By Susan Schmidlin
Producers of firewood for the Oregon Woodland Co-op made their way to member Lyal Purinton's farm to see his innovative production techniques.
Lyal has built a specialty sawhorse that can hold several small 8 foot long logs in place at one time. The grooves are set so the chainsaw can slip between the top vee thereby holding the logs in place while cutting the logs into uniform 16 inch blocks. From the sawhorse, the blocks are placed on a staging table near the Super Splitter where Lyal can quickly split the blocks into sizes for the bundles, load cribs for storage and sort the wood out that is not of a high enough quality to be used in the bundles. The wood that gets rejected for bundles is graded during this process to determine if it can be sell-able in bulk, or if it stays on the farm to be used in the shop/ kiln as the heat source to dry the wood.
Lyal's shop is heated with a small earth stove. On the end of the building by the stove, fans on the top racks push air one direction while fans on the lower deck push the air in the opposite direction creating a circular flow throughout the whole building. Dehumidifiers are used to extract the excess moisture and are hooked to hose bibs that take the water outside the building.
The interior building design, with the top 'floor' that can retract and extend, allows for 12 cribs of firewood to be placed easily with the front loader forks on the tractor. Kiln dried wood can be ready for sale in six weeks as opposed to naturally dried firewood taking a minimum of six months. Even the stacking technique for the finished product has been thought out. Lyal stacks the bundles on the pallets with the label side facing out rather than up.
This simple trick helps keep the smoother side edges as the ones for the base of the next row rather than the more bumpy label side. This allows for not only a more stable way to transport, but also makes each pallet easier to stack the rows six high rather than the usual four high for more efficient transport.