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mikeyne

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About mikeyne

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    Durham
  1. Contractor Processor?

    Just wanted to say thanks for all the replies! We got sorted and Billy and Steve have just left after a lot of hard work today. Billy's Farmi WP36 handled everything we threw at it. Everybody got stuck in and we got through a great amount.
  2. Contractor Processor?

    Well the wife just said we should get involved in the stacking so this could be a faster job than I thought. Also, I'm not used to processors as we currently have a bit of a more manual approach, but they do seem to chuck it through quickly! Would 20-30 tonnes a day seem like a lot?
  3. Contractor Processor?

    Thanks John, that's great to know.
  4. Contractor Processor?

    This year is proving tough to find the time to work on our wood supply and I was wondering if such a thing as a mobile processor and crew existed for hire in the North East for a one off job? We've got about 20 odd tonnes of semi-seasoned mixed hardwood (a lot of beech in it, some sycamore, some birch) to ideally get cut and split up this year. It's in 3m lengths, pretty straight but a mix of diameters from 6 inches to 18 inches. We also need it cut to 60cm lengths (so not the usual) and then stacking tightly in a Poly Tunnel by hand. Ideally, I'd like to hire a crew and a processor for a couple of days work and wondered if this sort of thing exists and any idea on what the going daily rate is? Cheers, Mike
  5. Large chainsaw recomendations.

    Sounds like you have a plan. Poly Tunnels are great for drying the wood. The lift sounds like an interesting project!
  6. Large chainsaw recomendations.

    I'm in a similar situation to you regarding your setup but with about a quarter of the throughput of wood needed (must be the double glazing ) and we've been doing it for a year. I can't really comment on the chainsaw question as there are others way more qualified but I've got some comments on the process. We processed about 40 tonnes with family labour and it took us around 5-6 days. It's hard physical graft and I already know next year will be harder to convince them to help, plus with the best will in the world I doubt we will process at the same speed as someone being paid to do it - whip cracking is hard to impossible. I also struggled with making sure they were safe and watching them with eyes in the back of my head. I've seen too many injuries through carelessness and chainsaws frankly scare the crap out of me. I'm confident I can manage wood processing safely myself but bring in a set of people with less experience and it raises the risks exponentially. I spent more time thinking and watching them while I was handling a chainsaw (no one else is allowed to even pick it up), and that inevitably reduces my effectiveness and focus on the job and increases my own personal risk. People also do not know just how dangerous powered machinery is. They get desensitised to the danger through repetitive use. So I tell my sister that the person operating the splitter is the only one who can place the wood on the splitter because only they can know where their hands are at all times, and she must never touch the wood to pick it up, then I see her later forgetting and helping. It happens. I'm painting an overly bleak picture as I think we did a good job and were safe and more importantly got safer as we progressed, but it is a tense time and not a funtime family activity. It sounds like you are spending a lot of time thinking about the process which is exactly what we did. My main learnings mirror what a lot have already said: Handle wood as little as possible, use a lift / front end loader to place the cord wood onto your choice of processor, use gravity to help move it (we use a ramp from the end of the processor that runs down at a very shallow angle to the bed of the splitter - easy to drag the round wood along it without it rolling too much). Try and process as close as possible to the wood store stacking area. Use stillages if you can to move the wood around the site and end up next to the boiler. I'm really pleased we bought a decent splitter that will last and I know will handle a lot. I'm not sure how you are planning on seasoning but 100 tonnes will take up a very big area if you want it to dry with lots of air movement through it. The best advice I ever received was try and have two years supply and forget about it, by the time you use it, it will be perfect. So that's 200 tonnes storage space... I've also not seen you mention the Biomass Suppliers List which you will need to register on. If you are a processing your own wood then as a self supplier, but if you are buying cordwood in you will need to register as a producer-trader and then "sell" your product to yourself on a quarterly basis. There is a lot of paperwork with the RHI scheme.
  7. How dry can seasoned logs get?

    We went for excessive ventilation, it's got a 70cm netting strip all the way around all the sides at the base and netting in the doors at head height, plus I never got round to putting the main doors on yet so when the wind blows it does get inside . I figured there is no way I could control the moisture in winter, it'll be as damp as the ambient conditions outside but at least the wood wont be getting rained on, and if we have some dryish days, then the good air flow should hopefully keep on top of it and maybe even dry it again. I used to store wood in a shed with no ventilation but lifted off the ground and no double stacking. It used to take 2 years to get to the same condition as the wood in the tunnel this year that has taken 6 months. Air movement is everything.
  8. How dry can seasoned logs get?

    I got it off Wikipaedia: http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equilibrium_moisture_content For the cracks in my logs, I'm assuming that they took a while to develop over the summer and now we are heading towards the cooler wetter months, the wood is regulating as you say and they are closing up. I suppose this has an unexpected benefit as it closes the surface area available on the logs so they will absorb moisture at a slower rate. Regardless, even though they have closed up the surface moisture content at the end of the logs is still a nice 18% so the poly tunnel is keeping them pretty dry even in winter. Agree it is wasteful to dry below 15%, as winter storage will generally overide it. I've found the poly tunnel has taken green wood at around 45% moisture (sycamore and beech) and taken it down to an average of 25% over a period of 6 months. But this is for logs that are 60cm long and densely stacked in 4 rows. There is lots of air flow around and through but it is not as good a drying environment as it could be (the logs on top got ridiculously dry in a few months). I'm hoping that there will be enough storage for two years supply so next year, the wood will be awesome, it's already good this year.
  9. How dry can seasoned logs get?

    I used this graph when I was trying to work out what moisture content I should expect from air dried seasoning of our wood pile: Even in winter at 90% humidity (the black line), the wood should be stabilising to around 22% moisture. It does not take many dry days in summer to see the equilibrium moisture level getting down to 15% moisture (the blue line if we are really lucky). How long the wood takes at that state to get down to the equilibrium is the big question - I actually found a research study that had looked into this from the perspective of forest fires (how many hot summer days would it take to turn a forest floor into a fire risk) and this could be reapplied to wood drying. So if you held a kiln at such a temperature and humidity you should be able to predict the time to dry from one moisture level to another. I had a bit of a surprise recently when I brought some of the wood down into the boiler room. All summer it's been drying in a poly tunnel and cracking nicely, getting to 15 odd % on the outside and 25% inside if freshly split. However, I noticed that since the end of summer, the cracks have disappeared on the logs and when they come inside they look like this: But after only 11 hours in the warm dry conditions of the boiler room they look like this: It seems they will respond quickly to changes in ambient conditions.
  10. kiln dryer

    Hi Marko, I'm burning cut and split logs not chip, so not what you are after I think.
  11. kiln dryer

    This is probably too much information. Scroll down to the end for the summary! It ended up being a steep learning curve as I redesigned it three times before I'd finished but it ended up a lot better than I thought it would. The first thing I changed was to improve the recycle path of the air as it was getting constricted with the weight of the insulation on top. I pushed in a few long 100mm drain pipes and that helped a lot. After a few days, I opened it up and could see that the wood at the start was drying really nicely with lots of cracking and shrinkage, but the final wood at the end of the kiln was still wet (and starting to grow some nice mould!) - not enough air movement - so I bought a really big fan and put it where the dehumidifier was and left the dehumidifier at the start to dry the air from the recycle loop before it was then taken by the fan and blown through the stack. Unfortunately, that didn't work out so well as the dehumidifier was overheating because it was working in such a small space, it also didn't seem to be all that efficient. The final redesign involved moving the dehumidifier to the end of the kiln so it's own fan acted to pull the air through the stack. I then put a long flexible duct on the output of the dehumidifier and pulled the duct back through the recycle path. So the air was being pushed round by two fans one at each end of the stack and dry warm air was being delivered back to the main fan. As the drying progressed, it became harder and harder to drive the water out. I knew that there would come a point where the electrical cost of extracting each liter of water would make it no longer worth continuing. I was maintaining a temperature of about 20 degrees C (it was about 4 degrees C ambient) inside the kiln with the heat coming from the electrical power used to dehumidify and move the air, but I knew the dehumidifier was rated to work up to 38 degrees C so in the final week, I decided to really push it and put a small 1kw fan heater at the start next to the main fan. I knew the fan heater would blow my cost per liter sky high but I wanted to see what it would do to the water extraction rate. Each time I switched it on for about 8 hours, the temperature would skyrocket and I'd see a marginal improvement in water extraction but not much. After 19 days of running the kiln I stopped it and took it apart to see the result. The wood at the front was great. 6.8% moisture on the outside, 21.5% in the middle of a freshly split log. The wood at the back not so good: 11.4% on the outside, 33.7% in the middle. But the wood at the end only really started drying after I'd redesigned the kiln for the umpteenth time so it only had about 10 days of effective drying. Total cost to do this ended up being 375 units of electricity which on our tariff ended up being about £65. I ended up with 1300 kg of (mostly) dry wood, so the cost of drying it ended up being 5 pence per kg and when I bunged it through the boiler it burnt reasonably well and we got just over 2kwh of useful heat per kg so 2.5p per kwh for the energy cost (not including the original cost of sourcing the wood). So not too bad, but I know that next time I could do better. I would use the final design I came up with but instead of letting it build up to temperature naturally (it took about 5 days), I would bung the heater on straight away for the first 24 hours and give it an initial boost, then I would leave it alone. I reckon this would mean less energy used but all the wood moisture would be down to the best I achieved at the start of this kiln. It would probably also take only 14 days instead of 19. I would also switch the power supply to a cheaper economy seven tariff and save some money there too. My main learnings were (sound obvious in hindsight) Get the airflow as fast as you possibly can Make sure the air moves through as usefully as possible - stop it from going around the wood - pack air gaps. Get the kiln up to temperature fast and let it marinate. It could be very cost effective. I actually got really serious about turning this prototype into a functioning kiln that would be more permanently built but eventually decided not to pursue it for the following reasons: It is costly to build. The temporary plastic sausage and insulation worked well but ended up being destroyed when taking the kiln apart. You would either have to invest in better insulation than rockwool that can be easily reused, or build a permanent structure with very tight air gaps - I had grand plans for an insulated box which the stillages would be pushed into at one end and pulled out at the other (think a commercial pizza oven with the continuous belt). Controlling it is hard. The dehumidifier has an optimum operating temperature of 30-38 degrees centigrade, and ideally you want it to be working at this temperature from the start. This will give you the highest rate of water extraction per unit of electricity. But, because the kiln relies on insulation to maintain the temperature it will be heavily influenced by the ambient conditions. Basically, in summer, you'd have to be removing insulation or it will overheat - not very practical on a permanent structure. It's not the safest thing in the world. Every time I left it alone I wondered what would happen if it overheated and I started a nice electrical fire next to a big pile of dry wood. I had a fire extinguisher near it at all times, and had a continuous check of temperatures and humidity, but still breathed a sigh of relief when I switched it off. So fascinating experiment, but we've decided to go for the Poly Tunnel route!
  12. RHI registered producers and suppliers

    I really wish that was the case, but the wording of the announcement to RHI folks: suggests that it is the using of and not the purchase date that matters. Which is a bit of a problem if you factor the time it takes wood to season into account. When I read that I phoned them up and asked them what I was supposed to do with my existing woodpile that has been sourced from sustainable woodlands but is busy seasoning on a 2 year cycle - they had no answer.
  13. Broken teeth on chain

    Thanks for all the advice. It's not new but it's been pretty well looked after until today, just cutting lots of round wood and felling a few trees. I've been sharpening by hand and it's not needed too much doing to it, but today it got hammered (I hate nails). I started sharpening on the saw but it was taking a while so I put on a new chain while I decide what I'm going to do with it (find the time to sharpen it properly). One thing I noticed was how amazingly great the first cut was with a brand new chain but also how it seemed to lose maybe 1-2% of cutting power within the first cut. I was cutting through a 15 inch Hawthorn ring so not the softest of wood. It really felt like hot knife through butter for the first few seconds and then it settled down into great but not amazing. I probably imagined it!
  14. Broken teeth on chain

    Thanks! It's just two but both on the same side. I'll get it sharpened and see how it does.
  15. Broken teeth on chain

    Hi, I need some advice. I was cutting up a thick old wooden beam for firewood today when I seemed to find every hidden nail and screw in it! Took a few restarts but I managed to find a clean way through eventually but not before blunting the chain a fair bit. So I started to resharpen it to find a couple of teeth had snapped clean off the chain! Is this bin time for the chain or can I carry on using it after doing a lot of sharpening?

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