How To Shorten Firewood That's
For Your Stove (with video!)
Though I have cut and split my own firewood for decades, every few years I purchase firewood to supplement my own supply. Unfortunately, most firewood sellers do not offer firewood less than 16" in length. I own a small Waterford wood stove that needs logs no longer than 14" - 15".
When I received my first delivery of commercially cut wood back in 1991, I had no idea how difficult and time-consuming it would be to shorten the firewood a piece at a time. So I solved this dilemma by building a wood frame (or "apparatus" as I refer to it in the video on YouTube) to securely hold multiple pieces for cutting with a chainsaw.
The apparatus... the Natural Handyman's cutting rack!
I didn't feel like making a trip to the lumberyard so I used pieces of pressure-treated (PT) lumber and landscape ties that I had piled up in the "natural" area in my back yard... the place where all the stuff that is too good to throw away but too nasty to store indoors.
The design is simple... essentially a small wood storage rack with the end supports joined across the top to provide stability. I used 6"x6" landscape ties for the base so the chainsaw wouldn't get too close to the ground at the end of the cut, and also to provide some extra stability due to their weight. (More pictures below.)
How to use it...
Load the rack so all the firewood is aligned on one end. Put the longest, heaviest logs at the bottom for stability. Place the remaining logs to fit tightly. Fill the rack as close to the top as possible to minimize "jumping and bucking" of the topmost pieces when you start cutting. Using a chainsaw with a sharp chain, cut from the top down at the length you want. Be careful not to hit the ground a the bottom, and keep your work area clean by moving the sawdust (there will be plenty!) and wood bits aside after each cut. Safety first!
By the way, the hundreds of wastewood "cutoffs" are great for outdoor fireplaces and even for starting fires in your stove. Don't waste anything! Remember... firewood doesn't grow on trees!
For the base, I used 6"x6" PT wood. (It's obvious that I wasn't too concerned with aesthetics.) These 6x6's determine the length of the rack and their spacing determines the width. The vertical supports are 2x4's, tied together with other 2x4's and, in a few spots, 1x6" PT boards. The bottom cross-pieces between the 6x6"s make the frame a little more stable on uneven surfaces.
Rough Dimensions: Height from ground: 48" Width: 24" Depth: 10"
Be sure to use heavily galvanized nails or screws designed for PT wood. Enjoy!