a few bits, as we had a mountain of logs left from 2010-12
2013/14 coppiced about 0.25 acre, yielding ~13m3 stacked wood, plenty for a year's heating . Also clearing windblow from storms

Now I know how much I need to cut to heat for a year, it's getting a lot easier to plan, and I can cut what I need plus a bit to sell if I fee like it. No planting is needed as the coppice mostly regrows, and where it doesn't you get natural regeneration from seedlings anyway.
Oh I have all types and sizes depending on what land I'm on. Everything from 150 year old mature hardwoods to twenty year old emergent species. (poplar and white birch) growing on land I once grew corn on. At present the major work is cutting out and selling the ash trees while I still can as an insect infestation will soon wipe them out. Other stands will have to wait until I get that cleaned up and can concentrate on how best to manage each acre. Just the blow downs and dead by diseased trees supply the house so I need to market the rest.
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mikepepler
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
What's your cycle time? As in ready to start the saw on one batch to ready to start the saw on the next. Then How many batches to a cord? Times the cycle time equals time to saw a cord. Of course if your wheel barrowing it and stacking it at the same time you get credit for doing two jobs at once.

Hi VT - I took a series of timelapse photos today while processing a ~1m3 trailer load, here's the average times for one person working on their own:
- 60s to load from trailer to truncator
- 50s to saw the logs
- 45s to tip into wheelbarrow
- 110s to stack in wood store

If there's two people working:
- the wheelbarrow bit speeds up
- during sawing the person without the chainsaw has nothing to do
- stacking the logs takes longer than loading, so the person with the saw is left waiting.

So, the cycle time with one person is about 4.5mins, including stacking. With two people, this should drop to about 3mins.

It took me 15 cycles to empty the 1m3 trailer.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikepepler wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
What's your cycle time? As in ready to start the saw on one batch to ready to start the saw on the next. Then How many batches to a cord? Times the cycle time equals time to saw a cord. Of course if your wheel barrowing it and stacking it at the same time you get credit for doing two jobs at once.

Hi VT - I took a series of timelapse photos today while processing a ~1m3 trailer load, here's the average times for one person working on their own:
- 60s to load from trailer to truncator
- 50s to saw the logs
- 45s to tip into wheelbarrow
- 110s to stack in wood store

If there's two people working:
- the wheelbarrow bit speeds up
- during sawing the person without the chainsaw has nothing to do
- stacking the logs takes longer than loading, so the person with the saw is left waiting.

So, the cycle time with one person is about 4.5mins, including stacking. With two people, this should drop to about 3mins.

It took me 15 cycles to empty the 1m3 trailer.
OK so for a one man operation you are using 15 X 4.5 min= 67.5 minutes to cut up a cubic meter. Divide by 0.267 cords to the M^3 comes to 253 minutes to a cord or 4.2 hours so if you don't take too many beer breaks you can cut up and stack two cords in a days work. I'd settle for that and so would the Mrs. as long as she is not compelled to help. I think you will find ways to improve on that as you work through a seasons wood or two. Stay safe as your doing this.
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mikepepler
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
I think you will find ways to improve on that as you work through a seasons wood or two. Stay safe as your doing this.

I've already ordered a bigger wheelbarrow, which will speed up the loading, as the old one we have at home is too small so some logs get dropped occasionally. I'll make a timelapse again when I get the new wheelbarrow and post the video...
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tarrel wrote:
Looks like you split the logs before sawing them Mike. What did you use to do that? Also, what species are you cutting there? Cheers.

Tarrel, you inspired me to make a short video yesterday on how I split the logs in 2m lengths: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCsNmr7mqcQ
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vtsnowedin



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikepepler wrote:
Tarrel wrote:
Looks like you split the logs before sawing them Mike. What did you use to do that? Also, what species are you cutting there? Cheers.

Tarrel, you inspired me to make a short video yesterday on how I split the logs in 2m lengths: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCsNmr7mqcQ
I think that with experience you will switch to cutting to final length before splitting. You only have to over come the strength of the wood fibers in one length of wood while on a two meter log the fibers two or three stove lenght away are resisting your wedges efforts. Here is my wheel barrow. Smile
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I went to Sweden last year I saw a lot of woodpiles, most of which were 1200mm long split silver birch. This was all from close grown birch so that it is straight and knot free and will split easily just like your chestnut, Mike. Unfortunately, ours is not close grown and so is knotty and gnarly and doesn't split easily. We also have a wide variety of woods to use so we invariably cut it to length and then split it as it's far easier and quicker, especially using a tyre on the chopping block.

The tyre on the block makes splitting logs by hand quicker and easier than using an hydraulic splitter. It's a lot quieter too.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
When I went to Sweden last year I saw a lot of woodpiles, most of which were 1200mm long split silver birch. This was all from close grown birch so that it is straight and knot free and will split easily just like your chestnut, Mike. Unfortunately, ours is not close grown and so is knotty and gnarly and doesn't split easily. We also have a wide variety of woods to use so we invariably cut it to length and then split it as it's far easier and quicker, especially using a tyre on the chopping block.

The tyre on the block makes splitting logs by hand quicker and easier than using an hydraulic splitter. It's a lot quieter too.
Yes a tire helps hold small pieces in position that don't want to stand still on their own. As good as that chestnut splits I'd use a four pound ax held a little sideways as I swung it to keep it from lodging in. I've seen four pounders with side cheeks that supply the same side thrust to allow straight on swinging. Of course for my furnace all the wood in Mikes piles would fit in unsplit but the paying customers like it lady-wood sized. (4"x4"x15" max)
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swings and roundabouts... We've been supplying our own logs for home heating for 4 winters now, and supplying other people for a couple of years before that. We've tried it both ways, cutting to length and splitting on a block (though I'd not seen the tyre idea back then), and what we do now, splitting full length and cross-cutting later.

If the logs-in-the-tyre method is used, I can see that removes the big downside of splitting on a block - keeping picking up logs off the ground. I expect that leaves the two methods about equal on time. For us, the choice of method comes down to storage. My reasoning is:

1. The sooner the wood is split or cross-cut, the quicker it will season. Splitting is better than cross cutting at speeding up seasoning, as it opens up more surface area in the wood.

2. If we cross cut (and perhaps split) all our wood immediately after felling, we'd have two problems: First, we tend not to take a vehicle all the way to where we're felling, to avoid trashing the tracks when they're muddy, so we need to store the felled wood near where it's cut - that's harder to do if the wood is cut to final length. Second, even if we did take a vehicle right up to our felling area, we'd still have to find somewhere to store the cross-cut logs in the woods - we only have space to store about 2/3 of a winter's wood at home.

3. I solve the storage problem by storing right where the wood is felled,

Also, 2m length wood fits very nicely in our trailer for transport around the wood and back home - again, longer logs means less handling:

So by splitting it I can start it seasoning where it is, and it's ready to burn after cross-cutting. Also, splitting right after felling (or at least within a week or two) means that the wood splits relatively easily - apart from hornbeam of course!

If I had space for two years' firewood at home, then yes, I may well take the logs home unsplit, and split them after running them through our Truncator. But we don't, hence the current method.

One other upside of keeping them long - we use 15" logs at home (stove will take max 17", so that leaves a bit of leeway), but most other people round here prefer 12", or even 10". Although we burn most of the wood we cut ourselves, we do sell the odd load to other people - by leaving the logs long, I can ask them how long they would like their logs, and then cross-cut my ready-split logs to suit them. I've even been in and measures their stoves when necessary!

Sorry, I seem to have rambled on a bit! Very Happy
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