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Thread: Firewood Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    North of Reno, NV...middle of the desert
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    1,930

    Firewood Question

    So out West, wood prices have stormed astronomically in the last few years. We used to buy it around $190-220 a cord (pine vs. almond) for several years but now we are looking at up to $400/cord. Thankfully we overbought when prices were lower and are limping buy on what is left (see Brent's greenhouse picture to see what we have...fortunately it's T-shirt weather during the day's so we don't have to run the fireplace much).

    And yes, I know all you non-Westerners will laugh at what we have to pay, even in the old days...let's get past that part, paradise does come at a cost Oh by the way, we don't use our wall electric heaters anymore and will run the pellet stove in the far room on occasion. So basically, the modern, very efficient fireplace is really our only main heat source, and it does a great job. Other rooms benefit from the southern exposure and don't need any additional.

    So our current options for next year:
    • Pay through the nose for commercial cords (maybe slightly cheaper, but not by much, if we drive to town and bring it home a truck load at a time)
    • Get FREE busted up pallet wood that has already been cut to firewood size...emphasis is on FREE, but I'm sure they don't look as nice as a rugged piece of Almond in the fireplace and probably burns faster
    • Go to an urban farm where you pay about $75/cord but you have to do all the cutting yourself and it may be limited on how much you can really get, + all equipment
    • Get a fire permit and do all the work yourself (I think the trees have already been felled, but you have to be very careful about not starting a forest fire, $10/cord + Permit + all equipment...however may make for a great camping weekend)

    Just curious if anyone has faced the dilemma of need to find alternate sources and what you would do?

    Many thanks,
    Sharon Kornbread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Humid Gulf Coast
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    542
    When I used to want firewood (when I had a fireplace) I used to buddy deal with a guy.

    He'd go out and cut X amount with a chainsaw (I hate chain sawing), haul it over to his place, and he and I would quarter split it.

    I'd take about what looked like 1/3, and he kept the rest.

    He hated splitting (by hand) and I actually enjoy(ed) it for the exersize.

    White Pine mostly, some birch.

    Ahhh fond memories

    Yes I really do enjoy quarter splitting wood with an axe in the cold autumn weather.
    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    new york city burbs
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    10,188
    busted up pallet wood already cut to size, free,it works for me
    pallet wood Ive used has been hard oak, ash, and other hardwoods. Burns great.
    I took out my fireplace, but at 400 a cord, if its just for heating purposes, hardwood is hardwood.
    Human Test Dummy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
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    17,471
    i wood look more into the pellets sharon,, it makes good use of scrap wood, and you have eliminated the hard work.. might be able to get a semi tractor to drop off a years supply reasonable?
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
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    I didn't believe it until I saw it... similar to a pellet stove is a corn stove. Burns dry corn kernels, with a thermostatically controlled automatic feeder. Cheap corn that hunters feed deer. My BIL uses it it heat his barn/auxiliary shop/garage.

    As for wood, soft wood like pine creates a lot of ash, and far less heat per volume of wood. I used to gladly pay twice as much for hardwood firewood, but (unfortunately) my house now only has fake logs and gas flames.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Yorktown, Virginia
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    5,011
    Somehow "free" is very appealing and one of my neighbors burns pallet wood with no problems. I would also go for the firewood permit and make a nice camping trip out of it. Trouble is, you guys are pretty far from the firewood permit area, aren't you? I'm guessing beetle killed pine is plentiful. Maybe haul a trailer to fill up.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
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    I don't use firewood as my house is all electric and there's no fireplace in it anyway.... but in years past when I was growing up the fire place was our only source of heat... my dad cut his own cordwood and did so until he died... the latter years he did it just to have something to do and made a few extra $$ off the sale.... but as I remember, he didn't do a lot of pine... doesn't pine leave a creosote coating in the chimney that can create a chimney fire??
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
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    4,351
    Quote Originally Posted by allen levine View Post
    busted up pallet wood already cut to size, free,it works for me
    pallet wood Ive used has been hard oak, ash, and other hardwoods. Burns great.
    I took out my fireplace, but at 400 a cord, if its just for heating purposes, hardwood is hardwood.
    my first thoughts on the pallet wood... what about all the nails ... I see a lot of work splitting them apart and pulling the nails out.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North West Indiana
    Posts
    6,098
    Sharon, my concern with pallets is the pesticides they are sprayed with so bugs are not transferred around the country and world. Some are only heat treated thus are safe for turning and or burning. But the health concerns limit my use of pallets anymore.
    Hardwood is your best buy for btu's. The pellets, I know of some people here in Northern Indiana that heat their entire homes with a pellet stove. They buy their pellets in bulk and some are going together to buy a whole pallet or load for the cost breaks. It sounds expensive but my three Stihl saws and my splitter and my loader tractor all aren't cheap to buy, own or run. So sometimes you have to look at time saved by letting someone else have all the mess and fuss. Plus it gives Brent more time to work on the dining room table.
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
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    3,019
    I use firewood as a primary source of heat. I purchase almost all of it green and split - oversized cord $200 per cord, all oak and maple, no round wood. I season it for 2 years. I burn a max of 2 cords per year, sometimes 1 cord on a warm winter year.

    I did not want a pellet stove because I sometimes find free wood, and I have never seen free pellets.

    For me - it's all about cost - what is the cheaper option?

    I would burn oil if it was cheaper than firewood.

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