Firewood is a hot topic (pun intended) for most woodland owners.  A recent survey showed that about two-thirds of owners have collected firewood for their personal use in the last ten years.  The research on firewood production and processing is limited, but there is considerable experience among people; some of whom have heated with wood their entire life.

A webinar on "Firewood from Private Woodlands was offered on September 16, 2015.  A link to the archive is here.  The webinar covers examples of strategies, types of equipment, a primer on tree selection for cutting, safety tips, research on storage and drying, and regulations for NY sales and transportation.

This blog will hopefully prompt people to share their stories and their strategies.  What equipment do you use?  Do you block the logs in the woods or near where you stack and store the wood? Do you concentrate the cutting in one area of your woods or disperse the cutting? What is the best (favorite) season to cut wood?  Most importantly, how long do you season your wood before burning?  If the seasoning period is short, what other steps do you take?

A few handouts and other items are attached below.

One of the webinar attendees has posted a picture of his "firewood ready" compact tractor.  See that here http://cornellforestconnect.ning.com/photo/tractor-forestry-mod  The limb guard and FOPS (see the picture) are connected from the frame to the ROPS.  Neat system.  Share your pictures.

Firewood quick reference firewood%20chart%20-%20average%20volume%20by%20diameter.pdf

Firewood from Private Woodlands (pdf of webinar)  Firewood%20from%20Private%20Woodlots.sept.2015.compressed.pdf

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Comment by Peter Smallidge on October 1, 2015 at 1:32pm

I received this from a webinar participant...how do other woodlot owners work up their firewood?

"The way I handle firewood is:

Cut trees down after hunting season but before Maple season. If time allows I block them where the tree falls. I will also split them in the same location. It keeps any ants in that area. I have wet heavy soil, and trips in and out with the Argo to process the wood has less impact than a tractor. After the Sugar season as time allows usually into fall I bring the wood out. For that I use a tractor with an old manure spreader to haul. Depending on species and size, the wood is hauled to the house wood shed, my work shop or the sugar house. The spreader holds the same amount of wood in a single trip as I would be able to drag. But with out adding butt scars to remaining trees and mud to the log. The Argo and a plastic trailer rated for 1500 lbs. allows me the option to get into difficult areas where the tractor will not go. This combo holds approx 1/2 face cord 24". I do however need to get further ahead in the process to allow for better drying."

Comment by John McNerney on January 13, 2016 at 7:44pm

During the webinar, I commented on adding FOPS (falling object protection) and Limb Risers to my tractor. Someone asked what they were. Here's a picture of my set up:

The FOPS is just the area over my head when driving, which has protection for things which may drop from above. The limb risers are the sloping bars running from the front of the tractor up to FOPS area. They make it much easier when driving through the woods if the trails are a bit overgrown: a limb hits those sloping bars and just rides up and over, rather than slapping me in the face.

You can't really see it in this photo, but I also added a belly pan. The filter for the hydrostatic transmission had been knocked off twice (once by me, once when on loan to a friend). It was fortunate that these were out in the open, near a road, and not in the middle of nowhere in the woods, since once this goes, the tractor is not moving anywhere under it's own power.

The modifications were done by a local fabrication/welding shop here in Monkton, VT. The guy has done several of these types of modifications for some loggers using larger tractors than mine (they tend to get a lot more involved package than I have... front and side guards for the grill/engine and other "extras")

Comment by John McNerney on January 13, 2016 at 7:54pm

I suppose I should have done that shot with the logging winch on the back, rather than the box blade. The winch has a safety scree on it that also covers most of the area behind me when I am in the driver's seat.

I don't have very good pictures of the belly pan installation, but can try to get some if anyone is interested. It mounted mostly to the subframe for the backhoe. The subframe stays on the tractor all the time, so it made a great structure to tie in to. The belly pan is in two pieces, and despite being 1/2" thick, the pieces are light enough that I can get them on and off for maintenance without having to use any special equipment to lift them into place. The fabricator also included "port-holes" in strategic places to allow access to various grease zerks.

If you do mods like this to your tractor, it's important to find someone who will put some thought in to things like ease of access for maintenance. I can get my limb risers/Fops off by removing 4 bolts. I haven't counted the bolts on the belly pan, but that is also easily removable - especially the section that protects the engine oil filter, so I can get to it easily for oil changes.

Comment by Brett Davidson on January 18, 2016 at 7:31pm

Thanks for sharing John.  Very interesting.

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