What to Expect When Gathering & Cutting Firewood

The past couple of weeks for Jesse and I have been 99.9% consumed with cutting firewood and preparing for winter. Last winter, we barely got by with three cords of mill ends (mostly bark), so this year we were determined to get a head start on things! As a firewood cutting rookie, I didn’t really know what to expect, and thought the process would be a no-brainer but that just wasn’t so. I learned quite a bit that I thought I would pass on to someone who also is new to the idea of wood heat and gathering their own firewood!

To watch some of this information in the video, check it out below, but read the post as well for maximum effect and information!

When Jesse first told me that we were going firewood cutting, I envisioned that we would drive up to a tree, cut it down, limb it, cut it into wood, and toss it into the car. I thought the entire process would be relatively simple and that we would have our firewood for the season in no time!


In the end, getting our firewood for the season (plus some) in two weeks isn’t bad at all, but it was a lot more work than I thought it would be and required A LOT more thinking and stretching my mind.

If you are completely new to firewood cutting and either want to learn or you are interested in having wood heat in your future, keep on readin’!

Cutting Firewood in National Forests

The first question you might as is “Where can I cut firewood?” and the easiest answer is a national forest, or public land.

Firewood Cutting Permits

You do need a permit to do this so be sure to check at your local Forest Service station for more information. We paid $5/cord and bought the maximum number of cords we could for our household which was eight. That’s $40 for maybe two seasons of firewood for us – not bad! You need to carry this permit with you and update it every time you pull wood out of the forest. Forest service does drive around and does request demand to see these permits.


Which Trees Are Okay to Cut Down?

Once you are in a national forest (be sure to look at a map because some forests have private land sprinkled throughout), you’ll need to keep an eye out for standing dead trees. If a tree still has green needles on it, it’s not dead, even if it’s obviously dying. These trees are okay to cut down for firewood so long as they’re not more than 100 feet from the road and not within 150 feet from water.


Permits exclude certain species of trees so be sure to check for your area. For us, we can’t cut down birch or cedar, but other trees are okay if they are dead such as pine, fir, grand fir or even larch. Trust me… you’ll get to know your species well!

where to cut firewood

You can also take home windfall since those trees are not standing anymore, provided they are not an excluded species. However, if the windfall is fresh, the trees won’t be seasoned or dried out yet so they may be very heavy, and they also might not have time to dry out prior to winter.

Firewood Cutting Competition

The last thing we want to touch on here is that we feel there is a high level of competition for firewood cutting. This may just be our experience in one particular spot of the forest.

Lately, the Forest Service has been closing forest roads that were once used as firewood cutting roads among other things. They say it’s because of the grizzly bears here but you can draw whatever conclusions you like from this.

That said, everyone is forced to stay on the main highways to cut wood which isn’t always convenient, and the good trees are snagged up quickly. The only larch we found was windfall that wasn’t visible from the road, we found it by luck, and it was still a lot of effort to get it home.


We have had friends drop a tree and return the next morning to cut it up only to find it gone. If it’s in the woods, it’s fair game to everyone.

This does concern us slightly moving forward but we will see how it plays out over the years to come. We hope that we never have to resort to driving 40 miles one way just to get a cord of wood, but it is something to be aware of in your area.

If anyone has other thoughts on the matter, I’d love to hear your opinions! Are we crazy?

Equipment We Needed for Firewood Cutting

Next, you’ll want to be well-equipped when you go into the forest. We choose to take our pickup truck with us that we bought specifically for such purposes, that way, we can abuse it, beat it up, and haul heavy loads without worry about much.

firewood cutting equipment

We have a lot of equipment we bring with us to ensure that we can grab almost any dead or down tree that fits the bill including:

Chainsaws: We bring both our Stihl 660 and 251 chainsaws with us. The two different sizes helps and also gives us a backup chainsaw if one of them is having issues. Be sure the chains on both of these are sharp and also be sure to bring a chain sharpener since you will need it.

Felling wedges: These will come in handy when dropping the trees down and can help them land where you want (critical!).

Axe: Helpful for getting your chainsaw unstuck if it’s pinched when cutting down trees and it’s critical for splitting any rounds that are too large to carry back to the truck.

Tow chain: Some tree sections are close enough to the road that you can tie a chain on, hook it to the truck hitch, and pull it up to the road. Every little bit helps so that you minimize the amount of labor you need to do!

Snatch block: This tool is absolutely critical if you will be pulling log sections or trees longer distances (longer than what a chain would be capable of reaching which isn’t all that far). This is a helpful component to set up various styles of rigging and is a real life-saver.

Cables: We have cables in the sizes of 1/4″ and 3/8″ in lengths of 50′ and 100′. We have three cables total, and this is a pretty good number. At a minimum, these cables are capable of pulling 840 to 1300 pounds, so when we cut our trees into sections, this is no problem usually.

Ratchet strap: We don’t go anywhere without ratchet straps, but the best one for firewood cutting has been our 2,500lb ratchet strap. It may even be more than that.

Fire extinguisher + shovel: It’s typically required by the Forest Service that you carry a fire extinguisher and shovel with you in the summer. This is a great rule of thumb even if you aren’t cutting firewood. We leave ours in a visible place outside of the car so curious Forest Service personnel can see at a glance that we’re following guidelines.

Various fasteners: You will need a variety of high-strength fasteners to hook up your rigging system. For us, we had multiple threaded links, shackles and carabiners, and extra because we broke some by pulling logs that were too heavy. Shackles proved to work the best for strength.

Measuring tape: To cut your wood or rounds to a specific dimensions, be sure to have a measuring tape. Also, it may be wise to measure your wood stove before you go so that you don’t cut rounds that are too large!

Toolbox, gloves, etc.: Keep a toolbox with generic tools with you (never know when you may need them), gloves, and things like that. I guess this is an obvious for any type of labor job.

Safety gear: We bring with us helmets, ear protection, eye protection and even safety chaps. If you don’t have it then you can’t use it.

cutting firewood in national forests

How to Cut Firewood

The “how to” is almost the least of your worries! There are a couple great guides on cutting firewood here and here, but the basics are as follows (once you have identified the tree you’d like to cut down):

  1. Cut down the dead tree and try to drop it in the most convenient spot possible.
  2. Limb the tree with the chainsaw.
  3. Measure out your rounds (for us we measured at 16″) and mark those spots for the sake of time.
  4. Cut rounds.
  5. Roll rounds to truck or, use the axe to half or quarter them if the rounds are too large to carry. We always lean on the side of extra trips to the truck rather than extra weight. Don’t take risks with your body… you only have one!

Like I said, this list looks pretty simple, but you’d be amazed at the roadblocks you may face in the field, or you at least could be surprised that even if it is straightforward, it could still be a lot of sweaty, dirty work!

how to cut firewood

Is Getting Your Own Firewood Worth It?

This is the big question that many have asked us on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. If cutting firewood in the forest is so labor-intensive and at times dangerous, is it even worth it? Is it better to just have electric heat or to buy firewood from someone else at say $150/cord?

larch firewood cutting

I think that’s a question we all have to answer for ourselves because we are all at different stages in our lives.

For us right now, the answer is an absolute yes! In two weeks, Jesse and I collected a full six cords of firewood which means we made the equivalent of $900. This is “money” we created out of thin air, and that’s more than some people make in half a month at work. We weren’t working full-time either, but worked half-days and even took a few days off in the two weeks’ time to do other things.

cutting firewood into quarters

On top of that, if we were to have to earn the money to get the wood, we would be paying 30% extra due to losing taxes immediately out of our paychecks, or up to 50% being self-employed.

On top of that, we consider it a great workout! We’re relatively young in the big picture, and we enjoy working out anyways. However, rather than going on a 3-5 mile run, we’re getting firewood and making money in a way while we do it. Jesse lost at least a full size of clothing in two weeks’ time, and I dropped a few pounds as well at least temporarily. Instead of paying money to workout at a gym, we’re making money working out in our own backyard.

rolling firewood to truck

We also don’t feel that getting firewood is that dangerous… there is all the reason to be on high-alert when working with trees, logs, cables and chainsaws, but once you know what you’re doing you can do a lot to mitigate risk. With every firewood gathering session, we’re learning more about the limitations of our equipment, which tools are best for the jobs, and how to really communicate with one another.

What does cutting firewood REALLY look like? The honest reality? Take a look from those that live off the grid! #homestead #homesteading #offthegrid
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Even though getting firewood is hard work, especially in 90+ degree heat Fahrenheit, we have enjoyed the experience and look forward to doing this for years to come. When we are older, we may find ways to lower our risk such as finding some young folks to help us out in exchange for something the old farts can provide! We’ll see how it all plays out over time.

Last point… even though there is a lot of competition for firewood, we like knowing that there will always be trees to cut down (even if they are live) to keep us warm. This isn’t really an option with electric heat… wood stoves and wood are never antiquated and never stop working!

Get Involved!

If you are a newbie like myself, what questions do you have that we didn’t cover? If you’re a firewood expert and have been doing this for years, what did I miss in this post? What have been your biggest firewood cutting revelations, and how do you feel firewood cutting has changed over time? We really, really want to hear your thoughts on this! Tell us the good news!

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I am an aspiring homesteader on a journey to become self-sustainable and free. In my past, I've worked corporate jobs to make ends meet and get ahead a little; it didn't make me happy or confident in my future. Since taking the leap to self-employment and living a more simple life, my happiness levels have increased greatly and I've never felt more alive. I finally understand what I want in life and how to get there, and that is what this blog is all about.


  1. Boaz says

    Hi. You might find that a whistle signal is less tiring than yelling “Stop”. Having a whistle each would also let one of you call the other for help if injured (the standard distress signal is three shorts repeated at one minute intervals). Whistles are light, cheap, simple, and reliable. You’re using earmuffs and a chainsaw, so I’d recommend the extremely effective Storm whistle (not the Windstorm). I have a Storm and it’s chunky for a whistle, but various comparitive tests I’ve read rate it very highly. Plastic is better than metal in snow country. http://www.stormwhistles.com/ (orange is less likely to be lost). When dragging logs you might want to think about standing outside the wire’s whip zone 🙂 . The video and blog post made an enjoyable, interesting, and complementary pair.

    • says

      That’s a great idea! I do have to say “WHAT?!” a lot. I have a whistle that I had to buy when I was a lifeguard and at the time it was THE industry-standard whistle because it was so loud… so I have that in my survival backpack. Having codes is a great idea too. Glad you liked the blog post and thanks for the tips!

  2. Luke says

    Well done. Great post.
    I might add for efficiency in trips if you have to drive far, then buy/borrow a heavy duty utility or wood trailer. Saving on gas, multiple trips, which is probably your biggest expense. We traveled 120 miles round trip as a family to harvest when I was a child.
    If it’s hot, freeze a gallon of water overnight, then leave it out in the sun as you work. Ice cold water will melt and cool you off when you need it. It’ll even keep your lunch cool for you.
    Be cautious of ants and hornets and other critters when cutting an old windfall. You might be surprised in a painful way what’s made a home in your tree.
    Consider an old truck jack or pry bar to lift and wedge up your logs so you don’t run your saw into rocks. You can easily damage your saw and your body.
    Don’t forget fun. Cutting trips are great to work hard and play hard. Target shoot, fish, nap, whatever. Relax when it’s really hot out or when you need a break. Avoid sun stroke.

    • says

      I’m sure we’ll upgrade our trailer over time but hopefully we don’t have to end up traveling too far. Then again, if you can be highly efficient, the mileage isn’t as bad. Ice water is a great idea! And yes, fun can’t be forgotten either. We try to remember even when things go wrong that this is the lifestyle we wanted and we are fortunate enough to have gotten this far, so we’re living our dream! That helps when making endless trips up a steep hill covered in sweat. I think of bad times at my jobs and it makes me think “This is nothing!” hahaha! Thanks for the tips!

      • Luke says

        I just watched your video on wood cutting. My hat is off to you. What a first experience you’ve had. I’ve certainly learned from your misfortune. Thank you for sharing the bad with the good! That rarely happens. Many others try to hide that for image or professionalism or what ever, but I’ve learned that I will not go out cutting with one rig. Lol. So simple, so vital. The national forest roads I grew up cutting on, lol, might never get that random passers-by. Funny how I never thought of auto failure. It happens to me all the time. Thank you for sharing. Thank you, thank you.

        • says

          We try to be as genuine as possible! It never even occurred to us to bring the Subaru along as well… duh, right?! I think we may do this in the future because it’s a cheap insurance plan! Our truck is getting some much-needed love right now so that should make it more reliable, but it still has personality. Glad you enjoyed the story – we appreciate your readership!

        • John Brunton says

          Oh yea, they’re great! You use them to roll a log – say a 30′ section. I make my 12″to 14″ cuts then roll the log over and finish the cut. That way the chain doesn’t get in the dirt. Or use it to pull the log off the ground so you can cut the end off the log suspended in the air. I’ve used mine quite a lot and they’re probably a lot of uses I don’t know about.

  3. says

    I just discovered your blog. It is amazing what you are accomplishing! We have a very small homestead and have loved learning a little bit at a time. We still haven’t figured out how to maximize our wood stove (we either freeze or burn up), but we have started trying to collect fallen wood from our land and will give it another go this winter. I am excited to keep following everything you’re doing!

    • says

      Welcome to the blog! I think it takes time to master wood heat and each individual wood stove. That’s our experience at least. That’s great to collect wood from your own land… don’t give up! Not all wood stoves are create equal. We are ditching the one we started our with and already have a new stove lined up for winter. Ask around to those with experience (not me hahaha)!

  4. says

    When I was young with a young family and a house with wood stove, we cut, split, hauled and heated our home with firewood. The stove was in the basement and heated the whole house. My two boys were big enough to help with hauling the wood and then they would ride back to the house with me to unload and return to the woods to pick up more the men of the family cut. I did quite a bit of splitting during the winter months. Starting out with a coat and strip down to a sweatshirt as the morning went along. I always loved splitting wood except when I hit my finger between the ax and wedge, ouch.
    Best wishes to you both.

    • says

      Sounds like some great memories to me! I bet it kept everyone fit, right? And warm? Yes, I am clumsy with an axe so I have a hunch my booboos are coming, but hopefully not! That does sound like it hurt. Thanks for the wishes!

  5. Josh says

    When it rains it pours I guess. Hope you guys were able to fix the truck. Fuel pump possibly or electrical Is my guess. The wife and I are taking a road trip to Idaho next month to look for land. Would love to know where about you guys are located. We will be in Newport, WA camping for a few days and then heading back thru Idaho on our way back to Portland. We are going to try and connect with a realtor at some point to show us property.

    • says

      Yes! Some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug, right? Sounds like an awesome trip you have lined up! We prefer to keep our location discrete for now just to have a little bit of privacy, but we hope you continue to find value through our blog and let us know if there are ways we can help. You might get to see some fall color in September. Best of luck in your property search, and have fun with it!

    • says

      The ignition module died which means the truck couldn’t get a spark. Jesse was able to diagnose it the next day and we fixed the problem on the second try! It’s running again, hooray!

  6. says

    We knew some property owners who didn’t want to manage their trees, so let it be known to a local tree felling course company, they could come on their land for free, and take down whatever trees required. There payment, was not having to manage the trees themselves, but they could also get firewood cut for them, if requested.

    So maybe there are some local land owners, who wouldn’t mind a healthy couple to manage their trees for them too.

    • says

      We are confident that managing someone else’s trees is an option but I think it’s all about putting the word out there and finding the right relationship. Great to hear you know of someone that this relationship worked well for!

  7. says

    Great video.

    What about poison oak? Do you have problems with anything like that where you live? It’s everywhere here, but then again we live in an oak woodland.

    Also, how do you take down a tree without also taking down a live tree? Does your permit stipulate that you can’t accidentally take down a live one?

    Anyway, I learned a lot. Thanks!

    • says

      We don’t have issues with poison oak… I don’t think we have any here? Not that we’ve seen or experienced at least. The key is trying to drop the tree in a convenient location. In our experience, it’s hard to also take down a live tree even if the dead tree falls on it… it may take off some branches, but for us they have just bounced off, even smaller trees. The permit does stipulate that live trees are to remain standing. Glad you learned from this video!

  8. Cindy says

    My husband is a farmer who has to work in the heat, one of the things he does to keep cool is drench his shirt in water. It actually helps a lot.

  9. Janet says

    Your working together cutting wood reminds me of the years our family did the fall wood cutting sessions. Our wood was on my folks farm and free, we had a makeshift saw in an old Farmall tractor after cutting wood into four foot lenghs, then once cut as you did, we had a homemade wood splitter. Haul it home, put it in the shed and set for the cold Minnesota winters. Was it worth it? It was good exercise and working as a family of 5, it taught us all about working together and working hard. Yes it was worth it. I love your blogs.

    • says

      I love hearing stories like this! We hope to have the same memories with our future family. I don’t hear of anyone having terrible memories of firewood-getting, only stories of families working hard together to stay warm. I think this concept is lost on the average American home where families no longer need to work together (well, they do, but you know).

  10. JoshA says

    Great video, my wife and I have an old farm and our only option for heat is wood. I guess we could buy heaters, but we don’t see the point. We have been doing this for years, I think a couple of the biggest things we have learned are, 1 to let people living around you that you heat with wood only, you will be surprised how many people will tip you off to a dead tree or one they want taken out, second we used to chop everything by hand and a couple years ago purchased a log splitter, and while I love chopping firewood a splitter is 10 times faster than I was at 18 which was over 20 years ago lol. Keep an eye on craigslist which I know you have mentioned in the past, but there is free cut and split firewood all the time on there. Getting free heat from someone else is amazing. Lastly if there are any wood mills around you or logging firms, call them up and ask if you can have there butt ends, they leave them to rot so it’s a great resource for free wood that is usually very easy to get to.
    We are getting our farm ready in Washington to sell, and are moving off grid just like you two. My brother lives in Northern Idaho, and we are looking at that area as well as the middle of Montana. We went out to visit a month ago, and decided that we are tired of being micro managed by the local governments, so we are looking in area’s which have much less building codes, septic and well inspections are acceptable to us, but our current location costs $42000 to get an initial inspection on our farm just to build a barn, and we are miles from any critical lands this was the straw that broke our will to live here any longer. Congrats on living the dream, we hope to be in a similar situation next year this time. Keep the video’s coming it’s great to see that others are as crazy as our friends and family seem to think we are. Take care and have fun.

  11. Jens Hultman says

    For sharpening chains buy this magic tool from Stihl:

    It saves us a lot in replacing chains, it’s fantastic.

    For hauling timber short distances I use a timber tong (not sure if it is the right translation).

    I guess you can use the ratchet straps as a winch or use the truck, but in some places a hand winch is really handy.

    There is also a tool which I don’t but should have, a breaking bar. They come in a few varieties, they are a great for safety.

    For chains, have a look at the Oregon brand. They are just as good as the original Stihl chains but cheaper. I also have an Oregon safety helmet, which is of superb quality.

    I agree that this is a great workout. I call our homestead “my outdoor gym”. 🙂

    Always be safety conscious. Safety is not just about protective gear. Look at the tree, in what direction does it lean, what does the surrounding look like, which side contains the biggest branches, where are my escape routes in case the tree falls in the wrong directions, be careful where you put the triangular cut.

    We are in the lucky position to have enough trees on our property for a lifetime. We are making the last haul, getting the last of the birch under roof in the wood shed. This will be you next challenge. Consider a simple shed, it’s a blessing.

    Keep up the good work.

    Jens from Sweden

  12. Bob says

    You may be able to score some firewood as I did this past spring. I ran an ad on Craigslist for wood rescue stating that I would be willing to pick up any down trees. People called me and I got a huge amount of red oak and maple just for picking it up and getting it out of their yard. Most of it was already cut into rounds and the brush was chipped by the city sanitation crew at the curb. I used a hand truck to load the rounds up a ramp onto my flat bed trailer and took it home to split it. The wood has the rest of the spring, summer and fall to dry before I needed it for heat in the winter.

    • says

      That’s a great idea! We see a lot of that in the closest city since many people aren’t one wood heat, but I may try that strategy this winter. Last year, we had a HUGE windstorm and I’m sure plenty of folks collected firewood for years to come, but we missed that opportunity. Thanks for the suggestion!

  13. says

    Years ago we did the same thing you guys did for our home in northern Minnesota. We have five kids and they helped a lot. We did things a little at a time. Reasoning attention span challenges were more easily addressed in 2 hour chunks. We were legally permitted, assigned an area and species of wood, (standing dead or dying Birch), and checked upon from time to time by the county forester. Finally we reasoned our way through the process to the point were we bought 8-10 chords of “stix” eight feet long. Delivered to our property, We cut and split the same, stock piled , covered and then turned the whole process into a money maker. We had a sturdy utility trailer which allowed developing a cut, split and stacked home delivery system for face chords, half chords, and ricks as were ordered. We learned to work together, gathered our own fire wood, and picked up gas cash to minimize our expenses. I used to tease that we would be working wood so I didn’t have to dig on oil well. Keep your tools sharp and stay safe.

  14. John Brunton says

    Oh the joys of having your truck break down! Our 2002 S-10 has a security feature that shuts off fuel to the fuel rail. Just like yours, it cranks but won’t start. My wife has tripped the security a couple times and there is a method to reset it but it takes 30 minutes of key on, press gas pedal, turn key off – type cycle and it will reset. We’ve had it towed a couple times not know what’s going on. Hopefully your truck doesn’t have that feature or just something to keep in mine when you upgrade to a newer truck.

  15. says

    You finished the job, you stinkers! Next time call us…the hubs would love to help, and I make a great cheerleader! And 100% yes on the workout! We call it North Idaho Crossfit!

  16. Mikki Ogle says

    Used to go above Dworshak reservoir and cut tamarak. Nice hard, dense wood. One piece (18 long x 10 dia) would last about 12 hrs in my Blaze King stove. Worth it? Heck yeah! Being snug and cozy in a blizzard makes it all worthwhile!
    Love the blog and your fb posts. Keep on, keepin’ on!

    • says

      Awesome! We scored on a tamarack tree and I’m sure it will be awesome compared to pine, or grand fir which has fewer BTUs than pine. Glad you love the blog and hearing of our adventures!

  17. says

    We are so lucky living on the lake. Wood floats right up to us. We tie up good logs and toss smaller pieces on our raft to store until cutting time. We live in a milder climate, so about a cord and a half of wood (the size of our floating shed) takes care of us in our small cabin for the winter. Sometimes in spring we cut some extra to start drying. Since all the wood that comes our way is older, we don’t have to wait for it to cure. – Margy

  18. Thomas Smith says

    My father always said firewood will warm you 3 times. …. when you cut it, when you haul it and when you burn it. Lol. I am a subscriber to your YouTube channel and love it. We are working towards the homestead goal ourselves and appreciate what you guys do on here. Thank you.
    Ooh last note. Since you have a manual transmission did you consider roll or push starting it? My friend had an old truck that did that occasionally and he said it was air locked (not sure if he was correct or blowing smoke) but it seemed to work . Of course pointed down hill with a load of wood would be ideal though. Lol. Happy homesteading you guys

  19. Ty Tower says

    “On top of that, we consider it a great workout! We’re relatively young in the big picture, and we enjoy working out anyways. However, rather than going on a 3-5 mile run, we’re getting firewood and making money in a way while we do it. Jesse lost at least a full size of clothing in two weeks’ time, and I dropped a few pounds as well at least temporarily. Instead of paying money to workout at a gym, we’re making money working out in our own backyard.”

    Now that’s where the wisdom comes in . If you are going to exercise do it in a way that returns you something . Martial arts is another. Just plain work is a good way too . I notice a few bigger muscles on both of you . Have another look at those pictures !

    • says

      Heck yea! We’ve spent way too many years of our lives exercising for nothing in return, other than temporary changes in our bodies which often revert back to normal when you stop exercising! Yes, we both feel quite buff these days 😉

  20. Keith Byerly says

    My DAD all ways said fire wood warms you twice, once when you cut it and once when you burnt it. A log jack will make the job easier. When all the kids were home we heated our w400 Sq ft home with wood, the older kids tell the younger once they don’t know what hard work is referring to cutting, splitting, stacking fire wood. Glad you don’t have poison oak., but the trick is a bucket of water a bar of fels naphtha soap, if wash up with in 20 minutes of contact you’ll never get it. One other thing if you run across centrphical fore log splitt

  21. Walter Hanson says

    Thought a blog subject could be the helpful hints bloggers have for splitting those stuburnn rounds that refuse the on slot of our abuse.

  22. mac holliday says

    read your story and the posts that your story inspired….several things i would like to bring to your attention and recommend that you utilize;
    1. a good safety program..your other half i believe it was you said gethering fire
    wood is “safe”///i have had more than enough close calls and a few knots and bruises……one small injury was a limb dislodged by a tree i cut fell almost a min after the tree i cut hit the ground, falling from another tree, bounced and hit my forearm pushing the muscles and whatever onto the top of my forearm in a knot of muscle, skin and stuff…didn’t hurt until i quit work that evening…then IT HURT….trees barbercharing, slipping, sliding, falling the wrong way, getting tangled up in another tree,loose branches, dead tops falling,,,in the big woods in Canada or on the island, many men have bootsbeen killed from accidents in the
    “feller” occupation…..so check out a good safety training video… BC Tree Feller Standards is in a series and is a GOOD safety training program….
    2. Wear the correct safety gear…..chaps can prevent a serious wound..eye glasses….you only have two eyes……a reflective vest in case they come looking for you in the woods…….solid non-skid boots……gloves unless your lady likes sandpaper hands on her soft skin (mine doesn’t)……stay hydrated even in cold/cool weather….long sleeve shirts against tears and scrapes……the whistle is good as well as a gps or compass …you never plan on getting lost ,,,but…and last but NOT least I use a Israelie Tourniquet and a blood stopper bandage……….just in case i cut anything seriously……………..3.Felling Gear…you mentioned wedges…use the high grade plastic ones NOT
    a hatchet or metal wedge. They tear up a chain and if you are trying to unstick a stuck saw you can cut the stuck saw costing you for parts and maybe labor.

    Well, these are a few things that i have learned in my business,,,I generally
    work by myself and when i have service in my area i carry a cell phone for 911.
    Be Sure to check out the BC Safety training Programs…..no need to reply…really…..stay safe…….
    Carry extra chains/file sharpner/saw wrench for loosening and tughtening the bar/extra bar/and necessary tools/wedges/

  23. says

    Alyssa and Jesse, we started doing the very same thing 37 years ago, not to far from where you are hunting for the elusive “buck skin tamarack”. Yes, as you noted the competition for the high BTU wood has become very evident, and will only become tougher. We are now in our 60’s and still use only solar and wood to heat our home, but have figured out a way to make the winter wood preparation quite easy, cost effective, and much more enjoyable. Two key suggestions are to first make sure your house design includes ALOT of MASS that is appropriately insulated. Secondly utilize a wood boiler coupled to a radiant in floor heat system. What this will allow you to do is burn any type of wood very hot and efficiently for shorter durations. You can just collect any windfall, yes even some of that Ponderosa you have on your place. (a splitter is recommended for yellow pine) With the large temperature difference between the water jacket and fire box, often 3 times the energy can be extracted from the wood on a boiler vs a traditional wood stove. The in floor heat also provides the opportunity for passive/ semi active solar collection. The large mass provides a good thermal storage, and a good “thermal flywheel” that will smooth out the temperature differences that you will see where you live. (Very cold winters and very hot summers) . It is the opposite of what you are experiencing in your camper where the temperature will swing up and down rapidly. We will only need to burn for a few hours every other day when it is in the teens or twenties and our house will stay nice and cozy warm. Another huge advantage is during the heat of the summer we never need air conditioning, it can be 100 degrees F out and the inside of the house will be well below 70 again because of the modulating effect of the mass.
    You are both doing such a great job of sharing your adventure. Keep up the great work!

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