Electric Chainsaw Work in the Forest (For prepper’s?)

I am using dyed diesel instead of gasoline to cut trees in the woods. The Winco tractor generator helps power my electric chainsaw. I wanted to see if it was possible to gather firewood with an electric chainsaw, and it was. However, I have found it more feasible to use the gas powered chainsaw to cut logs to length and then use the thumb on the tractor to bring the logs to the woodshed and use the electric chainsaw to buck the wood there.

The reason why is the Winco tractor generator trailer has a difficult time backing up in the woods.  If I was to do it all over again, I would possibly prefer a carry all attachment versus a trailer.  I found that a 12 gauge, 100 ft. cord worked just fine and I did a single wrap around the generator to prevent me from pulling it loose.  I didn’t trip over the cord because I was focused on not doing so, but I did find that the cord could easily get caught up in the branches.

Why a cord over a battery pack?  Here’s my reason why; a battery powered chainsaw has about 20 -30 minutes of life before it needs to be recharged.  When gathering firewood, I spend hours cutting it; I don’t have time to hike back to the house and charge my batteries every 20-30 minutes for an hour and half of down time.  These battery operated chainsaws are for quick hedge or limb work, not gathering 4 cords of firewood. The plug-in will operate indefinitely as long as it has a power source.  I used the Winco PTO generator to see if I could collect wood beyond the reach of my home’s power.  It worked, and it did really well.

Why for prepper’s? I remember attending a living sustainability shows, many preppers would attend as well, and the wood gathering “fear” was their chainsaw would not operate if gasoline was rationed.  I wanted to prove that a person does not have to resort to hand powered crosscut saws to buck firewood.  In desperate times when the tractor is down, a person could use an axe or crosscut saw to bring a tree down, and hopefully, use a beast of burden to drag it out of the woods and buck in place at the solar powered off grid home using an electric chainsaw.

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The Helpful Woodshed … know how many cords of wood all season.

Collecting firewood is a hard task to do each year.  It may be a sustainable source of heat, but it is not sustainable work for the human body.  When I built our woodshed, I designed it to easily keep track of how much wood we have stored, and how much we are using throughout the season.

After a few years of collecting and storing firewood, I wanted a woodshed that could easily state how many cords were left during the winter season.  Each of my rafters represents a cord of wood since the walls are exactly 8 ft wide and 8 ft high.  The rafters are 2 ft a part on center.  Since I cut 14-15 inch rounds, it takes about 1 and half stacks of firewood to make 1 cord.  We try to gather between 8 and 9 cords of firewood each year, but this includes the wood we did not burn from the previous season.  This year we burned about 7 cords of wood and had only a cord and a half left.  So, we gathered a little more than we burned last year and hope to possibly have a few cords to carry over into the next firewood gathering season.

We burn primarily birch, ponderosa pine, and lodgepole pine.  Each year we gather firewood, we are working to thin and make a healthier forest on our property.

Sometimes I do wonder if gathering firewood is sustainable.  As I grow older, I rely more heavily on tools to help me do the task.  Perhaps, if I used these tools earlier in life, my body would not be aching as bad as it does now.   As my wife and I think about what life will be like in our elderly years.  I could see us ordering a log truck of wood and bucking, splitting, and stacking ourselves for a while.  If it becomes too much of a hassle, I’ll make sure I finish the radiant floor heating, and we’ll use propane to warm the house in our retirement years.

Please feel free to share how you gather firewood for the winter season. I am always looking for easier ways to do it.

Thermosiphon equals free hot water

In this blog post, we created a video which explains how we use thermosiphon to heat our domestic hot water through our wood cook stove. We have received requests to create a video post which walks through the process.  We hope you enjoy the video and our attempt at creating a Youtube presence.  Our channel on Youtube is Living a Sustainable Dream. We would appreciate your support by subscribing to our channel and liking our videos.  This will encourage us to keep making more videos in the future.

Thank you for your support, and may you have a very Happy New Year.

Mark & Krista

How to fell a hung up tree

Holding on by a thread... The birch tree was leaning against a neighboring tree in this precarious position.

Holding on by a thread… This birch tree was leaning against a neighboring tree in this precarious position.

During one of the bad wind storms last  year, I noticed an entire birch tree partially broke at the base of the trunk.  The tree continued to live, but it was hung up on another birch tree and couldn’t fall completely to the ground.  Even though the tree was still living per se, it was a continuous hazard and could fall during the next windstorm or breeze depending on the strength of the tree it was leaning against.

I decided it was time to take it down completely, but I didn’t want to risk cutting the tree down that it was hung up on.  Too dangerous.  Amazingly enough, I was going to unhang the tree without using a chainsaw, axe or any cutting tool.  Instead I was going to use two log chains and a newly purchased tool, a 2 ton come-a-long.  This is also dangerous to do, and I took my time studying the situation before I attached the chains and started pulling.

Being pulled in different directions... This birch tree is being pulled by gravity, the 2nd chain on the right, and the come-a-long and 1st chain pulling the support tree on the left.

Being pulled in different directions… This birch tree is being pulled down by gravity, the 2nd chain on the right, and the come-a-long and 1st chain pulling the support tree on the left.

The first chain I hooked up was to pull the fallen tree away from the support tree it was hung up on.  I attached the chain to the fallen tree and a sturdy tree nearby.  I then used the come-a-long to ratchet the tree away from the support tree using the chain connection I set up.  However, this did not work, and so I had to add another step.  I then used my second chain to support the fell tree to the nearby tree just ratcheted,  and I unratcheted the come-a-long and first chain.   I then took the first chain and come-a-long and hooked it to the main support tree and hooked it up to a sturdy tree nearby and pulled the support tree in the opposite direction, knowing the falling tree was still secured and pulled in the opposite direction with the second chain.

Ready for the next job... I have two log chains 1, 3/8" x 14 ft. and the other 5/16" x 20 ft. Above is the already stressed come-a-long.

Ready for the next job… I have two log chains 1, 3/8″ x 14 ft. and the other 5/16″ x 20 ft. Above is the already stressed come-a-long.

As I ratcheted the support tree, I could hear popping noises from the branches up above and a few branches began to fall to the ground.  I was aware this was a strong possibility, so I was wearing my hard hat I use for felling trees.  I also brought a thick old towel to throw over the come-a-long just in case the cable was stretched beyond its 2 ton limit.  The towel could add needed time to my escape from a possibly snapping cable if the come-a-long broke.  However, the towel was not needed this time.  Shortly after tightening the support tree, the falling tree finally gave way and fell to the ground.

Safely down... The tree is safely down without the need of cutting. Thanks to the chains and come-a-long.

Safely down… The tree is safely down without the need of cutting. Thanks to the chains and come-a-long.

Once the tree was safely down, I began bucking it into small rounds to be split and stacked in the woodshed.   The felled tree was showing signs of deterioration and probably would not have survived another winter.  It was better to collect the firewood now to prevent an accident from the next storm.  Also, I don’t like seeing potential firewood going to waste.