Posted on

UNUSUAL TIPS FOR STACKING FIREWOOD – Plus one awesome benefit!

firewood neatly stacked

If you burn wood for heat or food, you need to respect your wood supply.

Whether firewood is delivered to your homestead, or if you’ve taken on the task of cutting and splitting yourself, the wood needs to be stored properly for it to burn efficiently. It’s not just wood. It’s a fuel, an energy resource, a precious commodity.

I have 2 simple goals when stacking my firewood

First, the wood needs to dry as quick as possible

Second, the wood stack has to be sturdy and never fall apart

I also follow these simple rules

1. Provide adequate ventilation to the wood

2. Keep it free from moisture and off the ground.

3. Stack where it receives sunlight.

4. Allow for easy access to the pile.

But there’s much more to consider…Below are a few guidelines that will help you get the best from your supply. I’ve included a few unusual tips that I use consistently with excellent results.

1. Stack the wood in narrow rows, one stick wide. This allows more wood surface to be exposed.

               a. Have the row stacked east-west, so that one of the long sides is facing south. Sunlight greatly helps in the seasoning process.

               b. Wooden pallets are a good choice for holding your wood supply. I cut my pallets in half with a hand saw. This allows me to line them up end to end allowing for long, narrow firewood stacks.

long pile of stacked firewood on pallets along treeline
Single row of firewood stacked on wooden pallets

2. Make separate piles for lopsided, chunky odds and ends. Be selective when stacking the logs.

stored pile of odds and ends of split wood on wooden pallets
Stored pile of odds and ends of split wood

3. Know what wood species you are dealing with. Some hardwoods take much longer to season than others.

               a. Make notes of when the wood was cut, of what species and when it was stored.

               b. Don’t mix green wood with seasoned wood. Keep track.

4. Stack in a place where prevailing winds can pass through the widest part of the wood pile.

5. Be careful if stacking between trees. If you do, make sure to provide a good base for the firewood.           

a. Remember that trees move and that will definitely affect the stability of your pile.

Firewood stacked between two trees on a wooden pallet
Pallet providing a good base for storage between trees.

6. Protect the wood from the elements. Rain and snow will not only soak your supply, but wreak havoc on its stability too.

               a. At the least, always cover the top of the woodpile and keep the sides open for ventilation.        

               b. I cover my rows with a piece of plastic that folds down each side, covering one or two layers of wood. With this method, I’m always sure to have sticks that are completely dry and read to burn. Plus, with the plastic down over the sides, it’s easier to secure the plastic to the ends of the logs. I use small tacks.

               c. If you haven’t anything to cover the wood, at least make sure the top few layers of the stack have the firewood’s bark side facing up. The bark will help deflect rain and snow.

Plastic cover keeping top layers of wood dry.

7. Keep all firewood stored off the ground. Moisture and mildew are more likely to attack from the ground up.

8. Don’t stack it, build it! There’s nothing worse than having to re-stack a pile that toppled over! Try this: Get yourself a 2×4 and a 2’ level. After every few layers of wood, step back and give your pile a visual and use the 2×4 to knock in sticks that are way out of place. Then use the level, at various locations, to make sure the stack is straight and plumb.  Check your stacks often.

MORE TIPS BELOW…keep reading

9. Support both ends of each row of wood. Two vertical supports, spaced approximately 10” apart will stabilize the logs more effectively. I’ve used one support in the past and it just doesn’t cut it. One support allows the wood to move…because it will.

2 rows of firewood supported by 2x4's on the ends
Two supports for more stability

10. Use the ‘cribbing’ method for stacking. It may take longer to build, but the benefits are more than worth it. Here’s how: Lay the first row of sticks side by side to each other (I usually use 4 pcs.). Then add another layer of sticks but perpendicular to the first. Keep adding layers this way, while being selective as to keep each layer as flat and even as possible.

Stacking this way offers 2 benefits:

               a. The wood will season quicker, as there is more surface area exposed to ventilation.

               b. The columns, when built properly, become self-supporting. Even better, the columns can be used as ‘bookends’ for long rows of wood, eliminating the need for end supports.

Piles of  firewood stacked on wooden pallets using the cribbing method
A sturdy method for stacking

11. Woodsheds and open structures offer the best storage locations. This is my ultimate location for storing firewood. It meets all the criteria for seasoning wood effectively. It offers a reliable cover, open sides for ventilation and you have better options for re-stocking. Plus, the firewood is all in one location.

HERE’S THE AWESOME BENEFIT…

Fun and good times with family and friends!

That’s right. Use the stacking task as a means for bringing family and friends together. It’s possible an entire family can take part in storing the wood supply. After all, most of them will eventually enjoy the comforts of the wood heat or at least the inspiring flames from the fire!

Look at it this way, a large pile of wood sitting recklessly on the ground is an invitation for… fun. Plan a wood-stacking party and enjoy the camaraderie. When the party is over, the memories of good times will live on as you admire, with pride, each time you walk by your stacked work of art.

Each and every split log of firewood holds much more than energy for burning…it’s a library of enjoyable memories.

Happy stacking!

BZ

Stay in touch to receive exclusive updates and offers…

Get my FREE Newsletter HERE

Like us on FACEBOOK

Posted on

STILL CARRY FIREWOOD THIS WAY?

elderly man carrying firewood in his arms

It’s ok, but next time try this…

There’s got to be a hundred ways to move firewood from one location to another. I think I’ve tried them all at least once. But somehow, I always come back to the simple method of piling a few logs in my arms as pictured above. It’s simple, no tools needed, right? You walk to the woodpile, stack a few logs in your arms and off you go back to your fireplace or woodstove. And if you’re like me, you usually end up making multiple trips carrying wood this way. No problem, right?

Well, here’s one problem

While carrying those logs in your arms, you risk tearing clothing, getting wood splinters stuck in the material or worse, cutting your arm. There’s also dirt and bugs clinging to the wood, ready to be brushed off onto your sleeves. What if you’re wearing your favorite shirt or sweater? Are you changing your clothes every time you fetch a few logs of firewood?

Check this out.

It’s a pretty cool tip that can help keep your clothes clean and free of wood splinters – and the dirt and bugs. The next time you plan to carry firewood in your arms, slip these on first, they offer great protection!

Below is the first pair I bought. You can see the elastic bands on each end. They work well for me, especially when I’m wearing a coat or long sleeve shirt. And btw, I do wear gloves too. Need to protect those hands!

Wearing welding sleeves

My Discovery

As a retired machinist, I’ve experienced my fair share of welding over the years. Like many other mechanics, I do a lot of ‘garage’ welding at home, where I fix tools and such in my workshop. With welding, I’ve gone through many a long-sleeved Dickies work-shirt, only because the weld spatter burnt holes completely through my work clothes! I needed to make a change.

Enter – the welding sleeves. They were a godsend for protecting my clothing!

Welding sleeves

Here’s what happened:

Once at home in the midst of a welding project, I needed to add fuel to my woodstove, and voila’, my “discovery”. As I was gathering the firewood (with the welding sleeves on, of course), I realized it was not only more comfortable for my arms, but it protected my clothing from wood splinters too! The rest is history as they say. The ‘welding sleeves’ can also be used for other tasks too.

Here’s how I use them…and you can too!

GARDENING  

The sleeves are perfect for protecting your arms from stickers and thorn bushes. I slip on a pair when I’m trimming and clearing brush from my property. The sleeves keep your arms protected from bug bites and poisonous plants too!

BURNING TRASH

At my former property, I used a 55 gallon drum to burn items I didn’t want in a landfill. While feeding the burning barrel with trash, I wore the sleeves as protection from the extreme heat and flames as well as the hot ashes.

WELDING

Of course, exactly what they were designed for… The leather material blocks the heat and welding spatter from damaging your clothing and burning your arms. I also use the sleeves when I am working with a hand or bench grinder. It protects from the hot sparks that fly off the metal.

CARRYING FIREWOOD

I always keep a pair handy for fetching a few logs for the woodstove or fireplace. But I am sure to wear the sleeves when stacking firewood too, as I always have a few logs in my arms while securing my woodpile.

As you can see, the (welding) sleeves have many uses. How can you use them?

Every household should have at least one pair. I keep one in the garage for when I split or stack wood and another pair in the house when I need to bring logs in for burning.

Be smart, protect yourself.

BZ

More tips! – Get our Newsletter HERE

Like us on facebook!

Posted on

20 TIPS for CAMPING and HOME

milk crate and 5 gallon bucket

Two common everyday products that provide tons of benefits for indoor and outdoor activities…

(The Bonus Tip listed below is a must see)

You may already own these simple but innovative objects. They are probably sitting in your garage or basement, doing nothing but taking up space. They are capable of storing and transporting many house hold items and are indispensable for camping trips.

I believe every homeowner and camper should own at least one of these.

MILK CRATES and 5-GALLON BUCKETS!

Listed below are tips on “how” to use these products along with a few benefits they provide.

5-GALLON BUCKETS  

1.   TRANSPORT/STORE WOOD I use the buckets to round up kindling wood for my campfires and also to carry logs into the house for the wood stove. You will be surprised at how much 2 buckets can store. Also, using the 2 buckets at one time balances the weight for easier hauling and supports my back too!

2.   CARRY/STORE WATER Use for dousing your campfire after use. I’ve also kept a full bucket of water handy to cool off our hot forks after we’ve toasted marshmallows or hotdogs. It’s always a good idea to have extra water on hand.

3.   STORE FOOD/MISC. GOODS   Use to store your pet food (some buckets are available with a sealable lid).

4.   A TOILET   Line the bucket with a plastic bag filled kitty litter and you now have a portable, emergency toilet! Great for camping.

5.   A quick SEAT   Turn the bucket upside down and with a chair cushion on top you now have an instant seat, perfect for kids sitting around the campfire.

6.   WASH CLOTHES   With a little water and some laundry detergent, you can clean clothing in an emergency (or camping) situation. After washing, by filling the bucket with clean water, you can now rinse the clothes too.

7.   PLANT/GROW FOOD   A bucket is perfect for growing herbs, your favorite veggies or even flowers. Grow on your back porch, the deck or just about anywhere.

8.   HARVEST RAINWATER   Water, a necessity for life. Power outage preventing your ability to pump water? Does your garden need water because of a drought? Using a bucket, harvest water from your rainspouts or by simply leaving the bucket(s) outside to collect the falling rain.

9.   TOOL STORAGE/TRANSPORTING   I keep a bucket in my workroom specifically for garden tools that are too awkward for hanging. It fits perfectly in the corner of the room, holding my loppers, hand saws and clippers. I can then easily carry all those tools outside when doing yard work.

10. TRASH CAN   A “portable” trash can. I use while camping and at home. I have one in my basement that I can also very easily carry outside for other uses. With a plastic bag for a liner, it’s always easy cleanup.

BONUS TIP   Air conditioning outside? Check this out…

Two days before I posted this article, I attended a local food festival and one of the vendors was using this gadget (a fan/mister) to cool himself while under his hot tent. The circulating fan sits on top of the 5 gallon bucket and sprays a “mist” of water to help keep cool. He told me that when things really get hot and humid, he fills the bucket with ice and uses the fan for moving only the cold air…portable air conditioning!

Just one more use for a 5-gallon bucket!

MILK CRATES  

1.  BIKE BASKET   With a few bungee cords, secure a crate on the front or rear of a bike allowing storage for groceries, carrying tools or even an extra seat for your pet Rover. No shame here…my friends laughed at me when they saw the milk crate attached to my bike but their attitude changed when I returned with groceries and some adult beverages packed inside!

2.  SPARE SEAT Place a chair cushion on it and voila’, a comfy seat for kids…anywhere

3.  STORAGE at home, in the car, or outdoors at the campsite. They make great shelves as they stack well.

4.  A PRODUCE BIN Let your fruits and veggies “breathe” by storing them in the crate.

5.  CAR TRUNK ORGANIZER Keep flashlights, tools and rain gear organized. Store your dirty shoes and boots too.

6.  FILE ORGANIZER Most file folders fit perfectly onto the sides of the crate. Easy to store/stack in a closet or out of the way place.

7.   ALBUM STORAGE Protect your precious vinyl collection by keeping them safe in the hard crates.

8.   SHELVING   Perfect for storing anything like books, clothes, tools and more. Stack in a closet, your basement or workroom. Since the crates are “see thru”, you have a visual of all items stored, unlike cardboard boxes that need to be labeled and are not strong enough for stacking.

9.    STEPSTOOL   Need to reach for something in an out-of-the-way place?

10.  WATER STORAGE    The crates are perfect for transporting gallon water jugs for camping trips as well as storing water at home. The hard plastic of the crates protects the containers and makes it easy for carrying and stacking.

There you have it! Twenty ways to be of help around your house, or outdoors while camping. Be creative, and with an open mind you will discover even more ways these 2 simple products can make your everyday life easier. Have anything to share? I would love to hear from you. CONTACT ME HERE.

If you haven’t already, download my free book – “The Ultimate Outdoors and Camping Checklist”. It contains tons of tips and suggestions similar to the ones I’ve listed above. Get it HERE. It’s FREE.

Enjoy,

BZ

Join our newsletter and get exclusive information for our mailing list only. Sign up HERE.

Posted on

6 QUICK TIPS FOR WOOD BURNERS

Helpful tips scribed on chalkboard

Listed below are useful suggestions helpful for burning firewood for heat, food and fun:

 

1. COOK DINNER ON YOUR WOODSTOVE!

If your stove has a cooktop surface, with a few select pots and pans and a little creativity, just about any food can be prepared.

No need to turn on the electric stove, or microwave. Dinner can be kept warm or leftovers toasted up quickly using the top of your woodstove.

 

2. USE BUCKETS TO TRANSPORT YOUR WOOD SUPPLY

Save those 5-gallon buckets! They come in handy for transporting your split wood. You will be surprised how many pieces of wood can fit inside one bucket. The handles make it easy to carry too.


 

3. KNOW YOUR WOODS

Burning the right wood makes a big difference. It helps to know the species or type of wood you are burning. Soft woods are good for starting and kindling a fire. Hardwoods are best for maintaining a fire, as they provide more energy, burning hotter and longer. HERE’S ANOTHER TIP!  Download our FREE “Trees We Need” e-book. It contains tons of information on tree identification.

 

4. USE CEILING FANS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

Circulation is the key to distributing the air from your heat source. Keeping in mind that most ceiling fans are reversible, use the forward setting in rooms where heat needs to be pushed down. The reverse setting will draw the heat up, perfect for when the woodstove or fireplace is located in a lower room.


 

5. MOISTURE FROM YOUR WOODSTOVE

Whenever your woodstove is hot and heating your home, keep a large tea kettle or pot of water cooking on top of it. Yes, this really does help keep moisture in the air. But also, the hot water is convenient for providing a cup of tea or a hot chocolate any time of the day.

 

6. PURCHASE PROPER INSURANCE

Make sure your woodstove is properly inspected and insured. Contact your insurance company for info. My insurance company sent 2 of its reps to my home for inspection. FYI…they checked for “UL” (underwriters laboratories) approval and EPA certification. Restrictions and ordinances vary for every location.

 

STAY IN TOUCH WITH US FOR MORE TIPS AND INFORMATION.

Sign up for our newsletter. It will include special offers for our mailing list only.

Continue to read The BZ Blog. Our stories and informative articles will keep you updated with tools, tips, reviews and more.

 BZ