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Trying to optimize firewood processing

float89

float89

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Northern Michigan
Attached is a current birds eye sketch for what my place looks like around the firewood and boiler situation. I burn around 10 cord/yr if it's a cold one. The past few years I cut at the pile and "sort" for splits vs stack. All splitting is done from near the log pile and then I load and run everything over to the stack area. I have always either used a small 4x8 trailer or my garden tractor with an even smaller yard trailer. I have been trying to think of ways to make it more efficient.

The location of the delivered wood is pretty much where it has to be. There is no room for it between the stove and stacks (The picture isn't well scaled in that area). Along side the stacks or behind the garage is the garden area so that doesn't work either...

I am getting closer to a purchase of a compact tractor and my only idea is to maybe use pallet forks and bring the logs over to the pile to cut/split/stack right in one location.

Anyone have any input as to how they might approach my scenario?

Layout - Wood.png
 
ericm979

ericm979

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I have a single area for bucking splitting and stacking though I have only 5 cords stacked, not the 10-20 you would want.

I'm burning trees from my property. I carry logs from the field to the splitting area with a grapple on the tractor. Split wood gets stacked into IBC tote cages or on wooden platforms made from large pallets on blocks. (I want to build a wood shed but it hasn't happened yet). I use forks on the tractor to carry totes up to the house. A 275 gallon tote can hold about .4 of a cord if you stack it a little high to account for shrinkage. With green dense hardwood that's over 2000 lbs. It's nearing the limit of what my tractor can handle both loader lift wise and weight wise, and the tractor weighs more than the usual compact tractor. IBC totes are not the most space-efficient way to stack wood since they're only 4' high. But with them I can save some handling.
 
NorthernMaverick

NorthernMaverick

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Only thing I could add is to run a hay/grain elevator or a conveyor of some sort from the wood pile to the stacking area (across the front of the garage). You can get a 50 foot one fairly reasonable at auctions sometimes. Then you could cut/split, throw it on the belt/ chain, and then go stack it when you have a pile. Otherwise, I'd say you have a pretty good system as it is.
 
Ted Jenkins

Ted Jenkins

Firewood by TJ
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Attached is a current birds eye sketch for what my place looks like around the firewood and boiler situation. I burn around 10 cord/yr if it's a cold one. The past few years I cut at the pile and "sort" for splits vs stack. All splitting is done from near the log pile and then I load and run everything over to the stack area. I have always either used a small 4x8 trailer or my garden tractor with an even smaller yard trailer. I have been trying to think of ways to make it more efficient.

The location of the delivered wood is pretty much where it has to be. There is no room for it between the stove and stacks (The picture isn't well scaled in that area). Along side the stacks or behind the garage is the garden area so that doesn't work either...

I am getting closer to a purchase of a compact tractor and my only idea is to maybe use pallet forks and bring the logs over to the pile to cut/split/stack right in one location.

Anyone have any input as to how they might approach my scenario?

View attachment 929332
Float what I see you are completely wasting your time. If all you are concerned about is having a reasonable system to handle and process ten cords of wood then stop while you are ahead. A small garden tractor should have no problem pulling around a 1/2 cord trailer. Often a small garden tractor will need some ballast in the front to maintain four wheels on the ground. No need to worry about a bigger better tractor. Your trailer should have some means with side boards and such that volume wise can handle 1 1/2 cords of wood because that is what is needed for 1/2 cords of loose wood thrown into a trailer. It takes time to stack so do not stack until you have reached your stacking area. A conveyor is really nice when chain does not have any broken links except every year the thing needs maintenance. My point is your system does not sound all bad just the way it is only maybe with just some small adjusting. I have spent most of the past fifty years building trailers that are better bigger and easier to load. Now I also have tractors that are really needed then they sit for a few years. My point is it is tough to keep a mega amount of equipment running to be efficient. Thanks
 
float89

float89

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Float what I see you are completely wasting your time. If all you are concerned about is having a reasonable system to handle and process ten cords of wood then stop while you are ahead. A small garden tractor should have no problem pulling around a 1/2 cord trailer. Often a small garden tractor will need some ballast in the front to maintain four wheels on the ground. No need to worry about a bigger better tractor. Your trailer should have some means with side boards and such that volume wise can handle 1 1/2 cords of wood because that is what is needed for 1/2 cords of loose wood thrown into a trailer. It takes time to stack so do not stack until you have reached your stacking area. A conveyor is really nice when chain does not have any broken links except every year the thing needs maintenance. My point is your system does not sound all bad just the way it is only maybe with just some small adjusting. I have spent most of the past fifty years building trailers that are better bigger and easier to load. Now I also have tractors that are really needed then they sit for a few years. My point is it is tough to keep a mega amount of equipment running to be efficient. Thanks

Thanks Ted, I agree with you. At some point you have to weigh out what is worth managing in order to save time in what you are trying to accomplish. I do somewhat loosely stack on the trailer and you make a good point to say only stack at the final destination. It makes simple sense!

The tractor upgrade is not only because of firewood. I have an entire list of other uses to justify the tractor and at this point it is becoming more and more evident in many different areas. I guess I am also trying to think of how to incorporate that tractor into the firewood process when I get one.

Tom
 
moresnow

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Float what I see you are completely wasting your time. If all you are concerned about is having a reasonable system to handle and process ten cords of wood then stop while you are ahead. A small garden tractor should have no problem pulling around a 1/2 cord trailer. Often a small garden tractor will need some ballast in the front to maintain four wheels on the ground. No need to worry about a bigger better tractor. Your trailer should have some means with side boards and such that volume wise can handle 1 1/2 cords of wood because that is what is needed for 1/2 cords of loose wood thrown into a trailer. It takes time to stack so do not stack until you have reached your stacking area. A conveyor is really nice when chain does not have any broken links except every year the thing needs maintenance. My point is your system does not sound all bad just the way it is only maybe with just some small adjusting. I have spent most of the past fifty years building trailers that are better bigger and easier to load. Now I also have tractors that are really needed then they sit for a few years. My point is it is tough to keep a mega amount of equipment running to be efficient. Thanks
Definitely some words of wisdom to be gleaned here:cool:

I've tried talking myself into processing equipment upgrades every year. Larger garden tractor/real tractor, skid loader, 3/4 ton truck/dump truck/dump trailer/more saws/bigger saws etc. etc. etc. For efficiency reasons only as it turns out. For example last year I moved my wood for the season in old school fashion. Honestly it all came from the woodlot up to the house in a 2 wheel plastic tub wheelbarrow. 2 to 4 loads a morning. Amazing how good it felt when 4 cords were up at the house! I did it at 4AM so nobody would see me and confirm there previous (likely) thoughts on me being a bit firewood crazy:surprised3: I was up and awake anyway!

This story has little to no value to @float89 in his quest but illustrates what can still be done by hand in today's machinery assisted world! Carry on.
 
Ted Jenkins

Ted Jenkins

Firewood by TJ
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Thanks Ted, I agree with you. At some point you have to weigh out what is worth managing in order to save time in what you are trying to accomplish. I do somewhat loosely stack on the trailer and you make a good point to say only stack at the final destination. It makes simple sense!

The tractor upgrade is not only because of firewood. I have an entire list of other uses to justify the tractor and at this point it is becoming more and more evident in many different areas. I guess I am also trying to think of how to incorporate that tractor into the firewood process when I get one.

Tom
Float if you can use or have uses for a bigger better tractor then bigger better tractor. In my situation I have a nice Skid Steer but has been sitting the last few years and now needs quite a bit of work. At some point one needs plenty of equipment then there are times when a couple of people can do some sweat and complete job in a couple of days. At the moment I have no use for my nice Skidsteer because it takes my dump truck to move it where it is needed. The only thing that has any use is a smaller Garden tractor that will drive right into the back of a pickup. Thanks
 
Big_Eddy

Big_Eddy

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Attached is a current birds eye sketch for what my place looks like around the firewood and boiler situation. I burn around 10 cord/yr if it's a cold one. The past few years I cut at the pile and "sort" for splits vs stack. All splitting is done from near the log pile and then I load and run everything over to the stack area. I have always either used a small 4x8 trailer or my garden tractor with an even smaller yard trailer. I have been trying to think of ways to make it more efficient.

The location of the delivered wood is pretty much where it has to be. There is no room for it between the stove and stacks (The picture isn't well scaled in that area). Along side the stacks or behind the garage is the garden area so that doesn't work either...

I am getting closer to a purchase of a compact tractor and my only idea is to maybe use pallet forks and bring the logs over to the pile to cut/split/stack right in one location.

Anyone have any input as to how they might approach my scenario?

View attachment 929332

It depends how you like to work. Do you want to have a block party and cut your whole log pile, then split it all the next weekend? Or do you like a nice clean work area so each time you cut, split and stack? And how big are your logs!
My suggestion, assuming 14” or smaller logs, would be to cut then move blocks by trailer, and locate your splitter so you can stack right off the splitter. That way you move 1 block instead of 4 splits from A to B and when you pick up each split from the splitter, you stack it onto the pile instead of into a trailer to pick back up a second time later.
Current
1 block to splitter
4 splits to trailer
4 splits to pile

Proposed
1 block to trailer
1 block to splitter
4 splits to pile.

In our case, I cut blocks in the woods and bring them home. I locate the trailer or loader bucket so I can roll blocks directly into the splitter with almost no carrying, then as the splits exit the splitter, they are placed directly on the stack.

It is a LOT less work than splitting the blocks in the woods and stacking splits from the trailer, although it does result in splitter trash in the driveway instead of the woods.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
cantoo

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If you search my name you will see some of my equipment. I have several splitters, a processor and multiple conveyors. I don't need it all but I want it all. I also have staging tables/ stands for logs as I have a sawmill. I also use these for firewood log storage. I use a custom made 36" stroke splitter for my 32" long boiler wood and a Wallenstein processor with conveyor for my 16" long splits that I sell.
 

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morewood

morewood

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I changed some things in the last couple years. Logs and rounds are in the same area. I now split and throw in one of my many military trailers. Sometimes we'll stack, but not always. Stacked it'll hold 1.5 cord. Put the bows on and a tarp then park it. I'll pull it up to the OWB when the other one is empty. I keep working on touching it less. I'll get a pic when I get home.

Shea
 
Sandhill Crane

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Stack it where you cut/split it.
Move it to the boiler when you burn it.
Purchase a Kory 3000 nursery wagon (4' x 8', 3,000 pounds gvw, about $1,300., guessing) to move several days or a weeks worth to the boiler, hitched to your car or truck, quad, garden tractor or whatever you have to pull it with.

Edit: I mention a nursery wagon because then you don't have to deal with a trailer tongue jack, tail heavy or tongue heavy trailer. The nursery wagons are big enough to be useful, but not so big as to be an issue. The flat deck is a nice height, and can have removable sides to hold a load, yet easy access.
Mine has become a rolling work bench, but comes in handy for lots of things. This past spring our son built a deck, using the wagon to move materials and work off of, cutting (5) 18' stair stringers.
IMG_4003.jpg

IMG_5160.jpg IMG_5166.jpg IMG_5159.jpg
 
Ted Jenkins

Ted Jenkins

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Here in California there is no flat ground to speak of. I often set up the splitter below a pile of logs to be cut and split. Some times I will take some cedar logs which make nice retaining walls and raise an area a bit. I park a pickup below the retaining wall. I place a chute near where the wood is split. As I am splitting I will throw wood into the chute then it slides into the back of my pickup and then take it to another area where there is a chute and unload it. Once I have a splitting area established I can drag logs from as far away 800 feet and not have to worry about loading. Two guys can process as much as six cords in a day and have it moved to where ever it will be stored. Thanks
 
woodchuckcanuck

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20210601_113532-firewood-eastonmade-gina.jpg

Stack in crates right off the splitter and then move the pallet to its destination. When you need it, pick it up and put it right next to the boiler. Tip: If you get frost and snow, don't put the pallets directly on the ground, put some blocking under. The pallet freezes to the ground and if you pick it up, the bottom boards (and nails) will come off the pallet and stay firmly in place until spring thaw.
 
Sandhill Crane

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Yup, same experience with pallets frozen to ground. I get calls early in the spring, that I turn down for this very reason. I send them pictures because the ice can stay till June several rows in. The snow goes through several thaws from the sun and refreezes on the ground. IMG_4601.jpg
 
woodchuckcanuck

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Yup, same experience with pallets frozen to ground. I get calls early in the spring, that I turn down for this very reason. I send them pictures because the ice can stay till June several rows in. The snow goes through several thaws from the sun and refreezes on the ground. View attachment 934143
How's that Posche machinery working for you? I looked at them 2 years ago, $22K to get just the wrapper bit. Was too pricey for me.

We used slabs off of the sawmill mostly for putting under the pallets.
20210511-firewood-slabs-bundled.jpg

20190715-firewood-crates.jpg
 
Sandhill Crane

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When I got serious about going ahead with the Posch purchase I emailed the US distributer. No response.
I emailed the Canadian distributer. They wanted shipping from Austria, which put it in the price range you are talking.
Way out of my reach at $22k.
A year later my wood racks needed serious repair and a change was in order.
I had imagined doing 100 chord per year, which became my base for comparison,
which for me was the large bags or the Posch.
I had no experience with bags except what I was reading.
I emailed Posch in Austria. The next day I heard from Mike at Northeast Implement in Spencer, NY. There was a problem with my first emails to him and they were never received.
I paid $900. shipping from NY to southwest MI for the Posch, turn-table base, and a pallet (64 count) of netting.
Netting was $100./roll pallet rate or if I remember right $160. roll single roll price. I borrowed a little money and included the pallet of netting. That was four plus years ago.
I tried double stacking the first year with little success. After some trial and error, and extension forks, I now double stack by using two pallets on the top row. The first pallet is upside down, as the top of the pallet gives more support on the uneven surface of the bottom row of pallets. The top pallet is rotated 90° so the stringers crisscross, giving further support. That works good, however wood needs air and sun.
The comparison. I had no idea how long the bags would last or hold. I picked a number for both. They would last three years and hold 1/4 cord. So, 100 cord x 4 would cost about 4k, and every year replacement cost would be one third of that do to damage or uv. I also assumed I could sell the Posch after five or ten years. That both systems required the same number of pallets, so that was a wash. And that if I did more than 100 cord/year, bag cost would increase and Posch bundles would decrease by reducing the initial investment per cord cost. If 100 cords increased to 200 cords produced, bag costs double and Posch cost drops.
I do stack from the Posch loose bundles into the dump trailer. That takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours per cord. Each pallet is right on at 1/4 cord stacked out, sometimes a 1 cu. ft. bundle or two over. IMG_6268.jpg IMG_6005 (1).jpg
 
woodchuckcanuck

woodchuckcanuck

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When I got serious about going ahead with the Posch purchase I emailed the US distributer. No response.
I emailed the Canadian distributer. They wanted shipping from Austria, which put it in the price range you are talking.
Way out of my reach at $22k.
A year later my wood racks needed serious repair and a change was in order.
I had imagined doing 100 chord per year, which became my base for comparison,
which for me was the large bags or the Posch.
I had no experience with bags except what I was reading.
I emailed Posch in Australia. The next day I heard from Mike at Northeast Implement in Spencer, NY. There was a problem with my first emails to him and they were never received.
I paid $900. shipping from NY to southwest MI for the Posch, turn-table base, and a pallet (64 count) of netting.
Netting was $100./roll pallet rate or if I remember right $160. roll single roll price. I borrowed a little money and included the pallet of netting. That was four plus years ago.
I tried double stacking the first year with little success. After some trial and error, and extension forks, I now double stack by using two pallets on the top row. The first pallet is upside down, as the top of the pallet gives more support on the uneven surface of the bottom row of pallets. The top pallet is rotated 90° so the stringers crisscross, giving further support. That works good, however wood needs air and sun.
The comparison. I had no idea how long the bags would last or hold. I picked a number for both. They would last three years and hold 1/4 cord. So, 100 cord x 4 would cost about 4k, and every year replacement cost would be one third of that do to damage or uv. I also assumed I could sell the Posch after five or ten years. That both systems required the same number of pallets, so that was a wash. And that if I did more than 100 cord/year, bag cost would increase and Posch bundles would decrease by reducing the initial investment per cord cost. If 100 cords increased to 200 cords produced, bag costs double and Posch cost drops.
I do stack from the Posch loose bundles into the dump trailer. That takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours per cord. Each pallet is right on at 1/4 cord stacked out, sometimes a 1 cu. ft. bundle or two over. View attachment 934163 View attachment 934164
I like that a lot. Good idea with the double pallets. I can confirm the stacking time into the trailer. When the wife and I stack 3 cord into the back of the truck (necessary to fit in 3 cord) it take about an hour 15 min to put in 12 crates (each 1/4 cord).
The quote I received was from a company in Quebec.
Assuming you figured out how many feet you use per roll?
Have you done any comparisons on how well the air flow through to assist in drying?

I have a roll of hay bale netting, similar to that style, that I purchased from a local co-op store. Use it when someone comes through the drive thru and has an open trailer.
20210604_171115-drivethrough-firewood.jpg
 
woodchuckcanuck

woodchuckcanuck

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..
The comparison. I had no idea how long the bags would last or hold. I picked a number for both. They would last three years and hold 1/4 cord. So, 100 cord x 4 would cost about 4k, and every year replacement cost would be one third of that do to damage or uv. I also assumed I could sell the Posch after five or ten years. That both systems required the same number of pallets, so that was a wash. And that if I did more than 100 cord/year, bag cost would increase and Posch bundles would decrease by reducing the initial investment per cord cost. If 100 cords increased to 200 cords produced, bag costs double and Posch cost drops.
...

Factoring in material cost and capital cost, what do you figure your cost is per pallet wrap?
 
Sandhill Crane

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All good questions and will respond tomorrow.
Out of town this past weekend so numbers were not available and I did not wish to go by memory, and unknowingly mislead anyone.
Late yesterday we got the grandkids, five and eight. I think today is a school holiday, maybe bank and postal too.
 
Sandhill Crane

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First off, I've gone through my folder and although I've no correspondence from the Canadian Posch importer, I had reference to $4,600. shipping cost, assuming 20' container from Austria to MI. My first contact with the US importer resulted in no reply, an email glitch, perhaps on my part, so I contacted the Canadian importer out east. Months later I contacted Posch Austria by email, and the US importer, Northeast Implement, Spencer, NY replied the next day. They did not have one in stock, but shipped from Austria with other equipment.

April 2016.
Z9900500 (1) roll of netting, 5,905 lin. ft. $160. ea.
Z9900501 (1) pallet, 64 count, 5,905 lin. ft ea. $6,400.
Netting label is 60 cm x 1.800 m (I'm assuming the decimal point should be a comma)
Circumference is 2(pi)r; r = 2'; 12.56'
5,905/100.48 = 58.77 pallets, using eight wraps.
Eight is very conservative for wrapping/seasoning. For transporting I covered with a canvas sock.
I have wrapped 58 pallets with a roll, but have settled into eight wraps to get good overlap. I don't know that two full wraps are needed to start, but that's what I do, stop snd staple to pallet to keep from crawling when initially lifting drum. About eight inch overlap, depending. There are two levers for wrapping. One is wand speed, one is column lift. After initial two wraps I do full wand speed which is moderate, and focus on overlap with column lift speed.

Cost of netting per pallet: using $100./roll of netting and a very conservative 50 pallets per roll. $2.00/pallet (actual 50-58 per roll)
Capital equipment cost: April, 2016
Note: Posch has a very detailed online catalog. Google Posch catalog.
-M7360S stand alone unit with Honda engine $9,830.
-TH rotating sub frame with additional fill barrel. $5,925.
-Shipping from Spencer, NY to Grand Rapids, MI terminal (including pallet of netting) $900.
Total: $16,655. (in addition, $6,400. for 64 rolls of netting.)
I have done 1050 pallets approx. @ four pallets per cord. 262.5 cord.
The math, $63.45 per cord.
Combined Capital and consumable: $63.45 + $8.00 = $71.45 plus pallet cost per cord.

Obviously not cost effective at this volume per year, but the numbers give you something to go by for comparison, understanding these are 2016 prices.
Additionally, there is equity in the equipment.
If I sold the unit for 10k, the per cord price changes from $63.45 to $25.36.
Or if I doubled overall production $31.73 capital cost, $39.73 total cost per cord.
Then again cost on netting may have risen and have an opposite effect of falling capital cost. But the price of bulk bags has likely gone up as well.
There was one surprise/disappointment that proved mute. It did not come with a Honda engine for whatever reason. It has a B&S. No one likes surprises, but it has been a great engine, starting/stopping each pallet wrap. An additional hope was three pallets per cord. It takes four pallets per cord, cutting 16" lengths, and comes out near spot on, sometimes a cu. ft. bundle or two over. The fill drum volume is larger than bulk bags, yet bulk bag people insist three bags per cord. I'd had have to see that stacked out personally. cylinder vs rectangular, maybe surface volume?
At any rate, the more you do the less it cost vs the opposite with bags. In my case, with lower volume, bags may have been cheaper.
I did not include pallet cost. It varies here. I have only used 48" x 48", other sizes are sometimes free. Pine pallets sitting on gravel last three years, and quickly deteriorate. Pine often fails when initial splits drop from conveyor, making it difficult to get forks in pallet. There are pallets with wings. The stringers are inset from side, which the netting can catch on two sides, making stapling necessary only on the other two sides.
The is very well built, designed and very well finished/painted equipment. It has spent one winter in our garage, one winter in a container. The rest of the time, including winters, it's outside in the elements uncovered. The deck fasteners are stainless. I remove the deck panels and clean once a year. No rusted/frozen bolts. This is built for outdoor use, no corners cut. It is a pleasure to use, and beautiful finish. If anyone is considering one, you are welcome to see it, to run it for yourself.
Your equipment may also be a factor. Green oak is 5,800/cord and a pallet is 1/4 cord. Perhaps your doing soft woods at considerably less weight, but in the case of a tractor and Oak, one would most likely need a forty horse tractor to lift 1,450 pounds.
Rain day today in southwest MI. IMG_3411.jpg IMG_3412.jpg IMG_3618.jpg IMG_3625.jpg IMG_3620.jpg IMG_3622.jpg IMG_3628.jpg IMG_6311.jpg
 
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