The Need For Good Firewood

Living in the Northwest, or any part of the United States really, so long as there is no danger of starting any fires, gives people a chance to start a fire when the weather gets cold to save on money. There is really nothing quite like a great fire, the warmth from a good fire is so much better than heat coming from an electric or house heater. People may say that well…heat is heat….but people have been sitting next to fires for so many thousands of years and many people are captivated by the hypnotic effect it has on many across the world. I believe as well that fire does give off other spectrums of light other than just heat which is why it may instinctively draw people toward itself.

The money savings you get from cutting your own firewood are another benefit of having a source of your own heat. Savings may even go into the hundreds of dollars per month on heating bills and the equipment which I will write about in this article may go a long way in helping to save hundreds of dollars in the right conditions. I hope you will enjoy seeing how a day out with the right equipment went in gathering wood for the coming winter. Added to this, for those artistic enough to try you may want to try your hand at woodstacking which gives another value if you would like an artistic endeavor to venture into.

Check out this video:

So we’ll come back to that after I show some of the pictures of the day cutting wood. I have an idea that does definitely help me in doing repetitive tasks and may be of great use for the time it takes to stack all that wood and make it all the more enjoyable.

Cutting the wood for firewood from log to usable firewood in Hood River

Log with Woodchuck Tool
Log with Woodchuck Tool

Now from the above photo you can see the size of the log was quite a good size log, not sure off the top of my head the size of the log, but I’ll show you what happened when I lifted the log with this tool. This tool is awesome, I love it, as you can see it lifts this log and holds it up so that we can chop it into some good firewood rounds.

Woodchuck tool with log
Woodchuck holding log off the ground in Hood River, OR.

As you can see in the above photo, it did a nice job of holding the log off the ground so that we can cut it.

Chainsaw with measure
chainsaw with measure

As you can see from the above picture we also have this little nice piece of equipment, the chainsaw measuring stick, this neat little device has a magnetic attachment that sticks on your chainsaw bar and you can automatically measure the length of your cuts. This picture in particular was just for demonstration of this neat little device. We actually didn’t use it except to manually measure some of the logs.

Bucking Logs with Recommended Equipment

Below is a small gallery of the result of using the Woodchuck, chainsaw measuring device, and the Oregon Gas powered chainsaw. As you can see the white fir was bucked into some nice rounds. The Woodchuck was wonderful to use.

Dead bloodsucking fly
Dead bloodsucking fly

During this critically important mission there arrived an uninvited guest. A dear or horse fly, not sure which at the moment I write this nor do I care. The point is that this little beast tried to suck our blood and as every effort was made to appease and appeal to his good judgement and go away he would not. Sadly, we had to do the unthinkable and swat him and lay him to rest on this log, his body somewhat desecrated for the enjoyment of our readers. I put his body on the log and put that log under the woodsplitter and ceremoniously crushed it with the full might and power of a woodsplitter. Although we would have gladly parted ways he did not end his attempt at my blood so I feel my actions were completely in self defense. I do not advocate the killing of bugs for the sake of killing I would have let this little bug go, but his attempts proved to me that he was out for my blood…..and that is no figure of speech. I hope he finds the peace he most likely never found in life. I made sure his body went to fertilize the local plants so that we all may enjoy more firewood later. Sadly I never knew his name.

The next step was to splilt the rounds into usable firewood. Seeing as the fly was gone and no other intruders were about that wanted to suck our blood, we set about to split the wood using this gas powered wood splitter. I tried and somewhat unsuccessfully to use a “hookaroon” and “log tongs”. The below pictures show what I am referring to. I found the hookaroon to be a bit more successful in transferrring the logs to the area where we split it using the machine. I tried using the tongs, but the rounds were a bit too big for that.

As mentioned I think the tongs were not helpful, I tried to pick up the big rounds using the tongs but they either would not pick up the large sized rounds or they would fall instantly so I transferred the big rounds using the hookaroon there. The brand is the Fiskars Hookaroon, and while the rounds were a bit cumbersome to pick up the hookaroon worked great to drag the rounds to area. I also did just roll a few there, but I thought I’d mention if you had to work with such big rounds the hookaroon seemed to work fine unless you want to roll them.

By the way, the picture below shows how you can use the log round to use as a great step into the back of a truck. No need to use a step ladder or stair like they sell, just cut your own and you have a way of easily stepping on and off of your truck. You may notice the grassy area all of a sudden the picture below was taken to unload the truck so at a slightly different location than where we bucked the logs.

Log round as truck step
Using a log round to step into truck
Split round for firewood
split round for firewood.

Next step, we actually split the rounds using our log splitter and again I tried the Fiskars Hookaroon vs the log tongs. They actually both worked quite well on this task, but I still found the hookaroon to work slightly better at this as well. For starters with the hookaroon, you don’t have to bend over at all really you can just hit the firewood pieces at the end and the hookaroon sticks right in and allows you to pick up the pieces and throw them in the truck without much hassle. Sure, there were and some that fell after you hit it, but for the most part the hookaroon is very impressive. The log tongs worked great as well, but you had to slightly bend over still and pick up the pieces and sometimes I found the tongs the firewood piece just rolled out of it, like there wasn’t much grip and I had way less errors with the hookaroon than I did with the log tongs. That is not to say they tongs were bad, I believe they are a step up from just using your hands as they save your back more than just if you were to use your hands to pick up the split pieces, its just the hookaroon was for me the better piece of equipment I’d rather work with.

The one downside about the hookaroon was that I felt that sometimes the hookaroon stuck too well and then you have to fight a bit to get the piece off of the hookaroon. The log tongs shined in this way, you never had to fight to unstick the tongs from the firewood piece. So, a small advantage for the log tongs. Either way I recommend both pieces to have. I remember there was a time when the log tongs came in very useful. My father and I had to carry some heavy maple pieces, they were about 8 to 10 inches in diameter and maple is very heavy, so using the tongs we both carried the piece with no problem and this would not be possible using the hookaroon. So, there is use for them if not even to carry some heavy long pieces.

As another note, I did bring another piece but I didn’t use it very much but maybe another time I’ll write a bit more about it and that is the Log Ox. This piece is interesting as you can use this to carry large rounds and use it like the Woodchuck to lift heavy logs as I mentioned earlier. The Log Ox is something I am very much looking to use and review at bit later, but I did actually try to use it to carry a round or two and it did work, its just that it seemed easier to just roll the pieces but it did work as advertised I felt.

We threw a few rounds to split later into the truck, but we split a few as well. The rounds we threw into the truck are you can see here:

Log rounds in Truck
Log Rounds in Truck in Hood River, OR.

Here is the end product of our labors for the day:

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article about the day out in Hood River, OR and how we bucked some white fir logs into rounds and then next into useable firewood. Please click on some of the link to the suggested products and I hope you get as much use out of them as I have. They are very useful and go far in your efforts to find, cut, and make your own firewood.

For the Woodchuck:

For the Fiskars Hookaroon:

For the chainsaw measuring stick……I’m sorry I could not find it on Amazon, but keep checking from time to time just type in chainsaw measuring stick and there is a magnetic stick you can put on your bar.

For the log tongs you see here, they are only 19.99 as of this writing:

I have used this helmet as well and I do recommend it. For me it has worked great:

As mentioned earlier, there are other ways to have fun with cutting, stacking and managing your firewood. For starters, as I mentioned in the begginning of this article one way to have some fun with it is to get creative and make some interesting wood stacks. I have seen books in Powells Bookstore on the subject, there are apparently competitions on woodstacking that you may want to try.

Just look at some of these images on Pinterest I found:

And on another website:

The following article is good, but annoyingly you have to keep clicking to see the images, but they are impressive:

What are some of your thoughts, comments and questions about cutting firewood?