My Whizbang
Firewood-Cutting Holder

Dateline: 24 November 2012

(click picture to see an enlarged view)
  
We built our house 27 years ago with a wood stove as the only heat source. I bought a used Vermont Castings stove, put it in the living room, and that has done the job for all those years. It’s simple, efficient, and reliable.

The only drawback is that our 1.5 acres of land did not provide enough firewood  for us to be fuel self sufficient. So I’ve bought firewood from my neighbor every year.

But all of that changed this year. With the acquisition of 16 acres of land right next to our place, containing a woodlot of around 5 acres, we are now fuel self-reliant. It’s a downright good feeling.

Of course, I have to cut the wood, and haul it home, and split it. But that’s okay by me. I love to work in the woods and I’m a firewood cutter from way back (my parents heated their home with two wood stoves and we cut our own wood). 


My wife, Marlene, is my #1 helper. She helped me cut and haul firewood back when we were dating in high school, and here we are so many years later, out working in the woods together. I feel young again cutting firewood with Marlene. It’s a beautiful thing.

This essay is about my latest idea for easily cutting the long lengths of firewood that we haul out of the woods and bring back home. It’s easier to carry a length of small-diameter tree out of the woods and throw it into to the wagon than it is to carry numerous already-cut-to-firewood-length pieces. So I end up with various lengths of wood that need to be cut up at home.

Cutting so many smaller-diameter lengths on the ground is a pain. Putting all the lengths up on a sawbuck of some sort makes it easier, but that’s still a pain. So I got to thinking.... and came up with the device shown in these pictures.

The T-posts are 7' long (around 6' high once pounded in the ground) and wired together at the top to prevent spreading (I have lots of t-posts because I use them to make garden trellis supports in my garden). The posts in the picture are 16” apart, which is the length that I cut my firewood pieces to. The post  on the left is positioned 16” from the center of the 16” span. The pictures below tell the story pretty well.


I cut the outlying wood to 16" lengths until I'm left with what you see in this picture, which is short lengths of wood about 32" long.

And here you see the final cut has been made directly down the center.

This idea is still new and can be improved. I think the single t-post on the left needs to be out of there. That way I can center the long lengths in the 16” span. They will stack and balance themselves better that way.

I plan to lay a board or log on the ground, maybe 10 ft long, and mark off 16” increments, beginning in the center of the 16” t-post span. Then I’ll just start on each end of the stack and cut towards the center, visually eyeing up my saw with the 16” increments on the bottom board. And my last cut will be right down the center.

And that's all there is to it.



P.S. 
 .
I think this is an original "whizbang" idea on my part. But who knows, I might have seen it somewhere in the past, and subconsciously filed it away, and just think it's my own original idea. When you get to be my age, you can do that sort of thing pretty easily. So if anyone reading this has seen this idea elsewhere, please post or e-mail me about it and I'll give credit where credit is due. Thank you.

Oh, and by the way, for those who don't know, "whizbang" is a dictionary word that means, "conspicuous for speed, excellence, or startling effect."

UPDATE 
30 November 2012


"Here I was with a stack of small “logs” that I had from clearing a trail in my bush,  I was trying to stack them in a pile that wouldn’t be too bad for cutting and along you came with your post.  Spent an hour and knocked together a couple of jigs – it all worked great!  I just stacked all the pieces in the jig and my son-in-law came along and cut them.  I often mill a bit of wood, and we cut up the slabs for firewood, so these will work great for that job.  I might build a 3rd one to handle the longer stuff. Thanks for the inspiration!"
(from Rob M. in Canada) 


10 comments:

Deelight said...

Herrick,

Having been a regular reader of your blog for a while now, just wanted to send thanks for the smile...getting to read the definition of "whizbang" was a great coup de grace for your article.

Joy in the journey,
Deelight

Owen Family at Far Better Farmstead said...

Thanks Herrick! I use T-posts in my woodshed to make an "end" on the open end - that way I don't have to taper my pile down on that end. I will try your idea as well.

Brenda Tremblay said...

That's a brilliant idea! The Lord has gifted you with an inventive mind. I love seeing the ideas that you come up with!

Joanna said...

My husband made something similar but out of wood and I think he got his inspiration from the internet. I thought I had a picture of it online but can't seem to find it at the moment. I think it is more a case of great minds think alike :)

Colo5ac said...

So it is time for me and my boys to build a Whizbang Garden Cart. My wife found your how to book on Amazon.com. Before she orders it from that site, I thought I would ask, do you benefit from the sales on Amazon? I want to be sure that our purchase will be sending support your way.
Thanks!

Larry3228 said...

Wood burners should check out hearth.com for unlimited ideas on managing stoves and wood.

My variation on the wood holder is 18" wide (just short of my 20" bar) and about 6' long. There are 5 uprights spaced 16" apart. I can fit 20 or more smaller logs into the holder so I can fill a whizbang garden cart in just a few minutes. If the logs are longer than the holder, the extra length just gets put on the stack a 2nd time.

Larry

Darren (Green Change) said...

It's kind of a variation on the old sawbuck, made much simpler since chainsaws don't pull on the wood like the old crosscut saws used to.

I've seen them around the net, and use one myself.

Here's the variation I think I first saw:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/do-it-yourself/cutting-wood-zmaz88sozgoe.aspx

Using timber uprights (e.g. tomato stakes or saplings) instead of steel T-posts is a bit safer, just in case you happen to touch one with your chainsaw.

cntrydad said...

Hi Herrick:
Great idea! I made mine out of wood, so it's portable and it keeps the wood off the ground so it easy to cut to the bottom without hitting the dirt. Your timing was perfect as I had a pile of small logs waiting to be sawed up. I'll email you a picture.

Herrick Kimball said...

So it turns out my idea is far from original!

Here's a hotlink to the Mother Earth News article of the idea: A Wood-Cutting Rack Makes Cutting Wood Easier

And here's the link to a list of articles at hearth.com: Articles on Hearth Fuels and Hearth Products

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I think I'll stick with the t-post uprights (I have lots on hand) and expand the number of uprights, at 16" apart.

Lady Orpington said...

My husband is out cutting wood RIGHT NOW using this idea! Thanks for sharing Mr. Kimball!