Northern Michigan in Focus: Ryan’s Firewood Processing

Sometimes in life you’ll meet someone with so much drive they’ll inspire you to try to be better.

For this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus, Corey Adkins introduces us to a man who’s just trying to keep Northern Michigan warm with his hobby.

“Absolutely not, I had nothing to do with firewood except for I have an outdoor wood boiler,” Ryan Halstead, Ryan’s Firewood Processing LLC said.

First let’s introduce you to Ryan Halstead of Ryan’s firewood and processing in Grayling. Not only does he have a full time job working at DTE, he’s also a past champion of the Ausable River Canoe Marathon.

“It started out as a hobby and now it’s grown a bit in the last year,” Halstead said.

Hobby may be the understatement of the year, this hobby of his has united him with this!

“The machine is made in Perth, Ontario it’s a Bell’s 6000. It’s a very well built machine. It can produce up to six chord an hour of cotton split firewood,” Halstead said.

Like a drumline, each piece of wood can cycle in about four seconds.

“The blade is a 54 inch simond blade made right here in Michigan down in Big Rapids. It’s one of the better blades that’s out there,” Halstead said.

And on top of that, it’s got a 16 way wedge in there with a 42 ton hydraulic ram.

Which is almost hypnotic to watch.

And with this process we put a tumbler on the backside.

The tumbler is to clean all the junk off the wood.

So the customers or clients only receive the highest quality firewood available and we take great pride in the product we produce.

To produce all this firewood, his helper Chris Krey feeds the beast with mainly oak.

“And we resource that all around here locally, from local loggers and stuff, and it’s been a really awesome process to learn and know your people that you’re buying it from,” Halstead said.

So if you need some good clean firewood, check out Ryan’s Firewood Processing in Grayling.

And by the way, that wedge we liked watching…

“That wedge alone by itself weighs 350 pounds. It’s made out of a R-400 steel so it’s armor per piercing steel heat treated welded and it’s a pretty neat process when they make it,” Halstead said.

It’s a pretty neat process from the full time DTE worker, Ausable River canoe marathon champ who has one heck of a hobby.

“Hard work and determination. This was our vision when we started it and finally we’re getting where we wanted to be. It’s just a lot of hard work and it’s finally got there. Oh yeah and it’s not much sleep,”Halstead said.

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