The great curupay cleanup

Over three years ago, I scored the better part of a deck’s worth of dense curupay boards. I did only one small project, then a picnic table which, despite complete sanding and refinishing with marine varnish after a couple years, quickly weathered again into a mottled mess. I lost interest in working with this curupay again, and have from time to time cut up some of the smaller lengths for firewood.

Today I got a load of “real” firewood delivered, which prompted me to clean up the garage where we store it, where also lived an unused bicycle,* seen below restored to its previous parking spot outside the casita.


Before today — and for three years — the space from its rear tire to the far wall has been a pile of curupay deck boards of various lengths, collecting dirt and spiders and generally being ugly.

Remembering that I have had no further woodworking interest in those boards in three years, I made an executive decision, cranked up the table saw, and rendered them.

I saved a few of the longer and nicer boards por las dudas (who knows what sudden woodworking inspiration might arise?).

curupay firewood

I put some pieces inside by the stove, and stacked the rest in the workshop. I was quite surprised how small the pile turned out. But in heat value, it’s probably the equivalent of pile four times as big of red eucalyptus (not cut into flat boards, of course).

Last winter was delightfully mild, which probably accounts for our bumper crop of avocados now, and I hope for the same this winter — so far very pleasant — but if it gets cold, we’re at least a little prepared!

*  a quality German women’s bike purchased from Syd and Gundy’s *interesting* tenant Herbert for a whopping USD 40 years ago. Interestingly, another purchase from Herbert, a hand-held circular saw, I mentioned on another post about curupay.


High on my priorities today: order firewood. We‘ve been burning leftovers, curupay scraps, and some of this load from a house I‘m looking after. Most of it is green, but there was some very dry pine as well.

Checy Meriva laden with firewood

The going price for red eucalyptus (considerably denser than white eucalyptus) appears to be 5,000 pesos per kilo.  That’s up just a bit from 3,000 pesos three years ago!

First place I went, I could feel the humidity with my hand (I hadn’t brought the meter). They told me it was six months old — which of course means pretty useless right now. The second place said theirs was seven months old, no better.  I took my meter to the third place, and immediately ordered. The weather has been dry for a while, probably won’t be after a few more days, so perfect time to order. I told them to deliver after 4:00, and returned at 3:58 to find the truck already there, the message obviously not having been forwarded. No biggie; grabbed my gloves and helped the two muchachos stack it.

Eucalyptus colorado, Uruguay

The round stuff on the right was already there, but wow! Compare this to the “ton” delivered in July 2013: look at the height above the little stool in the center.

Scanty "ton" of firewood, Atántida, Uruguay

Moisture content of firewood, Uruguay

I’ll be buying from the Esso station in Las Toscas in the future!






More curupay and the “pobre Meriva”

Curupay decking in car
One of many loads in the “pobre Meriva,” the poor Chevy Meriva, which functions as the pickup truck I don’t have.

I’ve mentioned curupay wood before, so when friends said they were replacing their deck and I could have some, I immediately made plans to  build a table (better than this one). I didn’t want to be greedy, because what remained they’d use as firewood.

Dinger joint curupay strips
Finger joints: in the north, the strongest point in the board. Here, the weakest, since they didn’t use waterproof glue!

Then they announced plans to leave Uruguay, so I thought “why not?” They’d consider it a favor if I cleared it all out, cleaned up, and re-stacked their firewood to make the place look neater.

Back home, many hours of removing screws, stacking lumber. Many possibilities for projects. And some incredible firewood too.





What do you get when you tell the leñero …

Q: What do you get when you tell the leñero (firewood seller) that you don’t want pieces longer than 40 cm?

leña / firewood in Uruguay, sold by weight

A: An excuse to buy a chain saw.

To be fair, he doesn’t cut it himself (that’s not him in the link above; last time I saw Dardo he was driving a taxi). And he charges me 20-25% less than the going rate: UYP 3,000 (USD 130+) per metric ton. Yes, per ton — I’ve discussed this before.

I just took readings of the stuff I got today: of maybe fifteen samples, most in the high teens-20%, one at 30%, and two at 11-12%.

Alas, there is no more curupay.