Backing up the empty Studebaker to the splitter

Backing up the empty Studebaker to the splitter

Because we spend so much time outdoors splitting, hauling and stacking wood these days, it’s only fair to share the process.  Just in case anyone is dreaming of burning firewood.  Let me explain what’s involved.

First, you have to either A) cut down the trees yourself, which has been our modus operandi for a few decades.  This is very hard work.  Dangerous.  Challenging.  Especially in mid-winter with knee-deep (or deeper!) snow.  Barry and his friend Tom mostly completed this phase of the project for many long years.   Or B) you put a log-truck load of wood.  Which is what we did this year, for the first time.

The wood pile is delivered in your driveway, or somewhere handy for the wood splitter.  Then you buy a heavy-duty wood splitter, if you don’t have one.  We did that this spring.  Barry found a great deal for minimal cash, and then utilized his skills to get in working in tip-top shape. 

Next, you find two willing people ready to concentrate very intently on hoisting the logs onto the splitter, operating the lever and loading the split logs in the truck.  You must focus and not dream away about random subjects.  If you do, you might split a finger or injure your partner.  Better to focus on the task at hand.

Me operating the lever while Barry delivers the wood to splitter and truck

Me operating the lever while Barry delivers the wood to splitter and truck

(The red woolen jacket was a mistake.  The temperature lingered in the 40’s and I couldn’t decide what to wear.  Within five minutes of this photo, I abandoned post, ran inside, and donned a hooded sweatshirt.  Much better choice.)

This is how the log looks as the wedge splits it

This is how the log looks as the wedge splits it

Once you’ve determined your proper wood-splitting apparel, adjusted for appropriate temperature, you continue splitting.  Your partner takes the split logs and tosses them carefully into the 1949 Studebaker truck, determined not to scratch the paint job.  That in itself is quite a task.  At least two or three logs have proven delinquent and glanced off the fender or paint thus far.  But one tries. 

Full Studebaker of split logs

Full Studebaker of split logs

When the truck is full, one turns off the splitter, making sure not to forget the gas.  It is not wise to forget this step, as the gas then leaks onto the splitter and…well, that’s simply not good.  Unplug the battery.  Then drive the truck around to the back of the house and back it up to the wood pile.

Oh look, we still have five full rows to fill.

Oh look, we still have five full rows to fill.

Now comes the work of unloading and stacking.  The lever operator must now do some physical labor.  The truck loader has already worked up quite a sweat.  You heft the heavy pieces of wood from the truck and pile them–just so–making sure your rows are balanced and will not topple. 

There is a science to every step along the way, but I think we’ve covered the basics.  Except for the parts previously covered in earlier blogs in which you then take the split logs off the wood pile and stack in basement wood room.  Followed by starting fires, stoking fires, tending fires, emptying the wood stove, cleaning the chimney, chopping kindling…all of which brings you around to starting the year-long venture all over again! 

The worst part is…it’s June 8th and we’re still starting fires in the woodstove each morning. 

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? P.S.  Christopher, when ARE you coming home?  We have a fun job waiting for you.   🙂

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