Tips for cutting, storing and heating
There is nothing better than the comforting warmth of a fire. Whether on cold winter evenings snuggled in front of a Swedish stove or on warm summer nights with friends around a crackling campfire. Firewood often creates the most beautiful evenings. There are two ways to get it. Either you buy it or you cut it yourself. No matter which method you choose, we will provide you with the most important information!
1.2 The safety clothes
Of course, for the proper use of the chain saw, an adequate protective clothing is necessary.
Therefore, we can recommend a cut protection trouser. It protects the front leg area from injuries. It does not matter hereby if you work with a cordless‐, petrol‐ or electric chain saw.
While wood working in the forest, wearing a safety helmet is also recommended. It protects against falling branches, offers, with the right choice of the helmet, sufficient hearing protection and additionally will gain good visibility, if you decide for a bright helmet colour.
Furthermore, a cut protection jacket and work gloves can be worn.
1.3 Legal foundations
Not only the safety clothing plays an important role in cutting wood. The legal requirements shouldn´t be forgotten.
For example, according to § 39 (5) of the Federal Nature Conservation Act, it is stipulated that trees that are outside the forest or on horticulturally used land, as well as hedges, shrubs and other woody plants, may not be felled between March 1st and September 30th. This applies to the bird protection, because at this time birds nest in the trees. Only with permission trees may be felled during this period. Gentle form and care cuts to eliminate the growth of the plants or to maintain the health of the trees, however, are permitted.
If you wanted to cut down trees, this should be best done between November and February, because during this time the wood contains only a little water and thus requires shorter drying times. You´ll be on the safe side, if you look up the local legal requirements. Furthermore individual regulatory points may vary from municipality to municipality.
1.4 Cutting firewood by yourself in the forest
In the future, of course, you can venture the way into the forest yourself. For this you only need a sensible chain saw, the appropriate occupational safety and not to forget the so‐called „chainsaw driver’s license“. This certificate can be obtained either at the community college or the forester in a two‐day course. However, before you go into the forest, talk to the local forest ranger or take part in a so‐called firewood auction. When these events take place, you will usually find them on your community´s website.
1.5 Which wood is suitable for what?
At first you should know, that not all woods are treated equaly. At the latest when you search for prices for the firewood, you will get different prices depending on the type of wood. The rule of thumb here is that the higher the calorific value of the material, the higher the price per cubic meter.
Interestingly, one does not differentiate between coniferous and deciduous wood but between soft‐ and hardwood when choosing the right kind of firewood. Woods with a dry matter density of more than 550 kg / m3 are classified as hardwoods. Under this value it is referred to as softwoods. The advantage of hardwood is its long burning time, which requires less wood, but produces more ashes than softwoods. However, softwoods develop a higher combustion temperature due to the lower wood density. Basically every tree species has its advantages and disadvantages:
Beech and oak
Beech and oak are probably one of the most classical types of firewood. Due to their comparatively high calorific value, these woods burn with a beautiful flame pattern and a pleasant smell. Beech wood is also suitable for all kinds of stoves. Therefore these types of wood are very popular but very expensive as well. Among other things, this is due to the long drying time these woods need.
Spruce wood burns off very quickly compared to other types of wood. Due to its high content of resins, this wood reaches a high temperature very quickly. However, spruce wood is unsuitable for the use in open fireplaces, the resin bubbles in the wood burst quickly and the embers splash around. The resin pollutes both the fireplace panel and the chimney. Therefore, spruce wood is mainly used for heating up storage ovens or wood gasification boilers.
The birch wood is probably the most attractive firewood. Due to its white bark, birch wood looks more beautiful than all the other types of wood. Due to the essential oils contained in the birch wood, the wood burns bluish with a pleasant smell.
2. Cutting firewood
After a successful tree fall, it is now time to take the further steps in processing of the wood.
2.1 Chain saw
First, the tree is now delimbed with the chain saw. The chain saw should always be placed sideways to your body while cutting. If you slip off you´ll avoid falling into the chainsaw. The main stem is now sawed for transport in about 1m pieces. Likewise, the larger branches are sawed.
Later put the logs on a log splitter and split them twice. Here, the stem is rotated 90 degrees after the first column, before it is split again. This results in the end four equal, 1m long wood pieces. Alternatively, you can also use a wedge to split the wood or place the trunk on a chain saw trestle. Then, as with the wood splitter, the wood piece is sawed twice in length with the chainsaw.
The trunks have now the size of the branches and can be stored for drying. (see storage) After a suitable drying time, the wood is cut with the chain saw into finished firewood logs.
2.2 Shredder / axe
The branches can be processed to wood chips with the help of a shredder and later serve as mulch. Alternatively, these can also be crushed with an ax, then dried and can later act as a kindling aid.
3. Buying firewood
3.1 Sources of supply
You can obtain firewood from different sources, but if you used the chimney the first year, you should use wood that has already been aged for at least two years with a residual moisture content of 14%. Of course, if you like it comfortably, you can buy it in the hardware store at comparatively high prices. Better quality and above all, better prices you´ll get however from local dealers. They advertise frequently in the well‐known advertisement portals on the Internet and supply you also short‐term. Usually they are private individuals who source the wood from the forest as a sideline and prepare it accordingly.
3.2 Measurement units for firewood
Those who catch up on firewood prices for the first time will stumble over cryptically sounding measurement units at first glance. These might be confusing at first time, but quite fast to understand.
Loose cubic metre (lcm)
A loose cubic metre is the amount of wood that can be thrown into a container measuring 1x1x1 meters. Here the logs aren´t stacked and thus it is compared to the cubic metre more cavities in the delivery.
Cubic metre (cm)
A cubic meter of wood is exactly the amount of ready‐cut firewood, which can be stacked exactly one meter high on an area of 1 x 1 meter. Through the stacking is relatively little cavity between the logs.
Solid cubic meter (scm)
A solid cubic meter is a theoretical cube made of solid wood with an edge length of exactly one meter. To determine a cubic meter, the log is measured and the volume is calculated. Accordingly, there are no cavities existing be the solid cubic metre.