Firewood

A forum for DIY, cars, pets and all things related to home life
Tora
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:53 am
Has thanked: 86 times
Been thanked: 296 times

Firewood

Post by Tora »

What is the minimum diameter wood you bother to process as firewood?

I just cut down (coppiced?) 4 good sized oak trees (shii-no-ki) that were overwhelming the road and driveway. I was left with a large mountain of leaves and branches that I can either try to separate for compost or burn to make ash and charcoal for the garden. I wish I had sometimes access to a chipper shredder a few times per year.

I’m trying to decide how small of diameter wood is worth saving to burn in the wood stove in a couple years. Even small sticks of oak burn long and hot but I remember processing small stuff last year got real old real fast.

Also, for anyone with experience splitting shii-no-ki, do you let it dry and crack some before splitting or go at it while it’s pretty green? I seem to have a lot of logs my splitting ax just bounces off of. After my experiences of being so harshly rebuked this winter, I’ve been too embarrassed to even make eye contact with the growing pile waiting to be split. Now I’m feeling pressure to do something with it before the rain, heat, and humidity.

Also, any tricks to scare poisonous snakes out of the woodpile before I go diving into it would be really appreciated.

User avatar
Zasso Nouka
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 3721
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:37 am
Location: Chiba Prefecture
Has thanked: 3031 times
Been thanked: 2511 times

Firewood

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Thin stuff is great for getting the fire going but I normally balance that with the hassle of processing it, I'm more likely these days to just burn a big pile of sticks rather than spend time pulling them out and cutting them to size. It's easy enough to make kindling from split logs and takes a lot less time, specially if you have some dry sugi or hinoki.
Tora wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:01 am
I’m trying to decide how small of diameter wood is worth saving to burn in the wood stove in a couple years. Even small sticks of oak burn long and hot but I remember processing small stuff last year got real old real fast.
Generally we don't go smaller than say 3 or 4cm
Tora wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:01 am
Also, for anyone with experience splitting shii-no-ki, do you let it dry and crack some before splitting or go at it while it’s pretty green? I seem to have a lot of logs my splitting ax just bounces off of. After my experiences of being so harshly rebuked this winter, I’ve been too embarrassed to even make eye contact with the growing pile waiting to be split. Now I’m feeling pressure to do something with it before the rain, heat, and humidity.
If I'm using our maul then I personally prefer when hard woods are wet, sugi and hinoki are fine dry and seem to split cleaner but hardwoods seem to get harder as they dry out but that depends on the wood. Some of the hardwood we had sitting around for 3 or 4 years developed longitudinal splits as it got really dry and that split quite easily when you targeted the cracks, I think it was keyaki.
Tora wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:01 am
Also, any tricks to scare poisonous snakes out of the woodpile before I go diving into it would be really appreciated.
Bash the pile with a heavy stick a few times and hope the snake isn't in a feisty mood :D

Tora
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:53 am
Has thanked: 86 times
Been thanked: 296 times

Firewood

Post by Tora »

We have lots of trees dropping kindling and tinder all the time. Most people probably see the one sugi tree out back dropping boughs as an incredible nuisance but it’s like manna from the sky- best tinder around and the boughs seem to fall mostly during winter when we need them most!

I tried getting the kid to go out there and chop up those thin branches for kindling but all I get are dirty looks and fiery adolescent rants about how she is overworked as it is and why would I dare ask her to get up from in front of the tv and go out where there isn’t wi-fi. If only I could heat the house in winter with that hot temper.

Don’t jinx me with feisty snake comments! I seem to have unknowingly stepped on a baby copperhead when I was getting the chainsaw and tiller gassed up the other day. Second one I’ve seen already this year and I haven’t even finished mowing the field and ravine bank where they really like to hang out. But if I cut all the tall weeds, the only place they’ll have to take shelter is the woodpile :doh:

donguri
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:57 am
Location: Aichi
Has thanked: 353 times
Been thanked: 207 times

Firewood

Post by donguri »

We usually use sugi for kindling as it burns fast and heats up quickly. Then we add the hardwoods after we have a small bed of coals.

As for the size of sticks worth saving.... for hardwoods, if it's easy, we'll save them from about 3cm, but we don't worry about splitting them, just throw them in a crate or somewhere to dry. The biggest problem we have is just finding places to keep all the wood.
Tora wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:01 am
I wish I had sometimes access to a chipper shredder a few times per year.
Not sure where you live or what the situation is, but our town's Ringyo (forestry) Center has a woodchipper that we can use for 300yen-basically the cost of the gas. I have to load up the K-truck and haul the sticks there, and then the woman in charge helps me feed it all into the chipper and I leave with several bags of woodchips. I don't know how common this setup is, but it might be worth asking around.

User avatar
Zasso Nouka
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 3721
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:37 am
Location: Chiba Prefecture
Has thanked: 3031 times
Been thanked: 2511 times

Firewood

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Apparently Mongoose can be found on Ami Oshima and in Okinawa, I'm not suggesting you try and keep a "Specified Alien Species" as a pet or anything but if one somehow and mysteriously found it's way from there to your land :whistle:

Tora
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:53 am
Has thanked: 86 times
Been thanked: 296 times

Firewood

Post by Tora »

donguri wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:20 am
We usually use sugi for kindling as it burns fast and heats up quickly. Then we add the hardwoods after we have a small bed of coals.

As for the size of sticks worth saving.... for hardwoods, if it's easy, we'll save them from about 3cm, but we don't worry about splitting them, just throw them in a crate or somewhere to dry. The biggest problem we have is just finding places to keep all the wood.
Tora wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:01 am
I wish I had sometimes access to a chipper shredder a few times per year.
Not sure where you live or what the situation is, but our town's Ringyo (forestry) Center has a woodchipper that we can use for 300yen-basically the cost of the gas. I have to load up the K-truck and haul the sticks there, and then the woman in charge helps me feed it all into the chipper and I leave with several bags of woodchips. I don't know how common this setup is, but it might be worth asking around.
Thanks, I’ll ask around. It’s one of those things a neighborhood could really put to use. Great investment of cho-nai-kai money. The locals just burn or dump brush by the river or on the hill behind our house. Seems like a waste of what could be great mulch.

I agree on wood storage. I need to get a system for stacking wood. It’s so haphazard in my processing area now. I have space but no organization, roof, or system to keep wood off the ground enough to really let air circulate underneath. Looks like bamboo to keep it off the ground again this year.
Last edited by Tora on Sat May 01, 2021 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tora
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:53 am
Has thanked: 86 times
Been thanked: 296 times

Firewood

Post by Tora »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:06 am
Apparently Mongoose can be found on Ami Oshima and in Okinawa, I'm not suggesting you try and keep a "Specified Alien Species" as a pet or anything but if one somehow and mysteriously found it's way from there to your land :whistle:
So far I’ve seen itachi, crows and another kind of bird eating snakes. I disturbed a crow hunting a copperhead while driving out of my driveway and the dang bird shat on my car for a week!

I think chickens would really do a good job of reducing the snake population but I have too many other things to do right now to think about taking care of animals. The wife and daughter keep me on my toes as it is- don’t give me any eggs though!

User avatar
Zasso Nouka
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 3721
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:37 am
Location: Chiba Prefecture
Has thanked: 3031 times
Been thanked: 2511 times

Firewood

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Our chickens will take on a small snake but won't touch large ones.

Tora
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:53 am
Has thanked: 86 times
Been thanked: 296 times

Firewood

Post by Tora »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 7:01 am
Our chickens will take on a small snake but won't touch large ones.
We saw an itachi drag a good sized snake (1m or more?) out of tree after a 10 minute struggle. Didn’t see it as we didn’t know what was happening at the time.

User avatar
Zasso Nouka
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 3721
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:37 am
Location: Chiba Prefecture
Has thanked: 3031 times
Been thanked: 2511 times

Firewood

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Itachi are absolutely fearless when it comes to eating. We also saw one tackle a big snake and then take on a crow who wanted to steal the snake. It was like watching something from David Attenborough :shock: