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Curing and splitting wood for burning



 
 
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  #1  
Old 27-01-2008, 05:26 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening,uk.d-i-y
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Posts: 12
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning

Having had some trees pruned I now have a pile of logs. Cut to length but
will need splitting before I can burn them in the grate. I have Holly and
Willow wood.

Question is do I split them now or wait until they've cured and then split
them? I'm expecting to have to leave them about 2 years to cure unsplit,
would it speed the process if I split them now?

On a related note, I've looked at local and national hire shop web sites but
can't immediately locate a log splitter. I don't expect to have any more
tree logs coming my way for a good few years so hiring seems to make more
sense then spending something like 200 for a splitter (I know you can do it
by hand and I also know that there are splitters for as little as 150).
I'm in "South Somerset" (between
Yeovil/Frome/Wells/Street/Glastonbury/Radstock and, at a push, Bristol,
Bath, Dorchester, Weymouth.).


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  #2  
Old 27-01-2008, 05:42 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening,uk.d-i-y
RW
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Posts: 2
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning


"Graham Harrison" wrote in
message ...
Having had some trees pruned I now have a pile of logs. Cut to length
but will need splitting before I can burn them in the grate. I have
Holly and Willow wood.

Question is do I split them now or wait until they've cured and then split
them? I'm expecting to have to leave them about 2 years to cure unsplit,
would it speed the process if I split them now?

On a related note, I've looked at local and national hire shop web sites
but can't immediately locate a log splitter. I don't expect to have any
more tree logs coming my way for a good few years so hiring seems to make
more sense then spending something like 200 for a splitter (I know you
can do it by hand and I also know that there are splitters for as little
as 150). I'm in "South Somerset" (between
Yeovil/Frome/Wells/Street/Glastonbury/Radstock and, at a push, Bristol,
Bath, Dorchester, Weymouth.).



Perhaps ask a local Tree surgeon to assist, they might have even more logs
if you ask and suggest there is beer involved ;-)



  #3  
Old 27-01-2008, 05:51 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening,uk.d-i-y
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Posts: 1,752
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning


In article ,
"Graham Harrison" writes:
| Having had some trees pruned I now have a pile of logs. Cut to length but
| will need splitting before I can burn them in the grate. I have Holly and
| Willow wood.

Don't bother with the willow - it's trash. It won't keep going until
completely dry, and then it burns to nothing in next to no time.

| Question is do I split them now or wait until they've cured and then split
| them? I'm expecting to have to leave them about 2 years to cure unsplit,
| would it speed the process if I split them now?

Up to you and yes, respectively.

| On a related note, I've looked at local and national hire shop web sites but
| can't immediately locate a log splitter. I don't expect to have any more
| tree logs coming my way for a good few years so hiring seems to make more
| sense then spending something like 200 for a splitter (I know you can do it
| by hand and I also know that there are splitters for as little as 150).

How many tons of wood you you have? You can split wood with a couple
of hand axes, but buying a couple of wedges and a maul or club hammer
will probably cost you less than hiring a functional mechanical device.
Anything that works is likely to be large and heavy.


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.
  #4  
Old 27-01-2008, 06:09 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening,uk.d-i-y
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Posts: 50
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning

Nick Maclaren says...

In article ,
"Graham Harrison" writes:
| Having had some trees pruned I now have a pile of logs. Cut to length but
| will need splitting before I can burn them in the grate. I have Holly and
| Willow wood.

Don't bother with the willow - it's trash. It won't keep going until
completely dry, and then it burns to nothing in next to no time.

| Question is do I split them now or wait until they've cured and then split
| them? I'm expecting to have to leave them about 2 years to cure unsplit,
| would it speed the process if I split them now?

Up to you and yes, respectively.

| On a related note, I've looked at local and national hire shop web sites but
| can't immediately locate a log splitter. I don't expect to have any more
| tree logs coming my way for a good few years so hiring seems to make more
| sense then spending something like 200 for a splitter (I know you can do it
| by hand and I also know that there are splitters for as little as 150).

How many tons of wood you you have? You can split wood with a couple
of hand axes, but buying a couple of wedges and a maul or club hammer
will probably cost you less than hiring a functional mechanical device.
Anything that works is likely to be large and heavy.


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.


Splitting logs by hand is very hard work. If the OP has
tons then this is just not an option. We heat our house
with a log burning stove and the logs arrive pre-split from
the farmer. He has some sort of hydraulic splitter
attachment for the back of his tractor. However, a few slip
though that are too big to get on the fire and splitting by
hand can be extremely difficult, particularly if there are
any knots in the wood.

While it is desirable to let the wood cure for two years it
is not essential depending on the type of wood. We ran out
of logs and the local farmer cut down a tree and brought us
the logs. I'm not sure what type of wood it is (possibly
oak) but we are burning it already (no choice) two weeks
after cutting! They key seems to be to have a very hot fire
initially, then it burns well. So while the fire is at full
heat the next log is put on the fire so it can be drying
ready to burn. This probably isn't the most efficient use
of the wood however, as some of the heat is being wasted
evaporating the moisture out of the logs.
--
David in Normandy
  #5  
Old 27-01-2008, 06:33 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening,uk.d-i-y
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Posts: 1,752
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning


In article ,
David in Normandy writes:
|
| Splitting logs by hand is very hard work. If the OP has
| tons then this is just not an option.

Not usually, it isn't, though it can be. With a suitable wood
(e.g. holly) that is fairly free of major knots, one stroke of
an axe is all that is needed. You don't have to do it all at
once, and it doesn't take long to do a hundredweight.

Some woods and ones with major knots are a different matter,
but I have heard that they are beyond an el cheapo mechanical
splitter, too. Surprise, surprise ....

| We heat our house
| with a log burning stove and the logs arrive pre-split from
| the farmer. He has some sort of hydraulic splitter
| attachment for the back of his tractor.

Those work, on almost all woods. But I doubt the OP is likely
to hire one.

| I'm not sure what type of wood it is (possibly oak) ...

Oak is one of the harder ones to split. Not as bad as yew,
though.


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.
  #6  
Old 27-01-2008, 06:41 PM posted to uk.d-i-y,uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 94
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning

On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 19:09:37 +0100, David in Normandy wrote:

Splitting logs by hand is very hard work.


Hum, if you have a lot to do yes but otherwise it's just a decent bit of
physical effort. Ah I forgot "physical effort" is something the modern
westerner thinks of as going to fridge for another beer to wash down their
microwaved TV dinner...

Use of a proper maul or splitting axe (approx 15 from a shed) will be a
lot better than a hand axe, felling axe or wedges and lump hammer. If the
OP has large diameter logs (10" or so) then a bomb or grenade could be
useful but stuff small should fall apart under a maul without trouble.

Burning "wet" logs, I'd keep an eye on the tar/soot levels in the flue.

--
Cheers
Dave. pam is missing e-mail



  #7  
Old 27-01-2008, 06:55 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening,uk.d-i-y
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Posts: 50
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning

Nick Maclaren says...

In article ,
David in Normandy writes:
|
| Splitting logs by hand is very hard work. If the OP has
| tons then this is just not an option.

Not usually, it isn't, though it can be. With a suitable wood
(e.g. holly) that is fairly free of major knots, one stroke of
an axe is all that is needed. You don't have to do it all at
once, and it doesn't take long to do a hundredweight.

Some woods and ones with major knots are a different matter,
but I have heard that they are beyond an el cheapo mechanical
splitter, too. Surprise, surprise ....

| We heat our house
| with a log burning stove and the logs arrive pre-split from
| the farmer. He has some sort of hydraulic splitter
| attachment for the back of his tractor.

Those work, on almost all woods. But I doubt the OP is likely
to hire one.

| I'm not sure what type of wood it is (possibly oak) ...

Oak is one of the harder ones to split. Not as bad as yew,
though.


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.


I've got a heavy axe to split over-wide logs. Some split
easily as you say, but it is still hard work. I wouldn't
want to do more than a few at a time. Not good for
arthritic joints :-(
Definitely a job for muscular young men.

Wood with knots can be a nightmare. Some "split" logs that
arrive are still joined via fat knots. Such pieces are
virtually unusable.

A few logs also arrive too long to fit the stove. If the
wood is fresh I can just use a bowsaw, or if the wood is
seasoned and hard it is a job for the chainsaw. I tried
chainsawing some really old oak beams and they were so hard
the chainsaw struggled. The wood was smoking hot! Had to
resharpen the teeth afterwards.

Ah the joys of a wood burning stove. No fuss or mess with a
gas boiler. Just set the thermostat and job done. No
messing about stacking logs, bringing them in everyday and
stacking them next to the stove, then the ongoing task of
starting the fire, topping it up and emptying ashes. That
said, watching the real fire often beats watching
television. Something satisfying about watching the flames
licking around the wood and consuming it. The occasional
highlight too when the wood bangs, spits or sparks.

There is a saying in France that you get warmed three times
with wood. The first time cutting it, the second time
stacking it and the third time burning it. How true.
--
David in Normandy
  #8  
Old 27-01-2008, 06:58 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening, uk.d-i-y
Rod
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Posts: 131
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning

On 27 Jan, 17:26, "Graham Harrison"
wrote:
Having had some trees pruned I now have a pile of logs. * Cut to length but
will need splitting before I can burn them in the grate. * I have Holly and
Willow wood.

Question is do I split them now or wait until they've cured and then split
them? * I'm expecting to have to leave them about 2 years to cure unsplit,
would it speed the process if I split them now?

On a related note, I've looked at local and national hire shop web sites but
can't immediately locate a log splitter. * I don't expect to have any more
tree logs coming my way for a good few years so hiring seems to make more
sense then spending something like 200 for a splitter (I know you can do it
by hand and I also know that there are splitters for as little as 150).
I'm in "South Somerset" (between
Yeovil/Frome/Wells/Street/Glastonbury/Radstock and, at a push, Bristol,
Bath, Dorchester, Weymouth.).


The holly will be fine in a year - it's quite oily and is excellent
firewood. I normally split when I'm about to bring it into the house.
Willow isn't great as Nick has already said and will take a while to
dry. Our local machinery rep loaned me various hydraulic log splitters
for the odd weekend here and there 'til he finally got the message
that I was never going to buy one. The wood I could split in a weekend
didn't last long (wood is our sole heating and ho****er supply in a
damp draughty barn of a 4 bedroomed house) and I didn't want to spend
whole weekends splitting - oh and depending on the machine you still
have to lift the logs onto the machine. So I find it more convenient
to split as required using a proper log splitting maul - if two or
three blows don't do it then it's put aside to do with the chainsaw
later.
  #9  
Old 27-01-2008, 07:20 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening, uk.d-i-y
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Posts: 5
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning

On 27 Jan, 17:26, "Graham Harrison"
wrote:
Having had some trees pruned I now have a pile of logs. Cut to length but
will need splitting before I can burn them in the grate. I have Holly and
Willow wood.

Question is do I split them now or wait until they've cured and then split
them? I'm expecting to have to leave them about 2 years to cure unsplit,
would it speed the process if I split them now?

On a related note, I've looked at local and national hire shop web sites but
can't immediately locate a log splitter. I don't expect to have any more
tree logs coming my way for a good few years so hiring seems to make more
sense then spending something like 200 for a splitter (I know you can do it
by hand and I also know that there are splitters for as little as 150).
I'm in "South Somerset" (between
Yeovil/Frome/Wells/Street/Glastonbury/Radstock and, at a push, Bristol,
Bath, Dorchester, Weymouth.).


As others have said, just find somewhere to get rid of the willow - it
is just about the worst wood for a fire there is. Holly I don't know
about but I can't imagine you've got that much as holly trees are that
much smaller than willows, etc.

I'm going now to play the age game in that I used axe and splitters
until I retired and at that point I bought a hydraulic machine. So if
you are well off retiral age, then go and be a man and do it by
hand !! Having said that the productivity, and lack of exhaustion
(!), using a machine does seriously make it the desirable option.

Rob
  #10  
Old 27-01-2008, 07:47 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening,uk.d-i-y
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Posts: 2,441
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning


"Graham Harrison" wrote in
message ...
Having had some trees pruned I now have a pile of logs. Cut to length
but will need splitting before I can burn them in the grate. I have
Holly and Willow wood.

Question is do I split them now or wait until they've cured and then split
them? I'm expecting to have to leave them about 2 years to cure unsplit,
would it speed the process if I split them now?

On a related note, I've looked at local and national hire shop web sites
but can't immediately locate a log splitter. I don't expect to have any
more tree logs coming my way for a good few years so hiring seems to make
more sense then spending something like 200 for a splitter (I know you
can do it by hand and I also know that there are splitters for as little
as 150). I'm in "South Somerset" (between
Yeovil/Frome/Wells/Street/Glastonbury/Radstock and, at a push, Bristol,
Bath, Dorchester, Weymouth.).

Manufactum have a lovely one. Google.

Mary


  #11  
Old 27-01-2008, 07:49 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening,uk.d-i-y
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Posts: 2,441
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning


"Nick Maclaren" wrote in message
...


....


Oak is one of the harder ones to split. Not as bad as yew,
though.


We haven't had any problem with yew - although we don't burn it. It's far
too valuable in other forms :-)

Mary


  #12  
Old 27-01-2008, 08:10 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening,uk.d-i-y
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Posts: 1,752
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning


In article ,
David in Normandy writes:
|
| I've got a heavy axe to split over-wide logs. Some split
| easily as you say, but it is still hard work. I wouldn't
| want to do more than a few at a time. Not good for
| arthritic joints :-(
| Definitely a job for muscular young men.

Hmm. I am past 60, and DEFINITELY not muscular in the arms!
But I don't have arthritis (only tennis elbow).

| Wood with knots can be a nightmare. Some "split" logs that
| arrive are still joined via fat knots. Such pieces are
| virtually unusable.

Agreed.


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.
  #13  
Old 27-01-2008, 08:40 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening,uk.d-i-y
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 50
Default Curing and splitting wood for burning

Nick Maclaren says...

In article ,
David in Normandy writes:
|
| I've got a heavy axe to split over-wide logs. Some split
| easily as you say, but it is still hard work. I wouldn't
| want to do more than a few at a time. Not good for
| arthritic joints :-(
| Definitely a job for muscular young men.

Hmm. I am past 60, and DEFINITELY not muscular in the arms!
But I don't have arthritis (only tennis elbow).


I'm only in my 40's but have little bits of bone growing in
various places where they shouldn't. Some unfortunately
into major nerves in my neck and also into my spinal cord.
Thankfully it went into remission before my date for
surgery came up so operation on hold. The surgery itself
carries a risk of paralysis or death, so I'm hoping it
stays permanently in remission. I just have to take care
not to jar or inflame the vertebrae. Swinging an axe is
something I do with care and moderation!
--
David in Normandy
 




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