Using a Cast Iron Wood Stove to Heat With Wood
Heating with wood, whether using a cast iron wood stove or not, can provide almost endless educational experiences for the entire family. Any way you approach it, wood heat means work. Probably the least effort required if from a wood pellet stove or insert, but even this can provide many educational opportunities. Supposing you decide to buy a gas chain saw and want to include your teenage son in the process, you have many ways to teach responsibility. First, there is the shopping process; which chain saw is the best for your needs? You may learn that lumberjacks prefer Jonserds, and that an electric chain saw is not powerful enough for cutting big trees. Or that Stihl chain saws are very popular and Husqvarna is one of the best around. You also will need chain saw chains, sharpening tools, hearing protection, a splitting maul and other accessories. The process of mixing gas and oil is another lesson about 2 cycle engines. The safe use and care of a gas chain saw is paramount. Few tool are as effective and dangerous as a chain saw, and the respect due this machine cannot be overstated. With some gradual experience, most people can learn to safely and efficiently use a saw. Sharpening is another opportunity to teach about maintaining equipment. It takes a bit of practice and care to properly use a file. It is a simple tool, yet most people have no idea about cutting angles, relief, and the geometry of a cutting surface. Learning about the various trees and their particular characteristics is a great teaching opportunity. By practical experience, you come to identify various hardwoods and softwoods. The bark and leaves of each one is unique and gives telltale clues as to the identity. The saw will also reveal different types of wood. Ash, maple, oak and beech all cut differently and give off their own odors and color of wood chips. There is simply no substitute for this type of learning, and it is retained for a lifetime. Learning about which type of firewood is best is also very interesting. Why is oak better than maple, is birch a good firewood, why not use pine? These are all opening questions that can lead to many other topics, such as BTU's, creosote, chimney fires, greenhouse gases, carbon footprints, nuclear power and fossil fuels. Building a firewood shed can be a great way to teach about construction, weather patterns, and landscape design. A shed need not be complicated, but it needs to function well, and this could involve the entire family.