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Firewood Equipment Review: Machines Enable High-Volume Firewood Production
Machinery Reviews Information in Table Form on Firewood Processors and Splitters
Date Posted: 2/1/2009
Depending on the geographic region and market conditions, firewood can be good business.
And there are a number of suppliers who can provide machines to get the job done and get it done easier and faster.
Firewood processors will take a tree-length log or a log bucked to certain lengths, buck it into fireplace length and split each block.
These machines generally require only one operator, although production will be even steadier if another person is available to keep the processor supplied with logs.
Many are available with some type of log deck so that a number of logs can be staged for the machine and then loaded into the infeed system. A log deck requires the use of a skid steer loader or other equipment to pick up the logs and place them onto the deck. Some models are not available with a log deck, but they feature a lift to pick up a log from ground level so it is in position to be processed into firewood.
Most firewood processors use a hydraulic-powered bar saw (chain saw) for bucking, although some manufacturers offer a circular saw for bucking. Infeed systems vary from simple belt conveyor to chain infeed or a grapple system.
One notable exception is Rainier Hydraulics, which offers processors that operate at ground level; they use a hydraulic-powered winch to pull the log into the machine and a shear blade for bucking.
Another exception is Hahn Machinery, which offers an attachment to skid steer loaders. With the attachment, a skid steer loader can pick up a log, buck it and split the block just like a firewood processor.
In addition, some suppliers offer tractor pto-powered firewood processors. These machines, operating off the power of a farm tractor, will buck a log and split the blocks.
Firewood processors are available in a wide range of engine power options, capacity (maximum log length and diameter the machine will process) and other features and options.
Likewise, a number of suppliers offer machines only for splitting blocks into firewood. Splitters are available with numerous features and options, including engine power options (some can be powered by tractor pto), varying log capacity, outfeed conveyors and more. Some are available with a lift to pick up the block at ground level.
In the accompanying tables, we list information by participating suppliers about their companies, including contact information, and their products.
The firewood business in some states has been impacted by the spread of the emerald ash borer, an insect that kills ash trees. Quarantines have been imposed in some states, restricting the movement of ash trees, logs or hardwood firewood in order to contain infestations of this beetle.
In addition, hardwood firewood in quarantined areas is regulated. Generally, the risk associated with the beetle in these areas must be mitigated by heat-treating, kiln-drying, fumigation or debarking.
Quarantines are currently in effect in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
To find out if your region or state is impacted by quarantine or regulation because of the emerald ash borer and other information related to the insect, call (866) 322-4512 or visit www.emeraldashborer.info.
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