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TomF
02-15-2007, 11:53 AM
On High C's thread, we had a bit of discussion over wood heat. Sam made an interesting comment - that if his local wood supply started to look unsustainable, he'd maybe do some coppicing.

I've been thinking about coppiced wood for a long time. Coppicing means cutting down a tree (usually broadleaf), and allowing the shoots from the stump to grow ... to be harvested again usually on a 5-8 year rotation. Some of the "stools" managed this way in the UK are still productive after 500 years or so ...

Pollarding is similar, but the trunk of the tree's allowed to grow up high enough that grazing animals wouldn't nibble off the new growth.

In the UK, usually hazel's the species of choice, though others will work. There's been a fair bit of interest in using willow - because it regrows so splendidly in such a short period.

I've often thought that my dreamland-like house in the country I'd like to build and retire to would have a sufficient number of coppiced or pollarded trees to harvest on a regular rotation for supplemental fuel, building material, tool handles etc.

Thoughts?

Milo Christensen
02-15-2007, 12:01 PM
How much larger would a hardwood lot need to be to be sustainable without going to the effort of working with such small pieces as you'd get cutting sideshoots?

peb
02-15-2007, 12:04 PM
TomF,

First you were considering to start hunting for his meat supply and now farming your own timber for heat. What's the next question: I wonder how smoke signals will work for communicating with my old friends in the city? Have you considerd how well the old outhouses work for a sewer system?


Just kidding :) :)

Tommy Bonds
02-15-2007, 12:10 PM
Outhouses work fine and I know plenty of folk who use em daily, but they are not a sewer sisytm.

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 12:21 PM
My yard is tree poor...gonna remove some of them and use them to heat with at the same time...not sustainable though...not the best wood for heat either...walnut is next after the rest of the pine

Popeye
02-15-2007, 12:38 PM
ever watch survivorman? , he did a stint out in the arizona desert once and one observation he had about the fire wood , compared to canadian fire wood he gathered for his campfire , was the dry stuff collected in the desert lasted 'five times' longer than the soft balsa fir and watnot found in the boreal forest

extremely dry dessicated wood apparently burns way better , i think this true , i have built beach fires from drift wood and the flame is brighter , hotter and burns much longer than the anything else around , and the coals are just perfect for cooking

Ron Williamson
02-15-2007, 12:51 PM
I've got self-coppiced ash at my house.
The previous owner cut some trees and now they've sprouted back from the stumps.
Ash would be slower growth than willow or poplar(asp for popeye),but is generally better as fuel and miscellaneous(sp?) wood.
IIRC, five acres will keep you in firewood forever.
R

Milo Christensen
02-15-2007, 12:54 PM
I've got self-coppiced ash at my house.
The previous owner cut some trees and now they've sprouted back from the stumps.
Ash would be slower growth than willow or poplar(asp for popeye),but is generally better as fuel and miscellaneous(sp?) wood.
IIRC, five acres will keep you in firewood forever.
R

When the emerald ash borer gets there, you can kiss your ash goodbye.

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 12:58 PM
I once read that three acres of wood lot is required to sustain wood heat on a farm

PatCox
02-15-2007, 01:00 PM
Go book a tour of the great forests of China. Thats what the landscape looks like when wood is the primary energy source. They have even developed a cuisine in which everything is sliced into small pieces and flash-fried so they only have to use a few twigs. Nice.

Then there is the partiuculate pollution, the noxious gases, etc.

Popeye
02-15-2007, 01:05 PM
Go book a tour of the great forests of China. Thats what the landscape looks like when wood is the primary energy source.

try the u.k.

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 01:23 PM
I agree...that memory must go back over 30 years

Popeye
02-15-2007, 01:27 PM
I'd imagine it depends .. on where you live, how large a volume of space you're heating, and what kind of fuel you're growing.

and how well the wood is seasoned

TomF
02-15-2007, 01:31 PM
I'm a neo-peoleolithic at heart Peb.:D Also thought about starting a thread about flint and steel ... :D

Your coppicing info about willow is really interesting, Donn. Are any of those varieties some of the ones specifically developed for basketry?

Paired with a masonry heater, small diameter wood is pretty much ideal for heating - the very hot, fast burn tends to keep particulate emissions very low, and the heater's design promotes secondary combustion that pretty much takes care of the rest of the particulates. The masonry absorbs the energy of the short, high-temperature fire, and radiates it out slowly, over perhaps 8-12 hours. So even in really cold weather, usually only two firings/day.

Coppicing schemes don't have to be designed for poles, though. In many cases, they'd work on a slightly longer harvest schedule, and look for wood of 4-6" diameter. As the trees themselves never get overly huge, they're pretty efficient use of space too.

One common planting scheme in the UK was coppiced hazel (for many of the uses Donn's putting to willow), and occasional full-sized oaks ... trained to shape for grown crooks and knees.

I've heard that in more conventional woodlot management, 5 acres was often thought enough to supply farm wood and fuel needs on a sustainable basis. Coppicing, being more intensive, would need much less land.

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 01:48 PM
I'm a neo-peoleolithic at heart Peb.:D Also thought about starting a thread about flint and steel ... :D

Your coppicing info about willow is really interesting, Donn. Are any of those varieties some of the ones specifically developed for basketry?

Paired with a masonry heater, small diameter wood is pretty much ideal for heating - the very hot, fast burn tends to keep particulate emissions very low, and the heater's design promotes secondary combustion that pretty much takes care of the rest of the particulates. The masonry absorbs the energy of the short, high-temperature fire, and radiates it out slowly, over perhaps 8-12 hours. So even in really cold weather, usually only two firings/day.

Coppicing schemes don't have to be designed for poles, though. In many cases, they'd work on a slightly longer harvest schedule, and look for wood of 4-6" diameter. As the trees themselves never get overly huge, they're pretty efficient use of space too.

One common planting scheme in the UK was coppiced hazel (for many of the uses Donn's putting to willow), and occasional full-sized oaks ... trained to shape for grown crooks and knees.

I've heard that in more conventional woodlot management, 5 acres was often thought enough to supply farm wood and fuel needs on a sustainable basis. Coppicing, being more intensive, would need much less land.


One of the things I must make for my new possibles bag is a strike-a-light kit...

Popeye
02-15-2007, 01:53 PM
http://gallery.ourlabrador.ca/albums/druscillariche/aac.jpg

you might also want to check out the underwater arctic monkey grass basket weaving and sea shanty festival held ever year at the underwater arctic monkey grass basket weaving and sea shanty festival symposium

TomF
02-15-2007, 01:54 PM
One of the things I must make for my new possibles bag is a strike-a-light kit...Ragnar, over at the Ragweed Forge, makes and sells some highly regarded fire strikers. These are one of the shape that Vikings preferred ... he also sells oval ones, like the French primarily traded with natives here in NA.:D

http://www.ragweedforge.com/striker.jpg

TomF
02-15-2007, 01:55 PM
http://gallery.ourlabrador.ca/albums/druscillariche/aac.jpg

you might also want to check out the underwater arctic monkey grass basket weaving and sea shanty festival held ever year at the underwater arctic monkey grass basket weaving and sea shanty festival symposiumTo my intense dismay, I can't see the picture you've linked.:D

PatCox
02-15-2007, 02:00 PM
I have a friend who is a good flint-knapper and is proficient with the atalatl. We could form a neo-neolithic hunter-gatherer tribe. The constant warfare to protect our territory would have the added benefit of keeping down the population. Ish could fulfill his lifelong dream and be our shaman.

TomF
02-15-2007, 02:08 PM
Would we get to develop our own language? Or just grunt?

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 02:10 PM
Ragnar, over at the Ragweed Forge, makes and sells some highly regarded fire strikers. These are one of the shape that Vikings preferred ... he also sells oval ones, like the French primarily traded with natives here in NA.:D

http://www.ragweedforge.com/striker.jpg

I always forge my own...makes it personal that way

Popeye
02-15-2007, 02:13 PM
you can get a package of three bic lighters from walmart for 99 cents

i'll send you one

WillW
02-15-2007, 02:17 PM
Hey now seriously, heating with wood is a big issue around here. I've been finding that just keeping up the deadfall around the farm keeps us in firewood. We've installed a clean-burning zero clearance fireplace in the kitchen, and it's really made for a warm winter.

One of the big surprises I've been finding is that the "junk" wood such as poplar and Manitoba maple is actually quite good to burn. It grows quickly, dries extremely well and burns quite hot and clean (unlike pine, for example).

MM would be a good candidate for pollarding, it grows back naturally if it's allowed to. We also have alders that grow along the river which would be a good candidate, if the beavers ever left it alone. I think they've been harvesting it for some time.

TomF
02-15-2007, 02:18 PM
you can get a package of three bic lighters from walmart for 99 cents

i'll send you oneAnd when the butane gets used up? Lots of fire strikers still going strong after a couple hundred years.

Phillip, I've wondered about doing the same ... maybe from old files? What do you use?

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 02:18 PM
Misses the point popeye

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 02:20 PM
And when the butane gets used up? Lots of fire strikers still going strong after a couple hundred years.

Phillip, I've wondered about doing the same ... maybe from old files? What do you use?

In the past I've used cold-rolled steel then case hardened it...works well but needs to be re case hardned every 5 or 10 years...

Popeye
02-15-2007, 02:23 PM
a bic lighter has a flint and steel striker

what point am i missing?

George Roberts
02-15-2007, 02:24 PM
As I understand tree growth ...

The most volume is put on during middle age.

I suspect coppicing is not the best way to manage a woodlot. It might be the only way to manage a woodlot that has been poorly managed to the extent that there are no large trees.

One should really do an analysis but ...

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 02:25 PM
a bic lighter has a flint and steel striker

what point am i missing?



every good sailor is self-contained to a large extent...those who eschew self-containment tend to be stink-potters :)

PatCox
02-15-2007, 02:26 PM
Developing language would be fun, think of how much better we could coordinate our hunting and gathering if we could communicate. I suggest we start with sounds for "ouch" and "ummm."

Cuyahoga Chuck
02-15-2007, 02:27 PM
Back in 1988 I was passing thru Albaqueque in December. From the radio I found out that wood smoke was increasing the severity of the smog and those that burned wood were supposed to lay off burning wood on some designated day of the week.
If they were depending on those conifers for firewood it's no wonder they were being smoked out.

TomF
02-15-2007, 02:29 PM
Yeah, I suspect you're right George. Coppicing developed as a management technique that would work efficiently with hand tools and without tractors etc. to drag the logs. Smaller pieces made for easier handling, and more of the rural construction techniques (e.g. wattle/daub) used poles and split laths, requiring comparatively little additional preparation of the wood.

Wood that size is still nicely scaled for low-power harvesting and handling, which would be a tradeoff for the drop in efficiency in biomass production.

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 02:32 PM
Back in 1988 I was passing thru Albaqueque in December. From the radio I found out that wood smoke was increasing the severity of the smog and those that burned wood were supposed to lay off burning wood on some designated day of the week.
If they were depending on those conifers for firewood it's no wonder they were being smoked out.


I lived there at that time...yes but it only applied to aesthetic wood burning...up in the Jamez mountains to the east of Albuquerque entire valleys were blanketed with blue smoke on cold days

Popeye
02-15-2007, 02:35 PM
every good sailor is self-contained to a large extent...

never heard of a jail-house match
.. how about some steel wool and a 9v battery ..

what else ya got ?

J P
02-15-2007, 02:35 PM
I'm also interested in developing a grove for coppicing and pollarding. I'm thinking a mix of willow, poplar, and black locust might be useful. Some kind of food producing species would be handy as well. Any ideas? I need to develop a reliable water system on the property first to get things started.

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 02:40 PM
never heard of a jail-house match
.. how about some steel wool and a 9v battery ..

what else ya got ?


that's cheatin...like using an in-line and calling it a muzzleloader or burning that fake powder...might as well get someone else to have your sex fer ya

WillW
02-15-2007, 02:45 PM
Back in 1988 I was passing thru Albaqueque in December. From the radio I found out that wood smoke was increasing the severity of the smog and those that burned wood were supposed to lay off burning wood on some designated day of the week.
If they were depending on those conifers for firewood it's no wonder they were being smoked out.


We've been using a new EPA-rated rated appliance, and I'm amazed at how clean it is. Under most conditions it produces no visible smoke. It provides fresh air from outside, and gases are re-circulated and re-burnt. It even appears to be a draw with our high-efficiency furnace.

btw, under no conditions should anybody be burning conifer. It builds up creosote in the chimney at an amazing rate.

TomF
02-15-2007, 02:48 PM
JP?

I'm thinking about using the local species that start the progression from fields back into climax forest. It will take some research and experimentation to see what will sucker and re-grow well enough to be useful for coppicing and/or pollarding, but the advantage will be still providing some aspects of a natural habitat for wildlife. Also, if it already grows 'round here, it will be locally adapted and will take less babying.

Ash is one local possibility, as is birch ... but I'd want to go for a fair bit of diversity... for when that ash borer arrives.

I'll also plant for aesthetics - flowering dogwoods etc., and plan the sight lines to align with views from the house and garden. And plan for other uses ... e.g., keep nice open shooting lines for the deer that come to browse ... Another reason to judiciously mix coppiced and pollarded trees ... don't want the deer and rabbits to get all the new growth!

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 02:50 PM
We've been using a new EPA-rated rated appliance, and I'm amazed at how clean it is. Under most conditions it produces no visible smoke. It provides fresh air from outside, and gases are re-circulated and re-burnt. It even appears to be a draw with our high-efficiency furnace.

btw, under no conditions should anybody be burning conifer. It builds up creosote in the chimney at an amazing rate.


That's all they have in the southwest...generally Pinion pine

Popeye
02-15-2007, 02:50 PM
that's cheatin...like using an in-line and calling it a muzzleloader or burning that fake powder...might as well get someone else to have your sex fer ya

i try to be a good beer snob , other than that i will remain a peasant
:D

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 02:51 PM
naw...goatta be a stink-potter :)

How can ya have such a depraved attitude and be from the land of "schoon"

paladin
02-15-2007, 02:54 PM
I'd imagine it depends (a lot) on where you live, how large a volume of space you're heating, and what kind of fuel you're growing.

Take a close look at the Icelandic landscape and see what 800 years has done to the country.......

WillW
02-15-2007, 02:58 PM
One of things about pollarded wood is that it is quite dense and burns longer than your classic cut/split wood. It is also easier to harvest, since it can be bundled and carried on your back. It grows smaller, and can be harvested with simple hand tools such as cross-cut saw, and doesn't need to be split.

Here's pioneer species that do well in our habitat, and would make good firewood:

aspen
ironwood
beech
birch
alders
cherry

iirc, beech is also extensively used for pollarding in the UK. You can see places such as Epping Forest where the trees still grow in pollarded or coppiced forms.

Popeye
02-15-2007, 02:59 PM
and to think i painted the cave last summer , what was i think'n

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 03:01 PM
:) . (the land of schooner)
_/|)|)\\
(____~/

TomF
02-15-2007, 03:03 PM
and to think i painted the cave last summer , what was i think'nYou gotta cave?

Hell, you can probably help Pat and me with that language thing too.

Popeye
02-15-2007, 03:04 PM
well its a two story cave

Phillip Allen
02-15-2007, 03:07 PM
heck...I got lotsa stories

TomF
02-15-2007, 03:47 PM
heck...I got lotsa storiesSome verbal, some masonry...:D

Joe Dupere
02-15-2007, 03:50 PM
Once we get to our land in Unity, and get the house built, I'm going to experiment with coppicing. Our woodlot is only a couple of acres, so
it's not going to produce enough wood for heating. Most of what's there
has no commercial value, there's a mix of birch, spruce and a tiny bit
of cedar, maybe some alder. Most of the deadfall that's in there I'm going
to leave for wildlife habitat, some of it I may cut up.

I'm thinking of using Norway maple, it grows pretty fast around here. I have a neighbor across the street who had an immense Norway maple cut down about 4 years ago. It started sprouting that same summer, and now has a couple dozen 4" saplings coming out of the main trunk. Another
couple of years and he'll have a pretty good amount of harvestable
firewood out of that stump.

Joe

High C
02-15-2007, 03:51 PM
well its a two story cave

Sounds like a luxury cave. Show off.

huisjen
02-15-2007, 04:25 PM
The rule of thumb I've always heard is that a temperate forest will produce, on average, about a cord per acre per year.

Also, in The Farm Book, Rein Poortvliet has an illustration of men pollarding some trees. One has a chisel with a 10' handle, which he holds with the blade against the branch to be cut, and the end of the handle at about knee height. The other guy has a slegde for hitting the handle and chopping off a branch in one swing. Poortvliet is Dutch, and this book deals with farming in the Netherlands just after WWII.

Dan

Sam F
02-15-2007, 04:37 PM
Donn, IIRC Willow charcoal makes the best gunpowder. ;)
But not so hot in the firewood department.

For firewood I'd chose black locust or Osage orange.

I've never grown Osage but by repute it sprouts easily.
(It makes a darn good mallet btw.)
I can say from experience that locust is a hard tree to kill.
It sprouts like mad - in VA anyway.
For coppicing you'd actually have to prune off some early on to keep it from becoming a hedge.
Both are excellent firewood.
A coppice is capable of producing the most fuel in the least space of any way I know of. It also provides wildlife habitat in a way that your average suburban grassy yard cannot do.
But if you've got 3-5 acres why not let it go to forest?
It beats mowing that's for sure.
My daugher and her husband have around 7 acres of forest and don't mow anything... I envy them every summer while I'm out there wasting time and gasoline... Not that I keep my yard up to suburban standards, but it has to be mowed at least occasionally.

TomF
02-15-2007, 04:43 PM
Had a girlfriend in university whose folks were market gardeners ... kept a few chickens so they'd have eggs to draw in the paying mob.

They always called grass clippings their chicken feed. And what were the proportions for autonomous lawnmowers that Eliot Coleman found worked pretty well? I think it was 4 sheep and 50 chickens/acre.:D

Sam F
02-15-2007, 04:47 PM
Willow has 14.5 million BTU's per dry cord, compared to 26.5 million for Black Locust.

I'd bet I could grow a cord of Willow faster, and in less space than half a cord of Black Locust.

Here's (http://www.woodycrops.org/paducah/neuhauser.html) an interesting article on a Willow Biomass project in New York State.


Well you've got a good point there about rate of growth. Willow's hard to beat. Plant it and get out of the way!
But I do have some experience heating with it... it's hard to fill the stove enough to make it through the night, but it's OK for during the day.

TomF
02-15-2007, 04:51 PM
That's a fascinating article, Donn. Thanks.

Ron Williamson
02-16-2007, 06:21 AM
One of the Harrowsmith Readers has an article about about coppicing and using chips to heat a private school(maybe?) somewhere in NB
Maybe #3.
I might try to dig it out of the archives.
R