The easy to get firewood are pretty
much gone and I'm forced to go deeper into the woods. I've been
using a 30' chain to skid the logs out with my truck but that's
getting more and more difficult. The terrain is too steep for
a tractor so I've been looking at winches. The typical electric
winch one sees on truck bumpers are inadequate for this application.
The retrieval rate is too slow, about 10' per minute at best and
the truck needs to be running to keep the batteries from draining
winch appear to be the solution. The one I have been looking
at use a nylon rope of any length with a retrieval rate from 40'
- 60' per minute. Pulling power is over a ton and double that
with a snatch block. It's powered by a Honda gas engine mated
to the unit and is easily portable weighing in at about 35 lb.
My 89 Chev. farm and wood truck
The two most popular saws around
here are Stihl and Husqvarna. I prefer Stihls, they seem to start
easier and built a tad better. I bought a Stihl 041Super in 1976
and it still starts and runs good. The model has been discontinued
for a while now and parts are no longer available except on Ebay.
That being too much hassle I bought a new MS361 model for $609
in 2009 from a Stihl dealer. It's better built and more powerful
than the consumer brands sold at big box stores like Lowes and
Home Depot. The saw has very good power to weight ratio and so
far it has been dependable, no problems. The only thing to note
is that for me the engine flooded easily and made it tricky to
start cold, however it's predictable and easy to figure out.
Stihl 361 chain saw |
Shindawa electric chain saw
I also have an electric chain saw
as an emergency backup saw. Can't use it in the woods but very
convenient around the house. The electric motor provides instant
high torque and with a sharp chain cuts better than you would
expect. I knew a old time mill operator who used it for trimming
the three sided logs he cut for cabin building. He said that was
the way to go.
The key to cutting wood is the sharpness
of the chain. I've seen people file chains razor sharp free hand
but I've been terrible at it all these years. I've had moderate
success using a manual chain sharpener but for me they tended
to move around on the bar enough to make it difficult to be consistent.
Perhaps I lacked patience and I ended up procrastinating and putting
off sharpening till the chains become nearly useless. I ended
up buying two or three new chains online each year so I wouldn't
have to sharpen.
After accumulating over a dozen chains
I did some research and bought an electric chain sharpener from
Northern Tool for about a $100. It's a Chinese copy of an Oregon
machine branded by Northern Tool. It's built well and works good,
a big step up for my wood cutting.
Manual chain sharpener |
Northern Tool electric chain sharpener
I keep in shape during the winter
by chopping wood and I enjoy it. I find it very fulfilling but
I can see that perhaps in about ten years it may become too arduous
to chop significant amounts quickly. I've been thinking about
getting a wood splitter. From my experience hydraulic splitters
are too slow and overly complicated. I've recently discovered
splitter that works by a rack and pinion mechanism.
has a great idea an electric powered mechanical (rack and pinion)
wood splitter that run off a solar panel. This is something I
would like to put together.
Then there are the big flywheel machines
with the splitting blades welded or bolted right on the flywheel
like the one in the video below.
"World's Fastest Wood Splitter"
It's fast alright but looks dangerous.