A Great Way to Save Money
The rising price of fuel is a great concern. So, why not take advantage of fallen trees in your garden and turn them into firewood? This is a great way to get rid of fallen trees and make your garden look neater. Simultaneously, you can save tons of money by reducing your heating costs. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy a day spent in the garden?
With simple tools and a little bit of effort, you’re capable of making firewood from a fallen tree in your garden. Just follow our instructions below!
What You’ll Need
A chainsaw is the most important piece of equipment that you’ll need. There are many types of chainsaw to choose from: battery, gasoline and electric. Battery and electric models are quieter and less powerful compared to gas models, making them more suitable for cutting medium-sized trees and pruning. For large-scale cutting, we recommend gas saws, which are efficient and portable.
You need to choose the right size and brand of saw. Chainsaws made by large companies, like Stihl and Husqvarna, are the most popular choices. They are more costly but are durable and very good quality. If you want a saw to cut wood for heating your house, a 16’’ blade is the perfect size for you.
Make sure that the block’s diameter is at least 5 inches. For safety reasons, you should choose a block between 12 and 16 inches high. Anything thinner than that will split easily. You should buy a block with one flat surface to stabilize itself on the hard ground, and the other surface at a 15-degree angle. This means that firewood can stand upright, which will make chopping easier.
A splitting maul is heavier than an axe, and its handle is longer, which makes wood-cutting very efficient. The price of mauls varies, from only $40 up to $200. You should find the best log splitting maul, with durability, functionality, safety, power, and ease of use.
Other Tools That You May Need
- An iron wedge to split logs
- A firewood cart to move the wood to your house
- Plastic wedges and a sledgehammer (or the back end of a splitting maul) to drive wedges into the wood
Making firewood from a fallen tree can be dangerous, especially when using a chainsaw. Your eyes and body may be at risk from flying wood chips. This is why you should follow the following steps to prevent injury:
- Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying woodchips and debris.
- Use hearing protection (earmuffs) and a face shield to protect you from deafening noise and flying debris.
- Wear boots, protective gloves, pants and a long-sleeved shirt to protect your body from flying wood chips.
- Read these instruction carefully just before using a chainsaw.
Making Firewood from a Fallen Tree – A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Selecting Wood
Any kind of hardwood can be used as firewood. It is safer to use trees that have already fallen down because this eliminates risks associated with falling trees. Certain types of trees produce high-quality firewood. Nut-bearing trees, like oak and hickory, are ideal, since they burn for a long period of time and give off little smoke.
Be careful when cutting trees under tension, as they hold a lot of energy and can swing unpredictably. Trees that have been lying on the ground for a long time may be rotten. While oak trees and wood with minimal rot can still be used, you should avoid trees that are rotten in the center, as they are wet and won’t burn well.
Standing trees can also be cut down for firewood. Trees with structural defects, such as little foliage or many trunks, can be cut down for firewood.
Step 2: Stance and Handling a Saw
Choose a patch of firm ground and find a good standing position. Spread your feet slightly further apart than shoulder width, so that you have enough upper-body strength to support the chainsaw. A chainsaw is heavy to hold and hard to control, so an appropriate stance is essential. Remember to sharpen your chainsaw by using a chainsaw sharpener. This will make cutting the tree much easier.
Start by filling the chainsaw with oil or gasoline. Avoid smoking and being near a fire when filling the chainsaw’s fuel tank. Place the chainsaw on flat ground. Put your right foot on the rear handle, and take a firm hold of the front handle with your left hand. Pull the starter rope until the chainsaw starts, and then hold the chainsaw with both hands.
Step 3: Cutting the Log
To make firewood from a fallen tree, you first need to cut the branches off the trunk. You can use a handy battery chainsaw to remove small branches and top branches. Do not remove all the branches, but rather leave the ones that support the trunk and keep it off the ground.
Start cutting from the top of the trunk to the thicker bottom. You should cut the trunk into 10-foot logs for easy storing and drying. When the logs are dry, cut them into 16-inch pieces. This is the perfect size for fireplaces and woodstoves. The most commonly used chainsaw is 16 inches, which will make measuring your wood pieces much easier. Once measured, cut shallow markers into the trunk.
- A Few Tips:
Check that the ground is flat to prevent the logs from rolling. To avoid accidents, you should clean the ground beforehand to get rid of debris, animal burrows, and small stones.
- Never try to cut straight through the trunk, as the blade will come in contact with the ground, blunting it. Cut 3/4 of the way through the trunk, and then roll it over to continue cutting.
- Cut large trunks at a 45-degree angle, and repeat on the other side. Once this has been completed, cut the wood at 90 degrees.
Step 4: Splitting the Wood
Check that the ground is firm enough to place the chopping block on. Place the log on the block and the splitting maul at the top center of the log. Use your left hand to grab the maul near your hip, while placing the other hand on the shaft near the top of the maul. You can also use both hands to hold the top of the shaft.
Lift the maul above your head and swing it down onto the log, keeping it straight. There is no need to do this fast, rather focus on being precise.
Some logs can be difficult to chop. If this is the case, make use of a sledgehammer. You can split the wood in half, or if the log is large, split it into quarters to make storing it easier.
Step 5: Stacking and Storing
It takes about 6-9 months for the wood to dry. There are many different ways to dry wood. You can simply leave it on the ground, but take note of the weather. Wood can be stacked along a building or even put in your house to dry.
A rack is recommended for drying. This keeps wood above the ground, preventing it from rotting. You should experiment with different stacking techniques to dry the wood. For example, stack wood with gaps between the pieces so that air can get in. Remember that wood shrinks when dried, so try to keep the pile in a stable structure to prevent it from falling.
- Read the manual carefully and mix the oil and gasoline as directed. Check it before putting it in the oil tank, as the oil can sink to the bottom. The incorrect mixture can damage your chainsaw.
- Always use a sharp chain. Blunt chain results in more dust and less efficient cutting. You can either sharpen your chain yourself or get a professional to do it for you.
- Purchase a spare chain so that you can change yours when it becomes blunt. An extra chain can be helpful when a chain gets stuck in a log. Oil your chain regularly and keep it clean.
If your chainsaw gets stuck halfway through a log, fear not! You can simply turn the chainsaw off and move it up and down until it comes loose. If this doesn’t work, remove the bar and use a second chainsaw or a hammer and a wedge to get it out.
I hope that this post gives you all the information that you need to make firewood from a fallen tree. Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck with your wood-chopping endeavors!