Splitting Headache

20 Dec

After the storm, with all the trees down, there was an abundance of potential firewood lining most roads. I began scavenging it with my friend Jimmy so we could amass a good firewood collection for next year. We both filled our pick ups a few times, and we’re collecting some good piles. On Thanksgiving however, our neighbor had a tree guy who was dropping off some wood and he offered to drop some off for us too. We didn’t know what we were getting into. The guy dropped two or three loads off at both of our houses, and from then on much of my life has revolved around dealing with a back yard that has been taken over by firewood.

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That’s one pile of two. Some of these logs are around 3 feet in diameter. Most of it is red oak, which is not light, by any means. It took an entire day for me and my friend Nick to move these piles into one orderly row along the back fence.

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That picture really doesn’t do it justice, it is about 100 feet long, 2 rows deep and 2 or 3 logs high most of the way. There were some logs that were simply too large and oddly shaped to move with just two people, so they remained scattered around the yard.

Finally this week, Jimmy was able to procure a gas-powered splitter so we could get to work on all this. Derek, always the eager arborist, has been on hand to lend his assistance, as this is much better a two-man job than one.

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Here Derek does his best Lieutenant Dan impression showing the splitter in its vertical position.

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This is really the only way to split these larger logs that are way too heavy to lift.

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The method we’ve developed is to split the larger logs into quarters or eighths, depending on how big they are, and stacking them like that, then coming back with the splitter in the more comfortable horizontal position to further break down the quarters into firewood-sized pieces. This has proven much more effective than fully splitting down the large logs to firewood vertically or breaking our backs trying to get them onto the splitter horizontally.

At this point there’s about 3 days invested in this project and probably a solid three more to finish splitting, then another day or three to stack it all off the ground on pallets near our existing firewood supply. This wood should be ready to burn next year, at least the smaller pieces, but unless we have roaring fires every night this is shaping up to look like about a four-winter supply of firewood. I think my back might be fully recovered from this by then!

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