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Firewood

Posted on January 6th, 2013

January is a great time to be outside splitting wood for next season and beyond.  I really like to have all of my wood split, stacked and under cover because it burns so much cleaner and hotter.  Today was another nice day to be working outside, highs in the mid 20s with plenty of sunshine.  Given the number of honey locust on the south edge of the timber, I (and my friends) should have plenty of nice firewood for years to come.  Honey locust gets a fairly bad rap from most people, given the nasty thorns and early succession and invasive nature.  Once they are established as the dominate tree in a stand, the only way to get desirable species to survive is to girdle or remove the honey locust.  For this a deserved “bad rap”.

This week, some friends and I cut up a storm damaged honey locust.  The tree was downed during an early April windstorm, and unfortunately the tree top landed directly on my access roadway.  After removing the tree top from the roadway, I left the trunk and main branches for firewood. The trunk was just over 20″ in diameter, with nice straight grain.

Downed Honey Locust

As firewood, honey locust is a very nice option, once the thorns are removed.  The wood has a high density, and very high BTU rating, estimated between 25 and 27 million BTUs per cord by most sources.  The wood generally splits and stacks very nice.

With the proper equipment splitting wood can be a lot of fun.  Many years ago I was fortunate to be able to purchase a custom (home-made) splitter from a friend and work colleague, Doug Houser.  The splitter has produced hundreds of cords of firewood, and has never seen a burl or knot that it could not handle.  Doug did a great job building this unit, starting with its Ford Mustang engine, hydraulic pump and long stroke cylinder.

Houser Manufacturing Wood Splitter Hard at Work

The sun has set for the evening, we enjoyed a nice venison dinner, our fireplace is burning brightly, and after a nice day outside, I am sure I will sleep well tonight!