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MikeM

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About MikeM

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    Senior Member, Raffle Sponsor 2011

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    Berwick upon Tweed

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  1. Without wanting to sound too defensive the original purpose of the thread was to challenge the very brainwashing you are referencing. It was to flag the next stage, which moves from softwood is crap to naturally seasoned wood is crap. I take your point about cave men, but they didn't have stove sellers, doom pedalling chimney sweeps, twin lined flues or firewood moved around Europe in shipping containers to contend with either. As consumers we do not have the knowledge that you have as producers and tend to rely on what the so called subject matter experts tell us. I see no difference in those providing a decent quality product, soft or hard, at a price that can compete with other fuel types, being edged out by dishonest kiln dried impoters or the beer money brigade, who seem to attract so much comment on this forum.
  2. The return on imported kiln dried hardwood comes from low wages, low raw material costs and high prices based on a customer belief that the product is superior. I am sure it has its place in the market, but it should be promoted on the basis of fact not fiction and not by untruthfully running down the competition. This was my starting point in this thread. I am a high volume user of logs, having switched from oil as my primary heat source. However despite environmental benefits if wood costs me more than oil I might as well switch back. Currently I buy in volume and process for myself, but as I get older and without labour saving equipment this becomes less attractive and it is hard to source the raw material. Most wood cut round here is softwood, which I am continiously told is an inferior product as a heat source. It either ends up being transported on the back of subsidies to co-firing power stations to meet pointless government targets, or shaved up for high quality horse bedding, which is exported round the world. Surely if wood has a real and sustainable place in the energy marketplace it needs to be produced and used close to source, be a competatively priced and good quality product which is marketed on a level playing field.
  3. I've got nothing to get over really. I don't sell logs and I certainly wouldn't buy from them at £269 for a 2 cubic meter pallet even if it is neatly stacked. Just annoyed me that they are clearly misleading people and also claiming to save the planet by shipping firewood half way round the world.
  4. A large advertisement for a company selling kiln dried (and presumably imported) hardwood appears on the front page of my local paper this week. It claims “our logs are dried to around 10%-15% moisture. Even the most seasoned logs still contain around 30% moisture. The advert then goes on about the product’s virtues in terms of being kind to the environment. Not something I particularly associate with imported logs. Went to my store, pulled out the first log I came to from the pile I cut two years ago and split last year, split it again, stuck in the moisture meter and got a reading of 19.2%. Either I’m defying science, my meter is bust, or this lot are putting out misleading advertisements. Can anyone enlighten me on the facts about how dry logs seasoned in say the North East of England can get, or point me in the direction of some hard evidence? I’m not a commercial log producer, but I don’t like people being mislead and I’m tempted to bring this advertisement to the attention of the ASA.
  5. Buzzsurgeon I am currently looking to do the same although I plan to leave the oil boiler in place as backup. I have looked into both Eco Angus and ETA log gasification systems. Log boilers need an accumulator tank to store the heat and they basically batch burn and heat the water in the highly insulated tank to be used as needed. Pellet boilers will fire up on demand and do not therefore require a tank, but the fuel is expensive. I’ve not really looked into woodchip, but I’m not convinced this is a system that is suited to domestic installations. All bio fuel boilers will be eligible for Renewable Heat Incentive payments (RHI) when it comes in late next year, although the level of subsidy has not yet been finalised. If the system heats more than one property, with separate council tax / business rates bills, then the commercial RHI already applies and this gives a decent level of support. Wood boiler systems are expensive to buy and to have installed. They also take up a lot of space. However if you can source cheap or free fuel, you are replacing an oil system, you have the space and a lifestyle that allows for regularly feeding the fuel and you can come up with a hefty initial capital outlay, then they look to be a good option. An alternative is a stove and back boiler to linked into an existing system. This is not eligible for RHI and seems to involve some very complex plumbing and has the same issues about feeding, but may be worth looking at.
  6. RHI will apply to pellet and chip boilers as well, but not stoves with back boilers. They are expensive both to buy and to have installed by a certified installer, which is a condition of qualifying for the grant. However under current proposals the RHI would provide a decent incentive and a reasonable payback time. This may of course all change before the domestic RHI is finalised and kicks in late next year. I'm currently looking at log gassification boilers, which work well with soft wood. Soft will be attractive to people like me if it is sigificantly cheaper, which will mean more than the £10-£15 discount per cube many seem to offer at the moment. I'm planning to process my own wood and sell any surplus I am able to produce. From a consumer convenience perspective hard wood remains a vastly superior product. For soft wood to be a realistic alternative it needs to be realistically priced.
  7. Are they thinking of excluding log gasifying boilers from the eligible technology I wonder. It’s possible to retro apply for RHI for any approved technology installed after 15 July 2009, but no guarantee until final details of the domestic scheme are announced of what technology will be included. Apart from the convenience factor I’m not too keen on pellets. They cost a fortune and require far more energy to produce than logs, which can also be self produced without the need for expensive equipment. I self installed solar directly to the HW cylinder a couple of years ago. Can’t say I’m hugely impressed, although we haven’t had too much sunshine in the last few years! By self installing I had to pay VAT at 17.5% on the kit as opposed to 5% if it had been installed by a contractor. Never did get my head round the reason for this. Even wrote to my MP about it, who told me it was European legislation! The same seems to apply to log boilers. 20% VAT if buying direct but only 5% via an approved installer.
  8. I’m currently looking into the idea of installing a log gasification boiler and accumulator tank in an existing outbuilding to replace an old oil fired boiler. I’d welcome any advice from others who have done this or are thinking along similar lines. My current preference is for an Eco Angus boiler. I’m hoping to offset some of the costs through the Renewable Heat Incentive, which is due to kick in for domestic appliances late next year, but details of payment levels are not yet announced. Slightly nervous about this given what has happened to the feed in tariff for photovoltaics last month. Does a wholesale switch to wood heating at this stage make sense without certainty about financial incentives, or is sticking with oil and a couple of stand alone wood stoves a safer bet? I know the price of oil is only going to go in one direction, but wood isn’t exactly getting cheaper.
  9. I bought a WX 920 this year, which I use for splitting 3 foot billets. It has handled everything I have thrown at it to date including some very hefty oak. I rarely have to run it much above tickover speed. I would echo the comments about Andrew from Wallenstein UK, who provided excellent service and personal delivery. Only slight drawback is getting some of the larger stuff onto the deck. I thought about getting the model with the lifter, but this would have added significantly to the cost and the delivery time.
  10. Cheers Quickthorn I think I'm getting there. Guess there are around 60 logs, same lengths variation in diameter, but I could calculate on 7 or 8 sample sizes. I guess its then its a straight (r x r) x pi x height to give a volume for each sample size then x 0.98 to convert to weight. This should give me enough to make an indicative offer to be confirmed by weighing the timber when delivered if the deal goes through. Thanks for your help to all who responded.
  11. They are small woodland owners only just starting to manage their woods and I guess taking a cautious approach and wanting to know the value of their product before committing to the cost of extraction. Things are further complicated by the fact that wood of less than 20cm diameter commands a lower price due to local market factors, so I am actually being asked to make 2 separate offers, one for the timber under 20 cm and another for over. They are good people and I am hoping to develop a long term relationship with them. That’s why I am trying to accommodate their requests. I realise it would be much easier to stick it on a truck and take it over a weigh bridge, but that’s not the deal currently on offer. Incidentally how is the value / price of standing timber calculated? Could I not use a similar approach?
  12. Thanks for the responses so far. The problem is it’s not stacked, just lying where it as been felled. The vendor wants to know the price I’ll offer before extracting and stacking on the roadside, so the deal has to be done before it can be accurately weighed. I know what I’ll offer per ton, I was hoping there was a simple way of estimating total weight with the wood lying where its been felled. I’m assuming it’s a 2 stage process of a) work out the volume and b) convert volume to weight. One advantage is that the timber is all fairly straight. I know a more experienced eye could probably get close enough just by looking. Neither the vendorn or I have that experience. I just want to try and come up with a figure that leaves us both feeling the deal is a fair
  13. I have been asked to make an offer on some recently felled Scots Pine currently lying in the wood. The timber will be extracted by the vendor so my offer will be based on a roadside price. I know how much I want to offer per ton, but need to be able to estimate the weight of the wood in its current position. The logs are between 10cm and 30 cm diameter and most are cut to approx 2.9m lengths. At a rough guess from a brief initial inspection there is about an artic load. Any advice on how to come up with a reasonably accurate calculation of the weight gratefully received.
  14. Tom D pm sent about wholesale wood. Apologies for piggybacking on your thread JustJohn.
  15. At the moment I have a few 2.9m lengths of ash 16” to 20”diameter and good and straight, which I got as part of a firewood load. I’m just exploring options for the future at the moment. Do I consider setting aside stuff like this for milling. Part of this is down to the availability and cost of a milling service. Part of it is also about not sacrificing everything to firewood and part of it is about avoiding the hard work of logging the big stuff. I am working in partnership with someone who is interested in the end product, but obviously it needs to be cost effective to produce it ourselves. How much do you charge?

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