Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by groovy mike, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. groovy mike

    groovy mike Immortal

    Was just reading that a cord of wood has the same BTUs as 175 gallons of heating oil.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" />
    At $4 per gallon that’s $700 for oil vs. $200 per cord for wood.

    THAT’S a real eye opener!

    Was talking about this and my plan to cut a LOT more wood for next fall with a friend who reminded me that I needed to keep my wood piles out of sight from the road.

    It would stink to come home from work to find half my woodpile gone and tire tracks on the yard!
    I thought that reminder was worth passing along.
  2. MbRodge

    MbRodge Monkey+++

    I have to admit that in my younger days from time to time I would drive down an alley and pull a few choice logs from each woodpile. In a true PSHTF situation it will be much worse so that is very good advice. As a matter of fact don't have ANYTHING valuable visible from the road!
  3. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    We've bought 4 or 5 cords since last fall but some of it was light stuff and then we got mesquite. We also let the kids load up when they bring the motorhome by on their way to the sand dunes. We never paid over $165 even for mesquite!

    I pity the fool I catch stealing wood!
  4. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    That's a great reminder!
  5. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Don't forget to factor in, that wood heats you more than once [beer]

    Whether it's wood or hydronic heat, radiant heat is warmer than other types of heat sources.

    Is the $200 per cord for hardwood or soft wood? It might not be decent price if the wood is pine or cedar or another type of softwood that burns fast. Softwood is great for kindling though unless it's all that's available, then you gotta burn what's available. Now depending on costs of firewood in your area, this could be a decent price. Since I'm not familiar with your area or where your from, I guess I'll shut up. [winkthumb]
  6. groovy mike

    groovy mike Immortal

    In my area $200 buys you a cord of cut, split, stove length, dry seasoned mixed hardwoods (mostly maples, with some oak & beech, etc.)

    You can buy green at $100 per cord.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Can we assume that is a full cord? If so, that is a good price. If a face cord, it is out of line.
  8. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Face cord, never heard of it. Would that be the same as a rick, which is 1/3 of a cord?
  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yup, as spoken in MI and MA at least. It has the "face" of a full cord, but only 16" deep vs. 48" of a full cord.
  10. groovy mike

    groovy mike Immortal

    full cord = 4x4x8 "stacked loose enough for the rat to run but not for teh cat to follow"

    face cord = a sigle row of firewood 8 foot long and 4 foot high.
  11. BAT1

    BAT1 Cowboys know no fear

    Been driving around the hood picking it up before the city comes and gets it on trash day been getting some nice oak and pecan. I have a wood smoker/ BBQ pit and I have been using half the propane I would normaly because of it. Don't like mesquite.


    Here's another little nugget of info.

    County inmate work crews!!!!
    If you spot one of these working on a road somewhere they are goldmines for free firewood. Just be sure to ask the boss or deputy first....sometimes the inmates will even load it into your truck for you, sometimes not. Just be sure not to leave your keys in the ignition or leave your door unlocked....Most of the time they are going to chip the wood anyway..Lot of it will be real green, but it won't be next year!!! Can't beat it for the price, FREE! And it's already cut fireplace sized. I got 4 truckloads today.
  13. Mule

    Mule Monkey++

    Direct BTU comparisons are seldom relevant to discussions for heating when the other factors are left out. BTU only says what should be available from the energy source but does not take into account the methods for utilizing or extracting the heat energy.

    If you want to jump on the wood bandwagon, then jump on becuase its free, you like the work, enjoy the smell ect but don't do it just becuase of some BTU comparison

  14. WestPointMAG

    WestPointMAG Monkey++

    Try this one.

    Wood heat value is measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units. The higher the value, the more heat you get per unit of wood. Here is a list of tree species ranked by their heating abilities:
    Five Best Burning Species
    • Hickory - 25 to 28 million BTUs/cord - density 37 to 58 lbs./cu.ft.
    • Oak - 24 to 28 million BTUs/cord - density 37 to 58 lbs./cu.ft.
    • Black Locust - 27 million BTUs/cord - density 43 lbs./cu.ft.
    • Beech - 24 to 27 million BTUs/cord - density 32 to 56 lbs./cu.ft.
    • White Ash - 24 million BTUs/cord - density 43 lbs./cu.ft.
    Five Poor Performing Species
    • White Pine - 15 million BTUs/cord - density 22 to 31 lbs./cu.ft.
    • Cottonwood/Willow - 16 million BTUs/cord - density 24 to 37 lbs./cu.ft.
    • Basswood - 14 million BTUs/cord - density 20 to 37 lbs./cu.ft.
    • Aspen - 15 million BTUs/cord - density 26 lbs./cu.ft.
    • Yellow Poplar - 18 mm million BTUs/cord - density 22 to 31 lbs./cu.ft.
  15. Mule

    Mule Monkey++

    Ok, now I have the "ideal controlled laboratory" burn testing for the SWAG of the BTU ratings for a cord of wood without any reference for "derating" based upon moisture content and efficiency of a standard wood stove ----------

    Waiting for rest of argument against heating oil

  16. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    To a point I would have to agree with Mule. The charts dont tell the whole story since particularly with woods there are a lot of factors that make as much or more difference than the wood. For instance a standard fireplace with no blower will not put a fraction of the heat into the house that you would get from the same wood in a wood stove with the right stove pipe and properly adjusted. Then there are also wood furnaces, many types of wood stoves, fireplace inserts, etc. With most stoves it also takes some practice to regulate it to get the most from the wood. Then theres also the convenience factor that most stoves in the colder parts of winter (in cold areas) leave the house rather chilly in the morning or when out for the day while heating oil and such is pretty much set it and forget it.

    For me the wood still works out best but wood isnt perfect especialy by its self.
  17. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    I just finished up a couple more of my "3 cord sheds"....these are portable ( when empty ) sheds I drag around my place where I plan to thin some timber that year, or clear out another patch of woods. They measure 12 x 6 x 6-7' height inside, and hold a shade over 3 cords in each. My goal this year is to have two years wood cut ahead from now on.

    Mortising the corner posts to go in the 6x6 runners:


    Nearly finished with some 'barn red' shot on them:


    Front view of one:

  18. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    TnA, if I remember rightly, you are on a full wood diet for heat. (Seems like I heard that somewhere, anyway.) How many cords do you go thru in a year?
  19. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    About 6-7 cords/yr.

    We use a modified open fireplace for heat, which isn't near as efficient as a stove, though I have done some interesting things on it to up the output ( heat-a-lator firebox with hot air output.....grate made out of black iron pipe that water circulates thru to a storage tank in the basement, then to baseboard hot water radiators, steel doors that close the opening off at bed time, etc ). I simply LIKE a big open fire, despite the obvious cost in wood.

    Planing on a kitchen remodel this spring that will allow installing a wood cookstove.
  20. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Never mind the cost in wood, I'm thinking of my back. In wayback times, we heated an 600 +/- square foot basement with an open fireplace on about (IIRC) two cords of maple and oak. (Michigan, lower peninsula. The upstairs was forced hot air, natural gas fuel.) Bought a lot of wood in pulp length delivered to the driveway, a very little split and delivered. Yeah, I've been warmed twice. The thirty years since then have altered my perspective toward that sort of work. I now have a wood stove in the basement for minimal backup to the propane hydronic system. Definitely need to lay in some wood for the next power outage, I haven't had the time since moving here.

    Have you considered an outdoor stove? Something like an Aqua-Therm? Lots of them in this area.
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