Fuel, Yukon style

Lessen your dependence on fossil fuels, avoid the drudgery of chopping firewood and spend more time with your family.

Lessen your dependence on fossil fuels, avoid the drudgery of chopping firewood and spend more time with your family.

Such are the tantalizing promises of the Cord King firewood processor, Whitehorse resident Scott Lindsay’s new firewood-spewing business venture.

Hauling the nine-metre long behemoth all the way from Perth, Ontario, Lindsay’s machine is the vanguard of a revolution in Yukon home heating.

With oil prices skyrocketing, many Yukoners are considering adopting a wood furnace as their primary heat source, and relegating their gas or electric furnace to a backup role, said Lindsay.

The only thing standing in their way is lack of product.

“There’s limited wood cutters here in the Yukon. The ones that are here are proficient, they do a good job, but they just can’t keep up,” he said.

A glistening menagerie of steel, whirling blades and hydraulics, the Cord King is miles away from the humble axe and saw.

Screaming over the deep-throated roar of the 115-horsepower diesel engine, and the whining of the 1.5-metre diameter blade, Lindsay said that his behemoth can spit out from five to seven cords an hour.

More if you have some video gaming experience.

A healthy dose of Nintendo experience has given Lindsay’s 20-year-old son a knack for the levers and switches of the Cord King, he said.

“Within five minutes (of his getting in the machine), the wood was coming out of here faster than I had been able to do all day,” said Lindsay.

“This thing is perfect for someone who enjoys Gameboy,” he said.

For Lindsay, it all comes down to finally eliminating the age-old drudgery of chopping firewood.

“Nobody wants to cut wood in the summer, they’re all out fishing or doing important things. Come fall time, everybody’s a month behind,” he said.

“So unless you’ve got your wood all ready, you’re usually chilly for a while until you get caught up.”

Lindsay aims to beat these winter blues with a year-round wood stockpile.

Running the machine full bore for three months, Lindsay said that he could easily amass a three-year supply.

With a wide sweep of his arm, he foretold of his an enormous 2,000 cubic-meter year-round woodpile.

For around $70-$80, Yukon residents will soon be able to pull up, fill up and drive away.

“That frees you up for the weekend. You can go fishing now … You can go grab the kids and play baseball. You don’t have to say, ‘Hey Myrtle, we’ve got to go get wood.’

“I’ve been thinking about this for 20 years … on the one hand trying to get rid of the drudgery of cutting firewood, and trying to make a living at it all the same,” he said.

Deforestation is not an issue.

All of the wood for Lindsay’s operations will come from Haines Junction trees killed by the spruce beetle infestation.

With Yukon lumber unable to compete with much cheaper wood from down south, firewood is the most profitable option left, said Lindsay.

And with the Yukon’s booming economy, people just don’t have the time to gather wood, he said.

“If people are too busy to get firewood, that’s good for the economy.”