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Author Topic: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?  (Read 1059 times)

Offline Stonehouse

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Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« on: December 11, 2019, 01:47:36 pm »
What are your favorite tricks and techniques for efficiently laying in your camp wood for a night? Here's one I started experimenting with this season, thanks to a stiff shoulder:

I started using a cam strap to stabilize logs while cutting. I set up the saw log with the butt end resting on the ground and the sawyers end at thigh height, pinned against a standing tree. Then I use a cam strap to cinch the log against the standing tree, cut, and feed the log through as it gets shorter. I like this way because it means I keep both hands on my saw, which transmits more power. Plus I can saw while standing and therefore incorporate more legs/hips into it. You only need one cam strap if sink the butt end into the snow, brace the saw log diagonally between two trees, or find a side branch to incorporate.

I know I'm not the first guy to do this, but I feel kind of stupid for not trying it years ago. I like it more than kneeling and sawing one-handed, especially with hardwoods that are slower to buck up anyway.

Then I got to thinking--I bet all of you have your preferred techniques, or order of operations, or little tricks to speed your wood cutting and fire building. If you feel like sharing your favorites, I'm sure we'd all benefit.

Offline yardsale

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2019, 05:15:25 pm »
 I get the same effect, I think, by finding a low "v" in a tree and feeding the saw log through that.  For me it is essential to have the saw log immobilized and stable enough to use two hands on the sawl.

Offline Undersky

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2019, 09:25:51 pm »
Many already do this, I am sure.

When splitting wood at the end of a long day, I find kneeling, instead of standing, is safer and easier on the back. It is best to have something to kneel on to keep my knees warm, but that is not hard to arrange.

If I am kneeling splitting wood, and my axe head deflects off to one side, it is very unlikely to hit me before it hits the snow.

Offline Hutchy

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2019, 08:48:45 am »
I find bringing a friend who likes to cut wood is always the best bet.

Finding that person in a society where most have never even held a saw is the tough part.

Because the snow is so deep I never use any kind of "setup" to cut wood. Log hits the ground, I kick a space for the saw underneath it and start cutting. Having the log at about knee level (no snowshoes on), means I can push almost straight down with each cut stroke. Pushing a saw horizontally always seemed to be much harder. When a piece is cut, pull the log 16" closer and cut another piece. The log generally has enough surface area to float it on top of the snow, and it is always solid and un-moving because the whole length is contacting the snow. Works best when the snow is over two feet deep and you tramp down an area on snowshoe first and then cut with no snowshoes on.  Works great even when the log gets small. Just give it a push into the snow first to set it.

Splitting is done kneeling, and a I just set the log again on the snow. A good fast strike with a lighter axe will avoid driving the piece into the snow, as the firewood is heavy and resists gaining momentum. Lighter pieces get driven into the snow if it doesn't split, but smaller wood just gets burned whole anyway. I don't kneel to avoid hurting myself, just to keep a straighter back. Avoiding a possible major injury is an added benefit however.





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Offline awbrown: N. Illinois, USA

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2019, 05:57:09 pm »
I always bring my son in law, who likes to split wood.
I love winter......I don't look fat in wool!

Offline Jawax

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2019, 07:57:38 pm »
I always bring my son in law, who likes to split wood.
Well Brown’s got a top notch idea, but lacking an SIL here’s what I do: 
First, before the trip I get a section of 2x6 or 2x8 and split it up into fine splits, bundle sections with a fire starter, and stuff  2 or 3 in the sections of my stove pipes.  The first day of every trip is always the hardest, so if these save me even 5 minutes of gathering kindling it’s worth it.  I have one for first night and one for first morning. 
Second, as technique, after sawing into sections I rarely split wood by standing on one end and hitting the other.  Instead, I set a section of log in the snow and lay each other section to be split perpendicular and away from me and hit the side with my axe while on my knees.  Seems more forgiving, safer, and more efficient. 

Offline trapmusher

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2019, 07:27:10 am »
I always bring my son in law, who likes to split wood.

First, before the trip I get a section of 2x6 or 2x8 and split it up into fine splits, bundle sections with a fire starter, and stuff  2 or 3 in the sections of my stove pipes.  The first day of every trip is always the hardest, so if these save me even 5 minutes of gathering kindling it’s worth it.  I have one for first night and one for first morning. 


Really good tip. Thanks.

Offline yardsale

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2019, 08:32:03 am »
  When splitting small pieces of wood, I position the axe where I want on the end, then use another piece as a mallet to drive the axe. Easier and safer than taking a swing at a small target.  Also want to sing the praises of my 17" Fiskars axe. I am mindful of the reverence for traditional ways in this forum but the  handle on this axe is indestructible and it splits like a dream

Offline chimpac

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2019, 04:39:32 pm »
I am getting by with an old butcher knife and a small retractable saw for the cutting and splitting wood. The handles in some butcher knives break when hit to split wood. Splitting wood with knots is difficult or impossible.
I rarely use the saw unless it is raining and I need to cut and split large diameter wood to get dry wood.
 I also cut 2” diameter wood to lengths under 10” to drop through a round hole in the lid if I need a hotter stove.
 My bottom feed door is only high enough to get planned  1” pieces in.   
I only burn about 1 lb of wood an hour which gets the cooking done (boiling on top, broiling underneath), warm my feet.
It radiates enough heat for me to want to take my arms out of the sleeves of my coat. The first thing I do when I sit on my mat that is folded double is to use a cord to tie the mat to my back.
This last week I changed the baffle in my vertical coffee can stove so it radiates more heat out of the front than the back.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2019, 05:26:13 pm by chimpac »

Offline K.

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2019, 10:48:32 pm »
  When splitting small pieces of wood, I position the axe where I want on the end, then use another piece as a mallet to drive the axe. Easier and safer than taking a swing at a small target.  Also want to sing the praises of my 17" Fiskars axe. I am mindful of the reverence for traditional ways in this forum but the  handle on this axe is indestructible and it splits like a dream
I just found out about this (age-old) technique over the summer - so simple and I never thought of it myself d'oh. Second the factory axe (Estwing in my case): I do have a fairweather Gransfors but in the woods I'm only going to carry one, and when I need to chop roots, ice, frozen earth, slush, in the rain, whatever, I can do so without a second thought.  Now that I've discovered this batoning thing, I realized I'm never going to be doing that with a hollow axe-head either: there's already some visible dents and divots in the poll of my estwing from bashing it with pieces of knotty hardwood.

Online Moondog55

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2019, 11:05:54 pm »

[/quote]
Well Brown’s got a top notch idea, but lacking an SIL here’s what I do: 
First, before the trip I get a section of 2x6 or 2x8 and split it up into fine splits, bundle sections with a fire starter, and stuff  2 or 3 in the sections of my stove pipes.  The first day of every trip is always the hardest, so if these save me even 5 minutes of gathering kindling it’s worth it.  I have one for first night and one for first morning. 
[/quote]

I really like this idea but I keep old centres from toilet rolls, bundle them up densely and soak in an accelerant, a mix of petroleum jelly and paraffin wax for walking/hauling trips and good old diesel for car camping

Offline trapmusher

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2019, 06:58:12 am »
Diesel will certainly burn a long time, but, I hate the smell of it and once you get some on something it seems to be there forever. Diesel on the hands is the condiment that flavours everything!

I love the Fiskers, also. They split very well.

Everyone should remember to never hit metal on metal when splitting wood. Hitting the back of an axe with a small sledge hammer or with another axe can be a serious mistake. Been there, done that and the emergency doc said I was really lucky the metal shard did not hit a larger blood vessel.


Offline rbinhood

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2019, 10:55:58 pm »
Was involved years ago in a situation with a plumber who hit a hardened steel bit with the steel handle on a lead hammer. The shard that came off took out one of his eyes.
"Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify."
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Offline yardsale

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2019, 10:57:45 am »
For sure.  Using another stick of wood works fine and you don't have to carry another tool in with you.

Offline Bkrgi

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Re: Your favorite wood processing and fire tips?
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2019, 08:51:00 pm »
Was involved years ago in a situation with a plumber who hit a hardened steel bit with the steel handle on a lead hammer. The shard that came off took out one of his eyes.

Way back in time I was hammering a tooth on on a dozer bucket and a piece flew off and embedded itself in my skin between the eyes in my forehead....had to find a magnet to work the metal out the way in went in  ;D. Had glasses on but was a moment of yikes.. since then have been extra aware of what can happen when dealing with hardened steel and hammers....
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