Curing and splitting wood for burning

Having had some trees pruned I now have a pile of logs. Cut to length but will need splitting before I can burn them in the grate. I have Holly and Willow wood.
Question is do I split them now or wait until they've cured and then split them? I'm expecting to have to leave them about 2 years to cure unsplit, would it speed the process if I split them now?
On a related note, I've looked at local and national hire shop web sites but can't immediately locate a log splitter. I don't expect to have any more tree logs coming my way for a good few years so hiring seems to make more sense then spending something like £200 for a splitter (I know you can do it by hand and I also know that there are splitters for as little as £150). I'm in "South Somerset" (between Yeovil/Frome/Wells/Street/Glastonbury/Radstock and, at a push, Bristol, Bath, Dorchester, Weymouth.).
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Perhaps ask a local Tree surgeon to assist, they might have even more logs if you ask and suggest there is beer involved ;-)
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|> Having had some trees pruned I now have a pile of logs. Cut to length but |> will need splitting before I can burn them in the grate. I have Holly and |> Willow wood.
Don't bother with the willow - it's trash. It won't keep going until completely dry, and then it burns to nothing in next to no time.
|> Question is do I split them now or wait until they've cured and then split |> them? I'm expecting to have to leave them about 2 years to cure unsplit, |> would it speed the process if I split them now?
Up to you and yes, respectively.
|> On a related note, I've looked at local and national hire shop web sites but |> can't immediately locate a log splitter. I don't expect to have any more |> tree logs coming my way for a good few years so hiring seems to make more |> sense then spending something like £200 for a splitter (I know you can do it |> by hand and I also know that there are splitters for as little as £150).
How many tons of wood you you have? You can split wood with a couple of hand axes, but buying a couple of wedges and a maul or club hammer will probably cost you less than hiring a functional mechanical device. Anything that works is likely to be large and heavy.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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Nick Maclaren says...

Splitting logs by hand is very hard work. If the OP has tons then this is just not an option. We heat our house with a log burning stove and the logs arrive pre-split from the farmer. He has some sort of hydraulic splitter attachment for the back of his tractor. However, a few slip though that are too big to get on the fire and splitting by hand can be extremely difficult, particularly if there are any knots in the wood.
While it is desirable to let the wood cure for two years it is not essential depending on the type of wood. We ran out of logs and the local farmer cut down a tree and brought us the logs. I'm not sure what type of wood it is (possibly oak) but we are burning it already (no choice) two weeks after cutting! They key seems to be to have a very hot fire initially, then it burns well. So while the fire is at full heat the next log is put on the fire so it can be drying ready to burn. This probably isn't the most efficient use of the wood however, as some of the heat is being wasted evaporating the moisture out of the logs. -- David in Normandy
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|> |> Splitting logs by hand is very hard work. If the OP has |> tons then this is just not an option.
Not usually, it isn't, though it can be. With a suitable wood (e.g. holly) that is fairly free of major knots, one stroke of an axe is all that is needed. You don't have to do it all at once, and it doesn't take long to do a hundredweight.
Some woods and ones with major knots are a different matter, but I have heard that they are beyond an el cheapo mechanical splitter, too. Surprise, surprise ....
|> We heat our house |> with a log burning stove and the logs arrive pre-split from |> the farmer. He has some sort of hydraulic splitter |> attachment for the back of his tractor.
Those work, on almost all woods. But I doubt the OP is likely to hire one.
|> I'm not sure what type of wood it is (possibly oak) ...
Oak is one of the harder ones to split. Not as bad as yew, though.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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Nick Maclaren says...

I've got a heavy axe to split over-wide logs. Some split easily as you say, but it is still hard work. I wouldn't want to do more than a few at a time. Not good for arthritic joints :-( Definitely a job for muscular young men.
Wood with knots can be a nightmare. Some "split" logs that arrive are still joined via fat knots. Such pieces are virtually unusable.
A few logs also arrive too long to fit the stove. If the wood is fresh I can just use a bowsaw, or if the wood is seasoned and hard it is a job for the chainsaw. I tried chainsawing some really old oak beams and they were so hard the chainsaw struggled. The wood was smoking hot! Had to resharpen the teeth afterwards.
Ah the joys of a wood burning stove. No fuss or mess with a gas boiler. Just set the thermostat and job done. No messing about stacking logs, bringing them in everyday and stacking them next to the stove, then the ongoing task of starting the fire, topping it up and emptying ashes. That said, watching the real fire often beats watching television. Something satisfying about watching the flames licking around the wood and consuming it. The occasional highlight too when the wood bangs, spits or sparks.
There is a saying in France that you get warmed three times with wood. The first time cutting it, the second time stacking it and the third time burning it. How true.
--
David in Normandy

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|> |> I've got a heavy axe to split over-wide logs. Some split |> easily as you say, but it is still hard work. I wouldn't |> want to do more than a few at a time. Not good for |> arthritic joints :-( |> Definitely a job for muscular young men.
Hmm. I am past 60, and DEFINITELY not muscular in the arms! But I don't have arthritis (only tennis elbow).
|> Wood with knots can be a nightmare. Some "split" logs that |> arrive are still joined via fat knots. Such pieces are |> virtually unusable.
Agreed.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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Nick Maclaren says...

I'm only in my 40's but have little bits of bone growing in various places where they shouldn't. Some unfortunately into major nerves in my neck and also into my spinal cord. Thankfully it went into remission before my date for surgery came up so operation on hold. The surgery itself carries a risk of paralysis or death, so I'm hoping it stays permanently in remission. I just have to take care not to jar or inflame the vertebrae. Swinging an axe is something I do with care and moderation!
--
David in Normandy

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|> |> I'm only in my 40's but have little bits of bone growing in |> various places where they shouldn't. Some unfortunately |> into major nerves in my neck and also into my spinal cord. |> Thankfully it went into remission before my date for |> surgery came up so operation on hold. The surgery itself |> carries a risk of paralysis or death, so I'm hoping it |> stays permanently in remission. I just have to take care |> not to jar or inflame the vertebrae. Swinging an axe is |> something I do with care and moderation!
Oh, gosh. With that problem, you are quite right.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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On 27/1/08 20:40, in article snipped-for-privacy@news.wanadoo.fr,

David, this sounds horribly familiar. I have bony spurs growing on my neck vertebrae and without gentle chiropractic intervention can't walk straight after a week or so. Yesterday, I did some gentle gardening but it involved quite a lot of bending and then standing up etc. just to tidy things up and carry the debris to the wheelbarrow. Later that evening I had a sudden loss of balance which usually indicates my entire spine is right 'out'. A couple of weeks ago, I suddenly had a brief period of double vision and feeling very weak, almost faint. My previous doc wouldn't even arrange for an X-ray on the grounds that I wouldn't want an operation such as you describe, whatever happened to show up on the X-ray. The chiropractor *did* commission an X-ray and while it's not awful, it's not terrifically good, either. I wonder if you'd be kind enough to email me about this? (remove weeds from address) I'd be very glad to hear from someone with similar symptoms, though yours sound worse than mine are at present.
--
Sacha
http://www.hillhousenursery.co.uk
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Sacha says...

I've sent you an email.
--
David in Normandy

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On 28/1/08 09:51, in article snipped-for-privacy@news.wanadoo.fr,

Got it, thank you. Hope my reply makes it back!
--
Sacha
http://www.hillhousenursery.co.uk
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I have similar things that come and go -- and thanks be, go for a lot of the time;!..
BTW read today on the Ceefax news that theres an upsurge in cases of Gout in the US of A, seems to be caused by too many sugary fizzy drinks wrong sort of fructose..
Not directly to do with osteophytes or bone spurs, but all part 'n parcel of the arthritic parcel of problems we have to endure;!....
BTW there is a news group uk.people.support.artertits but its a very low post rate group..
And some there are -very- afflicted by this awful condition:(.
Some would love to be able to walk around in the garden, let alone tend it..
--
Tony Sayer



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tony sayer wrote:

I'm not surprised if that's what they called it. :)
There are 9 groups on news containing "arthri" in the title on my server, a couple even mention "spondy".
Andy
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I am indebted to my 'learned friend for pointing out that my mind was clearly on another newsgroup;)...
--
Tony Sayer



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small logs then ...
--
geoff

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Ankylosing spondylitis?
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"Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain
and presumptuous desire for a second one."
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Huge says...

I don't recall ever being given a specific name such as that, but the doctors spoke of the formation of bone spurs impinging my nerves and the degeneration of disks in my neck.
To quote my medical report:
At C4/5 level there is uncal osteophyte formation with some narrowing of the left exit foramen and probably impingement of the exiting nerve root. At C5/6 level there is left postero-lateral osteophyte formation, this would appear to be associated with a chronic protrusion. There is canal stenosis with cord compression and compression of the exiting left nerve root.
(In none-medical jargon - It seriously bloody hurt!)
--
David in Normandy

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AS is hard to diagnose. Not that it matters, since there is no cure.

Bummer. Sorry to hear it.
--
"Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain
and presumptuous desire for a second one."
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On Mon, 28 Jan 2008 10:33:15 +0000, David in Normandy wrote

<snip>
Hi David, have only just caught up on some of my newsgroup reading and saw this. This sounds exactly like what I have, which is called Spinal Stenosis (NOT Ankylosing spondylitis, which my father had, and which is quite different). If you Google Spinal Stenosis you will find chapter and verse.
I would urge you not to have surgery. My consultant once told me proudly (when I was resisting such) that he had done the same operation on one patient three times! He couldn't understand why I thought this was a failure, not a success. A friend of mine insisted that surgery was the only cure and that he had been told he would have a new quality of life within six months. He has. It's worse.
This is seriously OT for this group except that gardeners have to watch their backs! If you want to take it to email, mine will work and I'll send you a real email address.
--
Sally in Shropshire, UK
Burne-Jones/William Morris window in Shropshire church with conservation
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