With winter behind us and the warmer weather here it is time to think about firewood.
The fire is still the most common type of heating for rural homes and the cheapest, despite what many heating companies claim.
Doing your own firewood is very inexpensive as long as you have the right machinery and access to wood.
Then all you need is the wood!
Pine, macrocarpa and gum are the most common types of wood used for firewood as they burn hot and slow. Others like poplar and willow are a softer wood and burn hot but fast.
If you are lucky you will have your own trees or know of a farmer that has some you can use for firewood.
Tree felling is a very skilled operation. I recommend you complete a safety course of chainsaw use and tree felling if you wish to attempt this. Tree felling is probably the most dangerous thing you can do on the farm and can end in injury or death when it goes wrong.
When the tree is safely on the ground then you can start to limb-it-up (cut the small branches of the trunk) and cut it into firewood rings to suit your fire, usually around 40-50 cm.
Then you need to split the rings with the wood splitter, being careful to keep your hands away when the ram is moving. It also pays to wear gloves, safety glasses and earmuffs when operating the splitter. Split the rings to the desired size, then stack the wood in the shed and done. If possible remove the bark from the wood as this will make it cleaner burning.
The wood if green (sap wet) should be dry enough for burning in six months if kept dry and air can circulate around it. If you are real keen you can do you firewood 18 months in advance so this summer’s wood will be burnt the winter after next, this ensures the wood will be really dry and give a clean burn.
DIY advice for lifestylers, written by Kiwi Cattle Yards owner, Euan Seymour.