Home Essentials Fire Obtaining Firewood

Obtaining Firewood

If the grid goes down, sooner or later, you’re going to rely on wood to keep you warm or heat your home. How will you get that wood? Have you thought about the process of obtaining firewood?

Obtaining Firewood When the Grid Goes Down

When the grid goes down how will you get your firewood?

There will be plenty of working chainsaws for felling timber and cutting trees into logs, but the sound of chainsaws can carry for miles.

I’m not sure I’d want people to know that I had the ability to cut firewood, when they may not. It could lead to some tense interactions or disagreements.

There are some quieter, old school methods of obtaining firewood. These tools have been used successfully for centuries, but you have to use the proper tool for the job.

Knowing which tool to use for the job, requires a basic understanding of turning trees into firewood.

Turning trees into firewood:

  1. Felling a standing tree, or locating fallen timber
  2. Cutting the timber into convention logs sizes
  3. Splitting the large logs into manageable firewood sizes.


Felling a Standing Tree

Felling Axes

Felling axes are used to chop down standing timber (trees). They are designed to cut across the grain of wood, and need to be very sharp, to be able to efficiently cut the fibers.

Felling axes can come in single or double bit (the bit is the cutting edge of the head) and in many different weights, shapes, handle types and cutting geometries to match the characteristics of the wood being cut.

Cutting the Fallen Timber into Logs

Crosscut Saws

A crosscut saw (thwart saw) is a general term for any saw blade for cutting wood perpendicular to the wood grain. Crosscut saws may be small or large, with small teeth close together for fine work like woodworking or large for coarse work like log bucking, and can be a hand tool or power tool.

Crosscut saws are available in one man crosscut saws and two man crosscut saws (to work in teams or two and make the cutting easier).

two man crosscut saw

Bow Saw

A modern bow saw is a metal-framed crosscut saw, in the shape of a bow, with a coarse wide blade. It is a rough tool that can be used for cross-cutting branches or small logs into firewood.

bow saw

Hatchet or Hand Ax

A hatchet or hand ax can be used to cut trees into smaller logs, or to split logs into smaller pieces of firewood.

A hatchet is a single-handed striking tool with a sharp blade on one side and a hammer head on the other side. Hatchets may also be used for hewing when making flattened surfaces on logs.

A hand axe, which many times is confused with the hatchet, is a small axe meant to be used with one hand.

Splitting Logs into Firewood

Splitting Axe

A splitting axe is usually a larger axe, or an axe with a head, designed to chop and split.

Splitting Maul

A splitting maul also known as a block buster or block splitter. It is a heavy, long-handled wedge shaped axe used for splitting a piece of wood along its grain. It is similar to a sledgehammer combined with an an axe. They are very effective due to their weight and shape.

splitting maul

Green and Seasoned Firewood

Green Wood

Green wood is wood that has been freshly cut from recently standing timber. It’s hard to ignite, but will burn longer then seasoned firewood.

Seasoned Wood

Seasoned wood has been cut and has been stored for a couple seasons, it ignites easier than green wood, and burns faster and hotter.

You may want to burn a mixture of green wood and seasoned wood to give you longer burning times and to ration your seasoned wood, to make it last longer.

Always inspect your chimney and wood burning stove or fireplace regularly to ensure it’s in proper working order and to check for signs of creosote and other build up.


If you have a wood stove or fireplace, then you should be all set to use your firewood. If you don’t a wood burning fireplace or stove, and can’t install one in your current home, then maybe you can pick up a tent wood stove (camping wood stove) and put it away for an emergency, or even install it in an outdoor shed or your garage.


  1. Mostly good basics however use of green wood is not encouraged for indoor heating use where seasoned wood is available. Seasoned wood burns hotter and faster because energy doesn’t have to be used to heat water in the wood. Using green wood creates a noticeable drop in heat output in some situations because energy is used to turn water in the wood to vapor and send it right out the chimney. It doesn’t really help you stretch your supply in the long run.
    Also good to remember wood needs longer to season if you’re in a wetter climate, have many overcast days, or as the diameter of the logs increases.

  2. We have recently started our firewood business and came across this article. Really appreciate you taking the time to educate us on this. I would have never thought to burn green wood with seasoned wood, but that makes sense, to increase burn time. Firewood is not really the most exciting thing to talk about but you did a great job of keeping it interesting. Thanks a ton.


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