Firewood 101


We are digressing from food to fuel this post.  We hope you don’t mind………although we don’t often have to use firewood to cook our food, it certainly does happen when those winter storms turn us back a century to preparing our meals on our wood stove.

We had an especially wet spring with summer barely showing up in late July.  All this extra rain made us realize our aging roof could not possibly tolerate another drenching winter of 100+ inches of rain.  (Our rain forest we fondly call “the mountain” makes Portland look almost balmy and dry.  When they are getting a mist, we are experiencing downpours.)

Ah….but can we re-roof and leave all the factors that prematurely age a roof?  So there you go, or rather, there THEY go…….the trees surrounding our property making our home a small swath in the towering trees of Hockinson mountain had to be removed.

We found it very entertaining to watch the tree fellers at work.

First they remove branches.


This is why you pay money to have someone do this!

Feeling dizzy?

How about this one?

Next up is cutting into rounds.

and more rounds

and still more rounds


All this “rounding” left us with piles and piles and piles of rounds of firewood needing to be split,  stacked and covered.  We had somewhere around 20 trees felled. Our real work began.

My photographer husband has been splitting wood for us for almost 35 years.  Here are his favorite tools:  Gloves, Maul, Split wedge

Firewood 101……how to split:

Find a check mark

Tap in the splitting wedge halfway between the end of the check and the outside edge of the round.

Continuing pounding until the round is split in half. You can use the maul to pry the halves apart, if needed.

To further split the halves, a firm, hard surface works well.  A freshly cut tree stand is high enough to keep from too much bending.

These steps repeated numerous times results in a pile like this:

Unfortunately for us, all this firewood was downhill from where it needed to be stacked.  So hours and hours of moving it uphill with a combination of throwing(where it was too steep to carry), carrying (where it was too steep to wheelbarrow) and wheelbarrow-ing brought us to the pallets (the favored surface to stack wood in our aforementioned wet climate).

A level pallet, air space between rows and 6 ml plastic sheeting protects all that hard work.

If you don’t have a tree to be an end to start your stack, a crosswise stack can suffice.


We had so much wood to protect that we bought a box of 6 ml plastic sheeting 10ftx100ft; we cut on the fold lines, making four 30″ x 100 ft lengths. These strips are kept in place with small, flat head nails.

Here’s a typical row

Our stacks are Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar on the bottom, as those woods last the longest, topped with Alder, Maple and other various NW trees.

On to the roof in pictures:

Delivery Day

All ready for the crew

Men at work

More men at work

In a little over one day

Wish we could say the same about the firewood… has been an odyssey of over 5 months and counting…….but we are nearing the end.  It looks like perhaps 15 cords of wood will be ready for fueling our home thanks to the tireless efforts of my photographer husband.

Winter chill, come.







1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One response to “Firewood 101

  1. JoAnne

    enjoyed seeing all the pictures !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s