Any way you look at it, converting timber into firewood is a labour-intensive process. However, it does not have to be back-breaking, and in fact making firewood can almost be enjoyable when done the right way. Professional foresters and wood cutters have the experience, skills, and tools to make processing firewood look fast and easy. Those of us who cut wood for home or farm use are not likely to be able to spend hundreds of days per year running chainsaws and handling firewood, but it is entirely possible to add a few professional techniques to your firewood processing tool box. If you would like to lighten the workload this season, read on for a few pro tips that will make it easier next time you need to turn some raw logs into firewood.
First of all, anyone who has worked in the woods will tell you that a good day at work is any day you come home in one piece. This means that safety is more than first, it is everything. Protective clothing including a long-sleeved shirt and heavy work pants is a must. Boots, preferably steel-toed, gloves, and eye protection are not optional – they are required. If you are working within a stand of timber, wearing a hard hat is strongly advised. Kevlar chainsaw chaps are nice to have as well. Even if you are not running a chainsaw, the chaps provide protection and padding. Always work with a partner – it makes the work a lot easier and puts some backup in place in case something goes wrong.
To make the job go smoothly, have quality tools that you know how to use, and maintain them in good condition. Efficiency is measured by speed, and nothing cuts speed more than tools that do not operate the way you need them to, or maybe even break down entirely. Choosing a quality brand like Fellotool and making sure all required maintenance is up to date before the work day starts is a great way to begin the quest for efficiency. Every piece of firewood splitting equipment made by Fellotool is designed to dependably handle hard work while conforming to all applicable EN safety standards and directives.
Keep your tools sharp. If you are running a chainsaw, learn how to file a chain quickly and effectively. Use round filing techniques for cutting dry wood; for work in green timber, chisel filing will produce a faster-cutting chain. Be sure to carry 1 or 2 sharp spare chains with you. Or eliminate worries about dull tools with a Fellotool electric log saw. The tungsten carbide-tipped circular saw blade will keep cutting fast all season with no sharpening needed.
Take some time to prepare the work area. If you are working in a backyard or barnyard, this is easy. Just decide where to position the log pile and what to do with the finished product. However, if the work is a bit further afield, make sure you have a level spot clear of undergrowth and tripping hazards, and with room enough to conduct cutting and splitting operations as well as to stack the log supply and finished product. If you will be transporting firewood, gain some speed by arranging for parking that allows wood to be removed from the saw or splitter and tossed directly into the truck or trailer. In either case, plan on separating operations rather than switching back and forth a lot – that is, do all or a good bit of the sawing, then split all that has been sawed.
Make sure to produce the correct size of firewood. Of course the wood needs to fit the stove that it will be used in, whether it is your own, or that of a friend or neighbour you are cutting for, but in any case, accurately-cut firewood stacks nicely and is easier to feed into the stove. Cutting logs into consistently accurate stove lengths can be tricky. The old-fashioned way is to make a measuring stick to set the length then use the stick along with a hatchet to blaze marks on the logs. Luckily, Fellotool electric log saws are equipped with sturdy cut length guide bars that operate on a set-and-forget basis to give a perfect length on every cut.
The next thing to consider is splitting the wood. Optimal fineness of split depends on the type of wood and the size of the wood stove. In general, an ideal way to go is to produce a mix of half- and quarter-rounds. The smaller wood is useful for starting fires, then larger pieces can be used to make a long-burning blaze or bank the stove at night. All Fellotool log splitters give you the option of changing between the standard splitting wedge and the optional cross wedge that breaks a log into 4 quarters. The two things that add the most efficiency to the splitting phase are a well-practiced two-person team and a powerful, fast-cycling hydraulic splitter like the Fellotool 13-ton gasoline engine vertical log splitter.
Put this advice to work on your next day of firewood cutting. You are sure to see an increase in efficiency and production and a reduction in stress and labour. And remember to always keep safety as the number one priority.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.