How to Turn Trees into Firewood in 5 Steps
Posted by: Erika Green on October 29, 2021
If you live on a property with large, mature trees, there often comes a time when those trees become trouble, and they either fall or need to be taken down. Regardless, you’re usually left with a large amount of lumber to repurpose. Repurposing a down tree can be rewarding and useful, especially if you’re using logs to fuel your fire pit or heat your home. So, if you’re wondering how to cut firewood properly, this guide will help you make the best use out of tree debris.
Step 1: Assess Trouble Trees and Down Trees
Whether you have trouble trees on your property, or a tree is already down, you’ll want to assess the safety of the area and the distance from where you intend to stack your firewood. If you have trees that are a safety hazard to your home and need to be removed, be sure to enlist the help of a professional tree service. It’s never a good idea to cut down a mature tree yourself.
However, if the trees are already on the ground determine your need for a wheelbarrow or dump trailer rental to help haul logs to your stacking site. You’ll also want to assess if the down trees are right for burning.
Types of Trees Best for Firewood
Before dedicating an entire weekend to breaking down a tree into firewood, make sure the tree or trees you’re repurposing are right for the job. Oak, hickory, black locust, white ash and sugar maple are ideal for burning. Coniferous trees, hemlock and other “softwood” trees are not recommended for burning. Coniferous trees, like pine, can create creosote when they burn. Creosote can stick to the inside of chimneys and becomes a fire hazard.
Step 2: How to Cut Firewood with a Chainsaw
Once the trees are on the ground, you’ll want to use a chainsaw rental to crosscut the tree into logs that will fit into a log splitter. Measure the proper length and mark the tree trunk and large limbs or branches. Use a chainsaw to make the measured cuts.
The Home Depot Rental carries electric chainsaw and gas chainsaw rentals, both equally capable of breaking down trees of every size. An electric chainsaw is great for smaller trees and branches. A gas chainsaw rental is ideal for larger trees.
Step 3: How to Chop Firewood with a Log Splitter Rental
Next, rent a log splitter to chop lumber into usable, stackable logs. Always review the operations manual prior to using any rental equipment. Load your pre-measured cut logs into the log cradle and make any necessary adjustments. The two-handed controls make operating the log splitter easy. Using a log splitter allows you to break down larger logs quickly and easily, ultimately producing more firewood in a weekend.
If you’re stacking firewood closer to its burning location, load your cut firewood into a wheelbarrow or dump trailer to haul it to your stacking site.
Step 4: How to Stack Firewood
Stacking firewood properly is essential for ease of use, organization and keeping it dry. Consider purchasing a firewood frame to keep wood off the ground and supported. However, a frame isn’t always necessary for stacking. If you’re using a frame or not, stack two logs one way and then two logs the other way and continue adding wood to fill in the pile.
Circular piles are also popular and involve driving a stake into the ground and stacking wood in the circle around the stake. Never stack the piles so high that they may fall over. Stacks of firewood should always be stable. You’ll also want to cover your wood pile with a tarp to keep firewood dry.
Step 5: Finish the Project with a Tree Stump Grinder
Down trees mean leftover stumps. Maximize your curb appeal and minimize obstacles in your lawn by renting a tree stump grinder. A stump grinder rental removes stumps up to 32” high easily. You can also rent a chipper shredder to repurpose brush and limbs into homemade mulch.
When trees come down, leverage tool and equipment rentals to help repurpose the debris into firewood and get your marshmallows ready for roasting.