First he buys logs and has them at his place. He doesn't cut them. Tom is in the firewood business and he has a great system in which he transfers the logs into burnable pieces.
So the whole operation is powered by an old 4 cylinder engine out of a '74 Toyota. He has numerous belts, hydraulic presses, a hay elevator, axes, tools, automatic saws, lubricants, and splitters to take care of the process. It is sort of a one man show. The logs are piled up outside of the mill, and then he drops them onto a steel conveyor belt that runs into the mill. This is hydraulic of course. There is also a hydraulic, 18inch chainsaw set up to cut the wood into 1 foot pieces. After the log is cut, it is automatically dumped into the spliter area.
A press pushes the log towards a V-shaped wedge which splits the wood. There is an old hay elevator for the split wood to go onto. The elevator takes the split wood back outside of his mill, and drops it into the back of a 2 tonne pickup truck. But since we are there with our own truck, I just take the wood and pass it to Joel to pile in the back of the truck.
Maybe my write up didn't really capture it..... I get it. But this operation is totally unreal and amazing. He said it has cut tens of thousands of cords of wood, which I don't doubt. There are moving belts everywhere, sawdust flying, various tools, tanks to hold all of the fluids; it basically looks like an accident just waiting to happen. Tom only has 3 fingers on this right hand! Like I said, an accident waiting to happen. Thankfully we've made it out of there relatively unscathed twice now. But the first time we were there, his helper, a 30s something lady who looks like a cross between a truck driver and an ultimate fighter, threw a piece of wood at me and nailed my shin. I still have a mark!
Joel and Cohen loading up the truck.