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Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
cutting firewood on 05/15/2010 12:57:44 MDT Print View

What's a UL solution for how to chop down and then cut up standing deadwood for campfires?

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: cutting firewood on 05/15/2010 13:14:58 MDT Print View

Not to put a thorn in this thread, but chopping down even the dead wood is not very common practice because it violates the LNT principals. In many places you're not allowed to chop down standing dead wood. Most rules state that "downed and dead" wood is the only thing acceptable for fires. Please make sure of the rules in places where you camp, and maybe rethink taking saws and hatchets to the backcountry.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Cutting Firewood on 05/15/2010 14:29:07 MDT Print View

The rules in PA are the same - you're not allowed to cut or knock down anything standing.

Usually when we backpack in PA we can find plenty of firewood but breaking branches over 1" typically involves one of the following techniques:
- Prop against a rock or log and stomp
- Break using your knee as the breakpoint
- Whacking the branch against a rock or stump

I've found the first two to be rather unpleasant due to sore feet and knees before you even start and the third option results in pieces of wood flying all over the place.

For our hike next weekend one of our guys is carrying my 15" Sven Saw - It weighs 10.6 ounces but it's a real saw.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Cutting Firewood on 05/15/2010 14:41:14 MDT Print View

I've carried my japanese pull saw on a couple of trips, and it works great. Went through 3-4" logs with minimal effort. I didn't bother cutting down the handle or anything to reduce the weight, but it would be easy to do so. It weighs 6.25 oz on my scale (not the half a pound the website says). And it's only $7.

10" Flush Cut Pull Saw

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Cutting Firewood on 05/15/2010 14:44:21 MDT Print View

My LNT warning aside, here's an option, but I don't know how well they work

saw

They're about $8, and I don't know actual weight, but I picked one up in a store. It couldn't be more than 2-3 ounces. Probably less.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: cutting firewood on 05/15/2010 14:54:55 MDT Print View

It's gotta be down and dead, not standing.

Say you find some down and dead. The wire saws aren't a lot of good IME (sorry, Travis). You want to make sure you're cutting small stuff, stuff that will burn completely in the course of one fire. No big logs; just a few inches. The most practical, lightest thing I've found is a retractable pruning-style saw. Gerber has a sliding "camp saw" (blade stows in handle) that weighs ~3.5oz. If you need to split the wood to get to the dry inside, carry a dual-purpose knife instead of an axe/hatchet. Probably something like a 4-inch Mora.

Cheers-

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Cutting Firewood on 05/15/2010 14:58:27 MDT Print View

Those wire saws can be a bit rough on your hands.

Cheers

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
wire saws on 05/15/2010 15:03:00 MDT Print View

Good to know guys. I guess my instinct telling me not to buy one while milling around a camping store was correct.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: cutting firewood on 05/15/2010 15:33:22 MDT Print View

Well as far as saws, Ultimate Survival makes a manual chain saw. Its like a wire saw but has actual chainsaw teeth set opposing each other, so it cuts in both directions. It has grosgrain straps for your hands and is not too uncomfortable. It cuts well.

But for firewood you may want a hatchet. Gerber makes some pretty light hatchets

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: cutting firewood on 05/15/2010 15:42:13 MDT Print View

But for firewood you may want a hatchet. Gerber makes some pretty light hatchets

Hatchets and LNT are simply not compatible, unless (perhaps) you limit the hatchet to splitting wood.

Just break the wood -- see the ideas in an earlier post. If the wood is too big to break, find a different piece of wood.

--MV

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: cutting firewood on 05/15/2010 15:59:02 MDT Print View

>Just break the wood -- see the ideas in an earlier post. If the wood is too big to break, find a different piece of wood.

+1

Marc Eldridge
(meld) - MLife

Locale: The here and now.
cutting firewood on 05/15/2010 16:41:54 MDT Print View

I like this method

cutting firewood

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: cutting firewood on 05/15/2010 16:52:33 MDT Print View

I did that once. The wood was extremely hard and the large rock I threw at it bounced right back at me!

John Brown
(johnbrown2005) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
cutting firewood on 05/15/2010 16:52:48 MDT Print View

Man, have been to so many high country campsites where every branch w/in a half mile has been sawed or hacked off, every fallen log stripped of branches, ground bare. Bummer. W/o telling other folks what to do, I'd just ask that you look around and think real hard about the impact you're making before you start sawing/hacking. Maybe there's places that are far off the beaten track where it can be done without degrading the experience for those who come next...

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Re: Re: cutting firewood on 05/15/2010 17:06:19 MDT Print View

So the argument is that finding and chopping a log with a hatchet is less LNT than finding and throwing a big rock, splintering wood everywhere and probably gouging out the ground?

I mean, the OP was asking about firewood. Already he is leaving a trace. (fire) I wasn't suggesting cutting down a tree with a hatchet. They are not made for that. I'm saying is use a saw to cut to length, then hatchet, if you want, to split it.

He's leaving a trace, so LNT shouldn't have come up. But since it did, dragging a big limb through the woods and finding a big rock to bust it up leaves more of a trace than a small saw and a hatchet.

EDIT- as for the high country sites, don't make a fire no matter what (i guess if your life is on the line its ok...)

Edited by WoodenWizard on 05/15/2010 17:08:48 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: cutting firewood on 05/15/2010 17:28:18 MDT Print View

I brought up LNT because OP was asking about how to cut down a dead tree. That's an obvious No-No.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
RE:cutting firewood on 05/15/2010 20:21:44 MDT Print View

If the only wood around needs to be cut down. Don't have a fire there. Move on. A small folding saw is probably the most effective. But, if you need to saw it, the wood might not be small enough to burn up completely in a small fire. IME a saw is dead weight. If you can't break it by hand, it's too large. Yeah, a fire is nice,but....

Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
cutting firewood on 05/16/2010 18:08:08 MDT Print View

It seems I've opened Pandora's box. This was not the intention. I had heard, saw, or read somewhere that standing wood was the way to go. I guess the source was unreliable.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Campfires from standing wood. on 05/16/2010 19:58:34 MDT Print View

If you are looking for dry wood in an emergency, a standing
stump may well have what you need. A sturdy knife or folding
saw should get you enough to get a fire started. You may need
pine pitch or vaseline soaked cotton balls for tinder.
Search for starting a fire in wet weather.

As for LNT, there are still some places where there is so much
dead wood on the ground that wood for a campfire will not
be missed. Of course a forest fire started by that campfire or the
soil that is sterilized by that campfire is another issue.

A fire in the Krummholz zone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krummholz)is a no no. Anyway if you are in danger of
cold injury, you would be better descending to a more
sheltered spot anyway.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: cutting firewood on 05/16/2010 20:09:48 MDT Print View

"I guess the source was unreliable."

The people who advocate cutting up standing trees tend to be the same people who are in the business of selling large knives and hachets.

--B.G.--