Montana Outdoors

August 15, 2017

Firewood season

Filed under: Winter, Wood cutting — Tags: , , , , — montucky @ 3:35 pm

Yesterday for the fourth time I received delivery of a full logging truck of logs to provide wood for my winter fires. For anyone who ever wondered what 30 tons of firewood looks like, here are a few pictures:

Firewood logs

Firewood logs

Firewood logs


And here are the tools used to turn the logs into firewood:

Chain saw

This saw has cut three loads like this in the past decade. I take very good care of it! It will take somewhere around 2,000 cuts to turn these logs into 16 inch blocks (called “rounds”) which will then have to be split.

7 pound splitting axe

This seven pound splitting axe has been in use since about 1975. I take good care of it too. I replaced the hickory handle several years ago and after it was carefully fitted to the axe and sanded smooth, it has received 20 hand-rubbed coats of Linseed oil. It slides like fine silk through my hands.


It will take about 6 pair of these, but that’s still cheaper than all of the bandaids and other medical supplies that would otherwise be needed.

The eventual results will be:

…..Three Montana winters enjoying a nice, warm house, independent of electricity (which is especially nice when there is a mid-winter power outage), and there will be plenty on hand if someone else needs it in the midst of a cold winter…..

…..All of my muscles will be firm, my hands hard…..

…..I will sleep very well at night…..

…..The heating cost for the whole house will be $400 a year…..

…..And most of all, the consummate satisfaction of having done the work myself!…..


The trees are Lodgepole Pine harvested during a logging operation in a cutting area about 100 miles west of my house, about 17 miles off the highway in the area of Gem Peak at an elevation of about 6,000 feet. They are all dead and dry trees, no good for turning into lumber. Eventually they would burn in a wildfire anyway and that would actually create far more more smoke and particulates than in my wood stove which uses a catalytic combuster and burns very clean.

The longer logs are 50 feet in length, weigh around 1,000 pounds (454KG) and are 18 inches (4.6 decimeters) in diameter at the base.


  1. […] via Firewood season — Montana Outdoors […]


    Pingback by Firewood Season–Montana Outdoors: | By the Mighty Mumford — August 15, 2017 @ 3:42 pm

  2. Your logging report is very impressive and comprehensive. It appears that you have tried it before 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Hanna — August 15, 2017 @ 3:50 pm

    • Yes. Wood has provided our main source of heat here for about 25 years now. I do enjoy the work and the exercise keeps me in good health and feeling good!


      Comment by montucky — August 15, 2017 @ 4:18 pm

  3. A very good idea, as long as you’re able to handle it. Doing all this work will ensure that you can handle it longer than you would if the only exercise you got was to cross the room to flick on the furnace. A healthy project. We burn wood too and it’s a cozy source or heat in the winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — August 15, 2017 @ 4:30 pm

    • Yes, I think it is a great source of heat. If you really feel the need to get warm you can move close to it and warm right up.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — August 15, 2017 @ 5:01 pm

      • I spend a lot of time in front of our woodstove. I’m always cold. The Captain complains it’s too hot and I’m too cold. Moving closer to the stove is a wonderful option.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by wordsfromanneli — August 16, 2017 @ 9:08 am

        • Exactly. I would have one even if it wasn’t the main source of heat,

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by montucky — August 16, 2017 @ 12:20 pm

          • We have an electric furnace and heat pump that doubles as an A/C but we always use the woodstove to take the chill off and the family room where it sits is where we spend most of our time.

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by wordsfromanneli — August 16, 2017 @ 12:29 pm

            • That’s a good way to do it. My mains source of heat is wood, but I do have a couple of small oil heaters that will actually heat the whole house by themselves.

              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by montucky — August 16, 2017 @ 1:11 pm

  4. Source OF heat (not OR heat). Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — August 15, 2017 @ 4:31 pm

  5. Terry:

    Where’s the Bengay ointment?



    Comment by Anonymous — August 15, 2017 @ 4:42 pm

    • If I go out a get some, want to come over and split some wood?


      Comment by montucky — August 15, 2017 @ 5:01 pm

  6. Very impressive indeed. I don’t envy you the task of sawing it up and splitting some of it with an axe. You must be incredibly fit from this task, let along your hiking and heart health 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — August 15, 2017 @ 6:39 pm

    • It’s something I enjoy doing and especially enjoy the warmth during the winter. I think that physical activity commensurate with an individual’s ability to engage in it always produces a helpful result.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — August 15, 2017 @ 7:53 pm

  7. I can see you enjoying many a cup of hot chocolate next to the fireplace thanks to these!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by de Wets Wild — August 15, 2017 @ 8:46 pm

  8. Sounds wonderful, Terry!!

    Good for you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by seekraz — August 15, 2017 @ 9:18 pm

    • I’m very happy to have it. As it was last year, the fires and fire conditions almost prohibited going out and cutting firewood. Maybe by the time this log deck is gone things will get back to more normal…or not!


      Comment by montucky — August 15, 2017 @ 9:25 pm

      • We never know,do we?

        I meant to ask you…have been thinking about this since reading the post, as I don’t think you mentioned it…but how do you negotiate those huge logs on your own? Do you just start at the top of the pile and cut your chunks out of them, or do you hook a chain to them to separate them one at a time for cutting/chopping off of the pile?

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by seekraz — August 27, 2017 @ 8:22 am

        • Sawing is the fun part. Very dangerous (but far less dangerous than driving on the highways), and therefore the most exciting. I spend a lot of time studying the log deck, identifying which logs are holding back the ones above and below them. Rule number one… don’t ever turn your back to the log deck! It’s easier to saw at waist level, so I don’t try to separate the logs before sawing. This deck had quite a few rather loose logs at the front of it and so I worked on those first. I cut the free ones first, making sure that they aren’t anchoring the higher ones. Once I have made sure that the whole deck is stable (using everything I know about physics and geometry), I will then go to the top and saw up the top ones (16 inch blocks). Then it’s just a matter of working on each one at a time. I usually saw 3 or 4 cords and then split them and move them to my wood pile. I always saw alone because then I can give my full focus to maintaining the stability of the deck without having to be concerned about what someone else might be doing or if they are in harm’s way. This is the fourth load that I have had, so this seems to work for me.


          Comment by montucky — August 27, 2017 @ 10:26 am

          • Thank you for the explanation, Terry…have given this quite a bit of thought, for some reason, maybe just thinking about you being out there alone tackling the huge job. The manner you described makes great sense. And what a sense of satisfaction it must give you, as well. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by seekraz — September 17, 2017 @ 3:03 pm

            • Yes, it is satisfying. Now there is a touch of snow on the tall mountains, and the work is even more satisfying with winter coming up.


              Comment by montucky — September 17, 2017 @ 8:04 pm

  9. They say it keeps you warm twice; first while cutting and splitting then while burning … Talking of burning, doesn’t pine generate a lot of soot?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by naughtyhiker — August 15, 2017 @ 10:55 pm

    • Dry Lodgepole doesn’t seem to have a lot of soot when I burn it, but the catalytic combuster might have something to do with that. Poderosa does though. I also burn some fir, but Lodgepole is my preference.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — August 16, 2017 @ 8:52 am

  10. I remember Your previous post presenting firewood. That is a lot of firewood. When we loved on countryside, my need was about 8-9 cubic meters for one year. I used birch. Thank Your for tis interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — August 16, 2017 @ 12:28 am

    • I would like to burn some birch, but there is very little of that here. Lodgepole pine is plentiful and it burns well. It’s also easy to split.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — August 16, 2017 @ 8:54 am

  11. I cut fire wood too. But guests insist on oil heat. No cold bedrooms for them. Don’t have outside furnace only stoves. Get a lot of scrap wood. Several years since I had log length.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Pokey. — August 16, 2017 @ 5:36 am

    • Heating with wood takes a little getting used to and it’s not too convenient for those who are in a hurry. The area where I live is heavily forested and sparsely populated so wood heat is pretty common.


      Comment by montucky — August 16, 2017 @ 9:00 am

  12. Great post and oh so appropriate for this time of year! Summer, especially late in the season, is when Tom prepares for the winter. He’s been splitting large logs on a borrowed wood splitter for weeks. When my lower back is healthy I help him stack it. I’m actually working on a post about stacking wood and prep so be on the look out for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by heartandsoul974 — August 16, 2017 @ 7:48 am

    • I usually like to get the wood done early so it will have time to be plenty dry, but this year the snow was very heavy late into spring and it suddenly turned from snow banks to fire season. This load of wood though is dry and seasoned and now it’s just a matter of working early in the day before it heats up. I will watch for your post!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — August 16, 2017 @ 9:05 am

      • Yes, we also ha sd a lot of now here and we were building fires in May. We heat our kitchen with a kerosene monitor furnace, costs about 550 a year and our wood we get free with Tom’s job. Many trees have to be cut and when landowners don’t want the wood, he keeps it. It’s a blessing.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by heartandsoul974 — August 16, 2017 @ 9:30 am

  13. Sorry for the typos. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by heartandsoul974 — August 16, 2017 @ 9:31 am

  14. My friend, I am duly impressed! I knew from your past blog posts that you used firewood to heat your home but I did not know you cut and split it all yourself and 30 tons??? Holy moly, man, you are amazing! No wonder you keep your tools in good working order and lots of work gloves on hand. My muscles ache just thinking about all your hard work. You are to be commended, sir. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — August 16, 2017 @ 1:00 pm

    • Up here probably over half of the homes are heated by wood and the process is all about the same, although some folks have splitters. It looks like a lot when you see the whole load, but that will be about three years worth and it dosen’t all have to be done right away. I love doing it and always feel a lot better from the exercise!


      Comment by montucky — August 16, 2017 @ 7:29 pm

  15. How much does a delivered load like that cost?


    Comment by Bill Arnold — August 16, 2017 @ 3:09 pm

    • They range from about $1100 to $1400. Relative to buying wood by the cord, it saves about half. Of course a lot of guys go out and cut their own.


      Comment by montucky — August 16, 2017 @ 7:31 pm

  16. Except for the wood being pine it all looks and sounds very familiar! We burn hardwood here and I always used to cut and split 6 cord a year for heat. In fact I just finished splitting cord number 13 at work but they have a fancy log splitter there.
    Your logs look to be just about the perfect diameter for a satisfying afternoon of splitting.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — August 16, 2017 @ 3:36 pm

    • We have no hardwood to speak of here. I wish we did have hardwood because I’ve burned that before and it was great.There is a native maple here but there are very few around and I doubt that anyone gets much of that. I prefer Lodgepole because it burns very hot and clean and produces very little creosote. It’s also nice to cut and split. If I go out and get my own I like a mix of Lodgepole and Douglas Fir and some Larch if I can find it. The Fir and Larch have more BTU’s. The size of Lodgepole is also nice because you can cut a lot of rounds before you get far enough down the tree that you have to split it.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — August 16, 2017 @ 7:37 pm

  17. Wow big job ahead of you .. but the satisfaction will be amazing as will your night slumber 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Julie@frogpondfarm — August 17, 2017 @ 1:43 am

    • I will enjoy it, but still I’m just as happy that it doesn’t have to be all done right away.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — August 17, 2017 @ 4:10 pm

  18. My goodness! That is a lot of logs. Well done – what lovely fires to look forward to!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jo Woolf — August 17, 2017 @ 2:34 pm

    • It is not instinctive to look forward to fires this time of year, but then winter is not all that distant now.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — August 17, 2017 @ 4:11 pm

  19. Well, you shouldn’t be bored for awhile. So you enjoy the actual doing it while you’re doing it? How much do you do at a session or does it vary?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — August 17, 2017 @ 3:29 pm

    • Yes, I really enjoy working with the firewood. I really have no time pressure and so I do as much as I feel like with no fixed goals. With the high temps (by our standards) I will work only in the early mornings and stop when it starts getting hot.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — August 17, 2017 @ 4:18 pm

  20. I remember the last time you brought in a load like this. I looked for the old fellow who brought it — I remember being astonished by his age, even though I don’t remember it exactly. I think he might have been in his eighties. In any case, I suppose he might not be hauling logs any more. You certainly will get your exercise with this stack although, as you noted, it doesn’t have to all be cut by next month.
    A woodstove fire is wonderful. When I first began using one in the hill country cabin, I was astonished by how much heat it would put out. Until I learned to control things properly, I sometimes had to open windows to cool down the cabin!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — August 18, 2017 @ 9:50 pm

    • I’ve lost track of that old man, but I’ve heard that he is no longer allowed to drive a big truck. He would be 91 this year. I feel bad for him because that was what he loved.
      It has been enjoyable starting to work with this delivery. Breaking up sticks for a fire is a pretty basic thing to do. I suspect it would a good thing for a lot of folks to do right at the moment. It’s a simple way of taking that breath that you recommended.


      Comment by montucky — August 18, 2017 @ 10:18 pm

  21. You certainly have your work cut out for you! May I ask how much a truck load of wood costs? I have been paying a man who gets loads like this cuts them into rounds (that I have to split and stack) $170 cord.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tammie — August 21, 2017 @ 5:36 pm

    • Hi Tammie! I just sent you an email with the details. Hope they will deliver to your area!


      Comment by montucky — August 21, 2017 @ 6:15 pm

  22. I have once upon a time, heated my home with wood in a wood stove. We never had huge logs though just 40″ Almond log cuts. I cannot imagine cutting and splitting that amount of wood. I think I would have invested in a power splitter ; ) Have fun! Good exercise, though. Have a wonderful day tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — August 29, 2017 @ 1:34 pm

    • It is fortunate here that we can still heat with wood. I’ve never found anything like it. I have used a power splitter a little but found that it is slower, just as much work as splitting with an axe (you still have to move the wood) and not nearly as enjoyable. It’s amazing how much better I feel during wood cutting season!


      Comment by montucky — August 29, 2017 @ 3:25 pm

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    Trackback by My Homepage — August 31, 2017 @ 6:59 am

  24. Man do I love when i see the log truck pull in

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by twobrancheshomestead — January 22, 2018 @ 6:21 pm

  25. Where can I buy a truckload of logs, I live in Livingston Montana? Thanks email me any info, please.:)


    Comment by Sam — August 6, 2018 @ 10:02 am

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