Sunday, June 11, 2017

Using prunings as fire wood

Success at last using prunings as firewood. In the past when using pruned / chopped down wood, it has been still green/wet when burned, even though it had been ageing for two years in dry conditions!
In removing trees, I would chop off the leaves, then cut the firewood to length while still in situ, before stacking. The large bits were chopped with an axe. What really perplexed me was that the large axe cut pieces would dry. But the small diameter bits would still be wet.
What I found out, is that the bark was keeping the moisture in. So with a high moisture level, and small area of ends of the wood, it was trapping in the moisture. Where as in splitting up a log, it would have at least half, if not two thirds not covered in bark. Thus lots of area for the moisture to dry out from. 

Thus the greeness needs to be sucked out by the leaves first before cutting up. So I have changed my system, and it know works perfectly. It is as follows:

With pruning (mostly citrus) or cutting back nitrogen fixers and/or hedges, the larger bits are left in the sun until the leaves significantly wilt. I try not to let them go brown as then the branches are harder to cut. But it is somewhat ad hoc.
Foreground is the mostly chopped back Tree Lucerne and the back is newly felled. It takes a lot longer in winter to dry the trees out, compared to summer. As much as that is expected, it has surprised me.
Then I take loopers are trim everything off that can be easily cut with loopers / secateurs. They are then transported to a pile someplace to age a year.
This pile is then cut up, currently by daughters with electric scissor like chain saw and stacked into the shed in summer for winter us.
Tree Lucerne stacked over citrus pruning.
Close up of last Spring's citrus pruning. What you might just be able to make out is that the bark on some of these is peeling, and degrading which shows it has dried out well.This produces wonderfully dry wood, giving high burn temperatures and of course being smaller diameter highly efficient burning.

What is even better is that my slave labor aka teenage children can do a large proportion of the work, once I have done the initial pruning and selection

Gave my teenage daughter who was earning money for an overseas school trip a stick showing ideal and maximum length. She did a much better job of cutting to length than I ever do! Then stacked it for us. 
Probably cost us more than say commercial production, but that isn't always the point is it !

I will upload a nice fire photo and a thermometer shot when we restart the fire, since the day hasn't been that cold.....

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