Fire fuel for heating - what do you use?

sumi

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We're heading into the colder months now, so my mind is on fuel for the fire for winter. I'm looking around for a good source of timber (logs) for my little wood burner, as I'm planning to use only that for heating over winter and I am not able to go out and collect wood in time. It's not big, but it gives off so much heat, once it's been going a few hours it's almost too hot in the room and the heat travels around the house and upstairs well.

Besides buying in wood, what I like to to do, to save money, is collect as much free wood as I can. Pallets, windfalls in the forests, etc. When we lived on the coast we used to walk on the beach every day, picking up driftwood, which made fantastic fires, once it dried out (and did not stink when burning). That saved us a lot of money!

And since I'm in Ireland now, I also learned to burn "turf", which are cut from the peat bogs here. A local company, Bord Na Mona, compresses the turf into neat briquettes for burning, as can be seen here, with a natural piece of turf:

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When I first came here the thought of (and smell of) turf fires didn't appeal to me, but I caught on to the idea quickly and love it now. I plan to go into the bog and cut my own tuft sometime before winter sets in :)

What do you all use for fuel for your fires? Do you collect, grow, or buy timber? If you buy, where? Do you make your own fire starters, fire logs etc?
 

NH Homesteader

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Oh I wish that were feasible for us. We go through 5-6 tons of wood pellets a winter. If we switched to wood it would still be aboutm 5-6 cords... Collecting that much wood sounds like a nightmare!

The turf sounds really interesting, never heard of such a thing!
 

Mini Horses

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Well, we don't have bogs like Ireland anywhere that I am aware of over here. For my area, we often can get free wood from companies who hire out to clear right of ways for utilities, roadways, etc. It requires you to go to a location where they can load your trailer. At home you process a needed.

You also have to consider the method of burn for your stove. Here we have many with pellet stoves. I no longer have a wood burner of any kind. But daughter has a fireplace that is a unit with blower, etc. (a Heatilator) We collect downed trees & limbs from the wooded areas around us, neighbors who have such down & no burning stove, etc. Often that is enough. I pull large pieces out with tractor, or we cut & carry to area we can get to with. LOT of work.

Last year a co-worker had a tree come down and she gave it to DD. Huge tree. Luckily, a neighbor had cut it into more manageable pieces and I went with truck & trailer to help her get & load....then unload. she has a splitter and it was enough to carry thru end of last yr and probably all of this year. Our chainsaws are smaller but worked will after the man with big saw had cut tree trunk originally.

Do you have anyone with trees down that would give them to you? Do you have a way to cut/carry them? These issues are always a consideration. With so many stretches of housing with only a fireplace here, sales of cut & delivered wood is huge. Expensive, too.
 

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If you have local ads, Sumi, I'd place an ad for free wood....folks in town who have had trees cut down or that went down in a storm usually don't have a way to dispose of them and have to pay to do so. Many would LOVE for someone to haul it all away for free.

We have trees down here we cut and split, my Uncle Jim had a big oak cut down last year and gave it to us...we gathered workers, went over and split that big mammoth, bringing it home for winter wood. He had another two oak fall down this season and has cut them up for us, so it's waiting over there to be split and hauled.

Sometimes we pay for a double load of seasoned oak to be delivered ($300) so we can mix it with the soft woods we cut and split here. It varies from year to year....last year the wood guy we had used that was reliable cheated us on the delivery and never delivered the second load, even though Mom paid him $50 more than he asked for. They didn't answer our calls, one time I got through to the wife and she said they'd been busy and would get to it. Never happened.

Won't use him again.

Mostly we gather our own. We heat exclusively with wood for the winter.
 

Chic Rustler

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We have electric heat. I really need a wood burning stove!
 

sumi

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Trees worth of wood for free would be hard to come by here! I have a friend that deals in timber (for building) and knows everyone that has anything to do with wood in a few counties it seems. I plan to bug him soon to find out what he suggests I do :)

Beekissed, you are well organised with trees you can cut yourself for wood :thumbsup

Chic Rustler, you do! Those things are great.
 

Britesea

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@Beekissed, if you paid that son-of-a-seacook with a check so you have proof, you ought to take him to small claims court. Even if you don't feel it's a lot of money, he needs to learn that such behavior is not acceptable.
 

Beekissed

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@Beekissed, if you paid that son-of-a-seacook with a check so you have proof, you ought to take him to small claims court. Even if you don't feel it's a lot of money, he needs to learn that such behavior is not acceptable.
We contemplated it. She paid him with cash but we had his call that my brother intercepted saying he had only delivered half the load and would be bringing the other half.

But...in the long and short of it, it was worth the money lost to not have to fight over it, even if we could have brought him to justice...in his own county, filled with people in office that are his relatives.

Best to leave him to the Lord, Who is not slack in taking revenge on those who would harm His children.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. Psalm 68:5

The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. Psalm 146:9

 

Hinotori

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We burn douglas fir and cedar since that's what's available here. Almost everyone here has some sort of wood burner. Even the mid-range apartment we lived in had a fireplace.

We found the cheapest to buy wood is from a local landscape company. They mulch the crap like cottonwood and only sell the good logs as firewood.

I do collect deadfall from our trees and from along the railroad tracks after storms. The railroad cuts fallen trees off the tracks and toss them to the side. They are happy for people to remove it.

I know a few people who go out with a pickup and chainsaw after storms and remove trees from roads and offer to people in town to remove their fallen ones for free.

We're probably going to get a permit from the army base to collect wood from their slash piles. They use the actual trunks if they take down a tree, but with all the trimming of giant firs they do, there is plenty of big limbs. One permit is good for one trip up to a max of a cord. It's free but they want the wood shared and no one collecting to sell.
 

sumi

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I looked around at what's on offer and asked my landlord this morning if he can recommend someone to sell me me load of timber. He spoke to a man that came late afternoon and after some negotiating I ordered a small truck (lorry, not pick-up) load for e200.00. That is not bad and he said he'll bring me a "good load" of logs. I'll add to that with whatever I can find for free, but for knowing I have a stash I'm happy to pay for a load :) (Plus it beats the hell out of the e500 and heaven only knows how much on electricity I spent last winter!) And I still have my eye on the bog as well… ;)
 
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