Splitting Firewood... 1.6 Bush Cord Saturday...
Saturday was a wood splitting day. I had some rounds from the winter that I was hoping to get rid of- because a pile of rounds in the gravel is a bit messy looking, and disheartening, and it isn't going to dry just laying there.
Now, these were rounds from City Trees. That means that, try as I might, it is a TONNE of work with an axe. Sure, every morning I take a few swings before heading to work, but it is just slow progress. So, every once in awhile, I rent a machine. It is a family affair - my oldest boy (7) picks up the already bucked rounds (It helps to buck to length before the kids arrive. Usually, we do that while offloading wood from the jobsite) and stacks them beside the splitter. I split the logs, and stack them on a 3 step, and my middle boy (5 years) stacks them. You can see the stack - he actually made it through an entire face cord, for which I was very impressed. His choice of stacking method is interesting- but it actually held up, and will allow the wind to move through it. We have pretty much unlimited space for firewood, between the yard, and the (upcoming) homestead, so a loose stack might even be a good thing.
At any rate, the boys spent the better part of 3 hours loading and stacking. The baby spent the better part of 3 hours driving the tractor in a circle (with Mom) and wanting to run the splitter. In 3 hours we split and stacked 4 face cords (1 1/3) bush cord of mostly Ash, with some maple. So, was it a winner, or a loser:
1 Bush Cord of wood, produces the equivalent energy to 1020KWH of electricity or 216 Gallons of Number 2 Heating Oil, or 165 gallons of propane. So, how does that 3 hours of work, shake out:
1 Bush Cord = 3700 KWH of Electricity @ 0.174 $/KWH = $643.80
1 Bush Cord = 216 Ga No 2. Heating Oil @ 1.61/Ga = 347.76
1 Bush Cord = 330 Ga Propane @ .658/Ga = 224.00
So, there you go- even at the lowest ROI, myself and the two little one's earned approximately 224/3=75.00 per hour. Now, of course, there are other costs. We have to get the wood in the first place. It has to be bucked into 16" lengths, and then laid in a reasonable stack. It has to be laid on the splitter, and the splitter needs to be fueled, rented/depreciated, and maintained. The wood needs to be picked up, from a pile, in the early morning (however cold...) and carried inside. The fire has to be started, stoked, monitored and maintained.
It's a lot of work. I could be doing other things, I suppose. But, I'm not. I'm splitting wood with the boys, in the rain. It's worth it.