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How To Chop And Store Firewood

How To Chop And Store Firewood

This DIY video expertly covers the basics of how to chop, stack, and store firewood in the most efficient and safest way possible. Get answers to all of your questions about firewood, from the best tools and wood to use to building a log sled; all aimed at keeping you and your family warm this winter. Brought to you by the experts in country living, http://www.progressivefarmer.com and sponsored by John Deere.

Hi, I'm Dan Miller, Senior Editor with Progressive Farmer magazine. Today we're going to talk about cutting and stacking firewood. Now there's a lot of opinions out there on how to do this, but I'm just going to show you what works for me. The bottom line is this. Have fun, but be safe. Well, I've already got a load cut. We've got a lot more to go.

Step 1: Setting Up

To hold your log steady and also to keep your chainsaw to the ground, we came across this great idea. We call it the log sled. It's a very easy project to build and we're going to show you how to do it.

Step 2: Log Sled

To build the sled, we're going to use 3, 6" x 4" x 6' timbers. I'm also using 4, 12"x1/2" concrete anchor bolts. Drill several 5/8" holes into the center of each timber, about halfway through. Make sure you space the holes evenly.

Step 3: Log Sled

Take the third timber and cut it in half. Cut a notch on both ends. The notch should be wide enough to slide over the other timbers. Cut another notch into each timber half. This is to cradle the logs. Now drill 5/8" holes all the way through the timber halves. They must match the position of the holes you've already drilled in the other timbers.

Step 4: Log Sled

Lay the halves over the two full length timbers. Push the anchor bolts in tying all three pieces together. By using the other holes, you can adjust the sled to the size of the log. That's the whole project.

Step 5: Safety Advice

Okay, we're ready to cut our first log, but let's talk about chain saw safety. Here's a few things you want to wear; safety goggles, earplugs, heavy duty leather gloves, a long sleeved shirt, close fitting jeans, steel-toed boots, and a pair of safety chaps.

Step 6: Chain Saw

Let's talk about the length of the log. What I usually do to get a consistent size log is measure by the length of the chain saw bar. As I cut, I keep my feet about shoulder width apart and keep good balance. Don't forget to keep that escape route clear. Also when you finish cutting that splitting log, push it clear of your work area.

Step 7: Splitting The Wood

There are a lot of different opinions about splitting wood, but I'm going to show you what works for me. I have two types of mauls here. This one's heavy and also has a very wide top. It's good for splitting thick logs. This maul's a little bit lighter, but these wings also make it a good splitting maul.

Step 8: Splitting The Wood

As you're getting ready to split a log, picture it's on pretty level ground. Also, look for cracks in the log. These are good targets for your maul. This is a larger log. I made my swings to the outside. It's difficult to split one this size right down the middle. It's better to cut off pieces by working around the edges. You want to make sure that each piece is less than 8" wide.

Step 9: Splitting The Wood

There are some logs that just aren't going to split for you. Maybe there's an old branch sticking out that just makes splitting difficult. This is where you go to the wedges. Here's a new wedge. Here's the one I've had for years. I really like this one. The idea here is to put the wedge into a crack if you can find one. You hammer it in about an inch and then you go to the sledge hammer. Keep driving the wedge down into the log. I've even driven wedges below the surface. It's work, but your aim has to be pretty good. And be careful. If that doesn't work, use a second wedge. Drive it down into the log on the opposite side of center. If all else fails, you can remove the wedges and cut the log down the center with the chain saw.You've cut logs and you've split those logs.

Step 10: Stacking The Wood

Now let's stack them. You want to create a pile that will dry quickly.