They say cutting your own fire wood heats the body twice, when cutting it, and burning it. This is true, cutting and splitting fire wood is labor intensive work even with the use of tractors, chainsaws and wood splitters. On the bright side, you will stay warm, build muscle, and get a good cardio work out while doing it. Not to mention, using a wood burning stove in the winter will definatly shrink your bills by alot compared to gas or propane furnaces.
Step 1: Cut Down Trees
Your fist project is to cut trees or find fallen trees to use. Some times, people will give you a tree if it has fallen on their property and they dont have any use for it. I have even had companys that cut down trees that obstuct power lines dump off pre-cut wood at my house for free! Be selective as to what kind of tree it comes from though. Hardwoods like oak, cherry, and walnut are great woods for the fire place because they burn for a long time compared to other woods and give off more heat. Stay away from woods like pine, fir, and box elder wood. Though because they burn quickly and don give off a whole lot of heat.
Step 2: Cut It to Size
Now cut the logs into approximatly 16" lengths. Make sure while doing this not to cut into the dirt with the saw because it will dull the blade very quickly.
Step 3: Split It
Next you need to split the wood unless it was already small enough. A good rule of thumb is you should be able to pick it up with one hand on the end. For this I use a mechanical wood splitter, but if youre stuck with out one, you will have to use a splitting mall.
Step 4: Stack It and Dry It
Stack your fire wood to store it. Stack it some where out of the way so that it can dry for a year. You will either need to have tarps over it or better yet, keep it in a lean to or some where out of the weather.
Step 5: Move It Some Where Accesable
After the wood is dry we move ours on to a rack in our garage so that when we need some inside, its not to far away. This also helps keep bugs out of the house that come in on wood by not bringing in alot at one time.
Step 6: Burn It
We split some wood into penil sized pieces to start the fire with. Then light those with a torch.
I often have to open doors in the middle of january in michigan to let heat out. Our fire place gets so warm! I dont think you should have any trouble staying warm in the winter.