After discovering that the national park service was charging USD$7 for a bundle of wood while camping this weekend, I may have partially puked in my mouth at the cost. Those rates are pretty absurd. While yes its kiln dried, and likely means that there is no insects being transported, I am still pretty shocked by the price. The good news is that for my property, there is no such requirement. The bad news is that I have to cut, dry, and split it myself. So let’s get to cutting.
I have now had to cut down three different trees. Each of them were pretty good choices for removal as they had already died, probably several years ago, and were air drying while still standing. For cutting the tree down, I used a larger gasoline powered chainsaw, but limbing and cutting into sections it was done by an battery electric chainsaw with 16 inch (40 cm) length chain.
I learned a lesson out of this, these dead trees can be tricky. For example, the tree in the picture above turned out to be a home for some sorta form of ants. While the tree was intended to fall down the mountain, sectioned, and hauled out by hand, that didn’t happen. The tree, likely weakened by the ants, surprised me and fell sideways. I started seeing it move in a direction I didn’t like, and booked it out of there. Fortunately, I figured out my escape paths and cleared them before cutting down the tree.
I am actually pretty happy with where it fell down, as it didn’t roll to the bottom of the forest for an even longer hike to haul out the wood by hand. But, in no way would I have planned on doing that as it could have been easily been caught up by other limbs in the trees it fell next to causing an even bigger issue trying to get the tree down.
This lead to sectioning the tree out. For the first pile of wood, I just got it cut down into roughly similar sized wood that was smaller and could be hauled out easily. This required much more cutting, smaller cutting, and hiking the wood out up the hill. The extra cutting also meant there was extra wear and tear on the chainsaw blade, which will likely need to be sharpened soon as it incidentally hit a rock while cutting close to the ground. Doh!
This was completely inefficient and labor intensive. New plan next time I come out:
- Measure and cut the tree trunk into 60 inch (5 foot, 152 cm) sections
- Tie the tree trunk up
- Hook the tree up to the truck
- Drop the truck into 4×4 low, and pull it out.
- Cut the log at the top of the mountain into 20 inch sections
Why 20 inch sections? Because my wood stove is 24 inches deep, which gives two inches on each side to work with the wood in the stove. Once the entire tree is up and sectioned, then I will get to work splitting the wood with my wood splitter.
Have you thought about using as imply hand log splitter? It looks like an axe but is not. You can put these on a chopping block and they will basically explode into smaller logs with very little effort.