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