Friday 24 October 2008

Raised beds and a new firewood method

Today was a day for delivering mostly. It was raining quite a bit, but dried up as the day went on fortunately. The first job was to deliver some logs and stakes to a customer to use for a raised bed:
Unfortunately the size of the bed had changed since we last visited, so we came past again on another trip in the afternoon and brought some more logs to fill the gaps. It works, but it's not as neat as I'd have liked - the log to the right is a bit small, so I might look for a fatter one to replace it:
Anyway, the stakes worked nicely and the customer was pleased with the end result:
Then it was back to the wood for lunch. While we were sat down we noticed this Red Admiral sunning itself high up an oak tree:
must be catching the last dregs of summer!

Tracy wanted to cut a tree down after that (I think she's missing the smell of burning 2-stroke fuel after last week's coppicing course), and there are plenty that need doing this winter.
Then she got on with loading the trailer with firewood for another customer. We cut this lot pretty small, as their fireplace isn't too big, and they were bone dry after being in the shelter for a couple of months. While she was doing that, I got to work on a more efficient way of producing firewood, that I hinted at in a previous post.

The idea is that you split the logs while they're still quite long, using wedges and a hammer. These logs were cut about 8 months ago, but this winter we'll split as we cut them, so they'll be much easier to do.
Then, having split them you stack them between posts, with rails underneath. The gap between the posts is chosen to be just a bit less than the length of the chainsaw bar:
Then, you simply saw through the whole lot in one go!
leaving them in a moderately ordered pile ready for loading into the trailer. After the first cut, you move back to the next posts and do it again:
It's quite a bit quicker than cutting the logs individually and splitting them with an axe, and it also allows you to be more consistent in the length of the logs. I still need to make a few adjustments to the position of the posts, etc., but it worked pretty well first go!

(update: there's a video of the process here)

For the wood we cut this year, we're planning to split and stack, but then leave the stacks to dry, cross-cutting them to the lengths required the following summer. There's a particular way of doing that stacking, but I'll talk about that when we get to it...


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