Breaking up Palettes for Kindling

One of the things I have is time on my hands. At the moment the diary is pretty empty, thankfully.

Our commercial firewood arrives on wooden palettes and is unloaded from the lorry by forklift. Previously they have taken the used empty palettes back. But last time the driver said no and suggested that we burn it.

If you break the palette up using a four and half pound axe as a hammer and then carefully extract all the nails, you get planks of wood that can be sized by chainsaw and made into kindling with a small hatchet. You must get all the nails out or you might get a nasty surprise with the chainsaw.  

It is fiddly and tiring to do.

Good dry kindling is expensive to buy yet easy to produce.

So, for about two hours work today two palettes are in planks and ready for sizing. It will take less than an hour to size and I can then chop on demand. This will give us about enough kindling for six weeks. Our 6-9 kW log burner takes a fair bit of starting. I’ll estimate that this will have saved us €60.

I will do this one more time leaving a saving of ~€180, which is ~half a big palette of dry commercial wood.

I learned to use the axe when I was 17 before going to study chemistry at UCL. My dad who was superintendent of the local secondary lead smelter got me a job with the local scrap dealer {gangster..He was later caught at the airport with £50k in cash. He made this by stealing silver from the plant after my dad left. My dad would not let them take lorries off site. Someone later did. Ron was a lot like Del-boy in terms of dress sense but much more dangerous.} The battery stack was populated by a lot of ex-cons some straight out of gaol. We, wearing fairly minimal protective gear, used to chop open lead acid car, lorry and milk float batteries. Motorcycle batteries were pants. A lot of work, not much lead. In one morning, we working as a pair, could fill two complete skips and generate 10-16 tonnes of lead for recycling. The actual mass depended on the type of battery and ease of chopping. We got paid per tonne in cash. In the summer of 1982, I could earn £200 per week working from 5am-11am in the morning. After 11am it was too hot. Your Wellington boots would fill with sweat!!

I still have a sulfuric acid burn on my left elbow.

I wonder how many erstwhile academics can swing a four and half pounder, like I can…

Time to light the log burner…

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