Dino’s Daily Dose – Day 11 – How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?

This question comes from my cousin Patrick who is freezing his butt of somewhere on an island off the east coast while I am enjoying a 70 degree day here in California.

Here is the question:

Question; Heres one for you, been around for quite a while but could never seem to find the answer.
Now, Assuming a woodchuck could in fact , chuck wood, how much wood would he chuck in say,,,,,,, 15 minutes? Thats a number easily devisable into 60 making for an easy chuck- per- hour rate and a short enough time to observe the woodchuck at full chucking capacity without reaching its anaerobic threshold which would inevitably lead to it bonking resulting in a drastic decrease in chuckability . Might throw our numbers off. Im looking for MAX CHUCKABILITY PER HOUR here.
Answer should be in Board Feet as this is the standard unit of measure in the lumber industry. Mahalo, and thank you wise sir.

This question is a simple matter of math and figuring out a few conversions. Should be easy.

A Woodchuck, also known as a land beaver, weighs 4-9 lbs.

We can use the average weight of 7 lbs for the woodchuck.

According to http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc a 7 lb woodchuck would burn 4.8 calories in 15 minutes if it were engaged in chopping wood. Since healthstatus.com does not provide an option for chucking wood we can make an assumption that chopping and chucking wood would burn a similar amount of calories. Feel free to substitue any of the activities on the site and insert that caloric factor into the equation to fine tune the results to your liking.

4.8 calories is the same as .0191 BTU in 15 minutes or .075 BTU per hour. (British Thermal Units)

Now the other variable is the type of wood you are talking about. Different types of wood and different treatments have different mass. For example, properly seasoned oak firewood should have a moisture content below 20%. Freshly cut oak wood could be as high as 90%. So obviously the moisture content will play a large role in the amount of wood chuckable by the woodchuck. For this example we will use 20% moisture seasoned oak fire wood. Since woodchucks are native to the eastern part of north america we will use White Oak

A chord (128 cubic feet) of seasoned White Oak weights between 2880 – 3710 lbs We can take the average weight and use 3295 lbs per chord or 3295 lbs/128 cubic feet.

One board foot = a board that is 12 in × 12 in × 1 in

One chord = 1536 board feet according to Unit Converter Pro

So now we can divide 1536 board feet into 3295 lbs and know that one board foot of Seasoned White Oak is 2.14 lbs/board foot. 3295/1536=2.14.

Now here is where the math gets fun.

We know a 7 lb woodchuck will burn .075 BTU’s chucking wood for an hour. We also know the wood he is chucking weighs 2.14 lbs per board foot. Now the question is how many BTU’s does it take to chuck 2.14 lbs, let’s say 1 foot?

According to Newton’s Second Law of Motion, the net force on an object is dependent on the mass of the object, and its acceleration during the movement.

Force = Mass x Acceleration

The common unit of force is the Newton (N). One Newton is the force required to accelerate one kilogram of mass at 1 meter per second per second.

1 N = 1kg m/s2, lets convert our wood chucking to metric for a bit to figure out this conversion.

.97 kg = 2.14 lbs.

So the woodchuck would have to exert .97 Newtons in order to move the wood one meter.

If we divide this by the number of feet in a meter 3.28 we get .29 Newtons.

Now we know it takes .29 newtons to move 2.14 lbs of seasond white oak 1 foot.

All we have to do now is figure out the number of BTU’s in .29 newton and a quick look at Unit Converter Pro tells us that .29 newton = .00027486696489 BTU.

Now we know that it takes .00027 BTU to move 2.14 lbs or one board foot of Seasoned White Oak 1 foot.

We also know that a 7 lb woodchuck burns .075 BTU per hour chucking wood. Finally we simply have to divide these two figures .00027486696489 BTU to move one board foot one foot/.075 BTU per hour and we get:

.0036 board feet per hour

So there is your answer Mr. Broemmel.

Answer: A woodchuck would chuck .0036 board feet per hour of wood if a woodchuck could chuck wood! Or not!

UPDATE: Patrick. Your math would be correct if you were to apply “regular” math. I used “dairy” math for the final calculation. Diary math is a system that allows dairy farmer to continue operation for two or more years even though they are losing money every day.

I will go ahead and recalculate our final figure using regular math and provide that answer.

.075 / .00027486696489 = 272.859272

New Answer: A woodchuck would chuck 272.85 board feet per hour of wood if a woodchuck could chuck wood!

However, once you add the OSHA required safety equipment, the 2 – 15 minute breaks per hour and a 30 minute lunch outlined in the Woodchuck Local 269 Union contract, it seems the actual number would be much less. Ill let you do the math on that one.

Also Deene Souza correctly pointed out the environmental restrictions plus the potential for animal rights activists protesting your operation make it highly unlikely any wood would get chucked at all. This is all, of course, theoretical!

8 thoughts on “Dino’s Daily Dose – Day 11 – How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?

  1. Excellent work! I dont think your giving the little guy his proper due though.
    Look here, assuming your math is correct, the BTU output required to move 1 bf ,one foot is in the ten thousandths of a BTU. .00027 or 27 ten thousandths by your math,which is good. Mr chuck is capable of a BTU output in the HUNDREDTHS of a BTU .075 or 75 hundredths. So looking at the math again, dividing mr Chucks possible output by the value required to move 1 bf one foot , .075 / .00027 = 277.77 bf. or holy shit!,i need to find some woodchucks to hire to stack my wood next season! I burn approximately 3 chords or 4608bf so if i got the wood guy to drop the wood 2 feet from my shed it would take one woodchuck 33.17 hours to stack my wood for the year! 4608 /277.77 =16.58 x 2 =33.17 I wonder if minimum wage applies to woodchucks? Nice work!

  2. Thats right, you guys cant even have wood on the property in california anymore so there wouldnt even be wood for chuckin’. Add in the smoke breaks , labor laws, etc. and you got squat.
    Out here in fantasy land though, the great northern polar chuck is migrating south to the new magnetic artic circle, which just so happens to be centered over my house at the moment, and if we were to put one of them to work we could ,
    A: Get 272 bf of wood chucked 1 foot or,
    B; Get 1 bf of wood chucked 272 feet.
    Really, the possibilities are limitless within the confines of these numbers.
    Truly amazing!!!

  3. From what I can see…… though Dino and Patrick are very busy people, they can both spend a lot of their “valuable” time figuring out a silly little topic!! Which poses a new questions…. how much time do americans waste (oops I mean spend) on Facebook and/or blogging daily. (hee hee) I don’t really need the answer to that one. 😉 Patrick let me know if you ever get that woodchuck union together. 😉

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