Obtaining Firewood When the Grid Goes Down
When the grid goes down how will you get your firewood?
There will be plenty of working chainsaws for felling timber and cutting trees into logs, but the sound of chainsaws can carry for miles.
I’m not sure I’d want people to know that I had the ability to cut firewood, when they may not. It could lead to some tense interactions or disagreements.
There are some quieter, old school methods of obtaining firewood. These tools have been used successfully for centuries, but you have to use the proper tool for the job.
Knowing which tool to use for the job, requires a basic understanding of turning trees into firewood.
Turning trees into firewood:
- Felling a standing tree, or locating fallen timber
- Cutting the timber into convention logs sizes
- Splitting the large logs into manageable firewood sizes.
Felling a Standing Tree
Felling axes are used to chop down standing timber (trees). They are designed to cut across the grain of wood, and need to be very sharp, to be able to efficiently cut the fibers.
Felling axes can come in single or double bit (the bit is the cutting edge of the head) and in many different weights, shapes, handle types and cutting geometries to match the characteristics of the wood being cut.
Cutting the Fallen Timber into Logs
A crosscut saw (thwart saw) is a general term for any saw blade for cutting wood perpendicular to the wood grain. Crosscut saws may be small or large, with small teeth close together for fine work like woodworking or large for coarse work like log bucking, and can be a hand tool or power tool.
A modern bow saw is a metal-framed crosscut saw, in the shape of a bow, with a coarse wide blade. It is a rough tool that can be used for cross-cutting branches or small logs into firewood.
Hatchet or Hand Ax
A hatchet is a single-handed striking tool with a sharp blade on one side and a hammer head on the other side. Hatchets may also be used for hewing when making flattened surfaces on logs.
A hand axe, which many times is confused with the hatchet, is a small axe meant to be used with one hand.
Splitting Logs into Firewood
A splitting axe is usually a larger axe, or an axe with a head, designed to chop and split.
A splitting maul also known as a block buster or block splitter. It is a heavy, long-handled wedge shaped axe used for splitting a piece of wood along its grain. It is similar to a sledgehammer combined with an an axe. They are very effective due to their weight and shape.
Green and Seasoned Firewood
Green wood is wood that has been freshly cut from recently standing timber. It’s hard to ignite, but will burn longer then seasoned firewood.
Seasoned wood has been cut and has been stored for a couple seasons, it ignites easier than green wood, and burns faster and hotter.
You may want to burn a mixture of green wood and seasoned wood to give you longer burning times and to ration your seasoned wood, to make it last longer.
Always inspect your chimney and wood burning stove or fireplace regularly to ensure it’s in proper working order and to check for signs of creosote and other build up.
If you have a wood stove or fireplace, then you should be all set to use your firewood. If you don’t a wood burning fireplace or stove, and can’t install one in your current home, then maybe you can pick up a tent wood stove (camping wood stove) and put it away for an emergency, or even install it in an outdoor shed or your garage.