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Author Topic: stacking up wood  (Read 1594 times)
richcoulterjr
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« on: April 04, 2011, 08:15:44 AM »

i do not have a fire place but have been thinking about outdoor cooking alot. i see alot of ads on craigslist of poeple more or less begging you to come and remove trees from their yards. from this i got a couple of questions.

1. in a SHTF situation would it be possible to use my large BBQ pit as a wood burning stove inside the house provided i rigged up some sort of chimeny of course?

2. how long does wood need to dry out before being used?

3. has anyone made homemade charcoal and could you explain to me?

4. being it is no longer cold enough for us to worry about heat in my house, if i were to go ahead and start stocking up on my wood pile, would stacking against my house add any sort of insulation advantage?


im sure ill have more questions on this subject as the thread goes on.


thanks a bunch

rich
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fuzzy
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2011, 10:05:16 AM »

I might have a little input on how dry does the wood need to be.  I've always heard that a still-standing dead tree makes the best wood for a furnace/stove.  I just took down a huge white oak that has been dead for about 3 years, or longer.  I got 2 pickup loads of wood out of that one tree.

If you are going to cut green wood, it needs to be kept in the dry for at least a year, away from your house.  That brings up your question about stacking wood against your house for added insulation.

I don't know what part of the country you live in, but where I live (South Central) that is a definite no-no.  Case in point, that old oak that i cut down that I mentioned earlier, was loaded with termites up to about 4 feet off the ground.  Around here people will stack wood close to the house in the winter, but move any wood left over away from the house in warm weather.

Hope this helps a little.
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richcoulterjr
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2011, 10:25:07 AM »

yes that helps alot. didnt think about the termites. would the same apply for making a seasonal type fence\boundry line with the stacks?
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oldsoldier
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2011, 01:57:22 PM »

i do not have a fire place but have been thinking about outdoor cooking alot. i see alot of ads on craigslist of poeple more or less begging you to come and remove trees from their yards. from this i got a couple of questions.

1. in a SHTF situation would it be possible to use my large BBQ pit as a wood burning stove inside the house provided i rigged up some sort of chimeny of course?

3. has anyone made homemade charcoal and could you explain to me?im sure ill have more questions on this subject as the thread goes on.thanks a bunchrich

 Question 1.       I'd say no. first of your average BBQ pit is not designed for burning wood, nor is it meant for long term use like a wood burner is. First off they aren't heavy enough metal, Also there is to my knowledge and cost effective way to safely vent them. In addition to the smoke issue your also looking at toxic fumes as well and the risk of smoke inhalation issues. You'd be better off to get a "sheet metal" cabin stove you can store until needed and vent with a pipe out the window in an emergency. You can find stoves like that for a couple hundred dollars.

 Question 3.   Charcoal is basically partially burned wood. If you've had a fire while camping or whatever, those black chared chunks of wood left is basically a crude form of charcoal. 
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atomic17
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2011, 06:03:33 PM »

Question 1.       I'd say no. first of your average BBQ pit is not designed for burning wood, nor is it meant for long term use like a wood burner is. First off they aren't heavy enough metal, Also there is to my knowledge and cost effective way to safely vent them. In addition to the smoke issue your also looking at toxic fumes as well and the risk of smoke inhalation issues. You'd be better off to get a "sheet metal" cabin stove you can store until needed and vent with a pipe out the window in an emergency. You can find stoves like that for a couple hundred dollars.

 Question 3.   Charcoal is basically partially burned wood. If you've had a fire while camping or whatever, those black chared chunks of wood left is basically a crude form of charcoal. 

To elaborate on question three, thats crude and lousy charcoal. As a rule of thumb, heres how the expression goes:

Fire burns with the heat-> hot fire, crappy charcoal
fire burns against the heat -> crappy fire, great charcoal

I know that sounds wierd but thats the underlying principal of good charcoal as i understand it. You want to fill an oil drum with wood, then light the TOP on fire so that the direction of burn is the opposite of the direction the heat travels.

If that sounds hard to fathom, thats ok. just use google; there is a LOT of good advice online about how to make charcoal in an old oil drum.
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fuzzy
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2011, 08:06:33 PM »

yes that helps alot. didnt think about the termites. would the same apply for making a seasonal type fence\boundry line with the stacks?
  I guess making a seasonal boundary fence with the stacked wood is the same as moving the winter left-overs away from the house.  As long as the wood stack is not close to the house, it's all the same.

In the winter time I stack wood (about 10 ricks) around (green) and under(dryed) a covered patio next to the outside furnace with no problems for the last 11 years.  As destructive as they are, termites are amazingly fragile. Hope this helps.
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mczosnek
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2011, 08:31:29 PM »

Rich,

You need to be careful and know what kind of wood you're getting, some ornamental trees are toxic if burned and can kill you even if vented properly, down in Texas Oleander is one of the highly toxic ones used everywhere.  Oldsoldier's suggestion of a cabin stove is a great one, but as far as I know they are designed to burn wood not charcoal which does burn hotter.  I know that the traditional way to make charcoal is to create a large smoldering fire buried under a pile of earth.  It will burn slowly for several days and then you will have charcoal.  I have never seen information on making charcoal in an oil drum but it does sound like it might work and give you a bit better charcoal.  Also some woods make a better charcoal than others, hardwoods like oak tend to char better than pine.  If you're really wanting to know how to do it let me know, I have some books that cover it a bit (one of the handy things about being a Blacksmith) but I would need to reread the sections to give you a more detailed response.
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atomic17
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2011, 05:04:23 AM »

Rich,

You need to be careful and know what kind of wood you're getting, some ornamental trees are toxic if burned and can kill you even if vented properly, down in Texas Oleander is one of the highly toxic ones used everywhere.  Oldsoldier's suggestion of a cabin stove is a great one, but as far as I know they are designed to burn wood not charcoal which does burn hotter.  I know that the traditional way to make charcoal is to create a large smoldering fire buried under a pile of earth.  It will burn slowly for several days and then you will have charcoal.  I have never seen information on making charcoal in an oil drum but it does sound like it might work and give you a bit better charcoal.  Also some woods make a better charcoal than others, hardwoods like oak tend to char better than pine.  If you're really wanting to know how to do it let me know, I have some books that cover it a bit (one of the handy things about being a Blacksmith) but I would need to reread the sections to give you a more detailed response.

I actually learned (ish) how to make the charcoal under the pile of dirt thing, but its very slow, its messy and unpleasant and you need three people on hand at all times. 1 keeps watch, the other two stay within shouting distance. And it can take DAYs before its done. Your better off with an oil drum. Shipping pallets if they are untreated are a good source of hardwood...
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oldsoldier
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2011, 07:00:23 AM »

Thanks for elaborating atomic, You explained better than I could.
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If I can help one person to get prepared, If I can through my knowledge and prevent them from making the mistakes I have made. If I can help just one person to obtain the knowledge that will save their life or the life of a loved one. Then I will know that the time and work I have invested was and is worth every minute spent.
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