How to Stack Firewood – Useful Tips

11 Tips How to Stack Firewood - Best Detailed Manual

Not all cottages and country houses are heated by centralized gas heating. Some owners deliberately refuse this method of maintaining a comfortable temperature in the rooms in winter. Using fireplaces and stoves with wood helps to save money, creating a special atmosphere of comfort in the house. In this case, absolutely not afraid of emergency cuts of gas, hot water. How to stack firewood in a pile?

There are a number of ways that allow you to organize a good, reliable pile.

The Benefits of Creating a Log Pile

By spending a little time and effort to form a pile, you can get the following benefits:

  • Constant access to an abundance of dry firewood. In a properly organized wood-burning stove, a few damp logs are sure to come to maturity. Quality dried billets have a noticeably higher combustion efficiency. There will be much less hassle when kindling a stove or fireplace.
  • Saves space. Compact stacking of billets makes it possible to concentrate a substantial supply in a limited area. On the contrary, chaotically scattered firewood will create visually huge pile of material in which in fact there will be not so many logs.
  • Aesthetic component. Competently stacked logs serve as a decoration of the homestead plot. Creatively organized firewood barns become a part of landscape design.
11 Tips How to Stack Firewood - Best Detailed Manual
How to Stack Firewood - Useful Tips

Optimal Conditions for Storing Firewood

The determining factors when storing firewood are quality ventilation and dryness. Therefore, it is important to determine in advance a site where there is good drainage of atmospheric precipitation. The place should not be prone to the formation of puddles and stagnant water in the surface layers of the soil.

With this in mind, you should not place logs directly on the bare ground.

How to stack firewood correctly? Under the bottom layer, there should be a free space for quality ventilation of the material. It is desirable to organize a special podium, using boards, large poles, laid with gaps concrete posts, pipes, bars, etc.

Forming a fireplace with their own hands, take care to create a top layer that can withstand rainfall. Assemble a small canopy of improvised materials or cover the logs with a material with waterproofing properties. Alternatively, cover the firebox with large pieces of thick tree bark.

Allow the logs to dry well apart from each other before you create the log pile. This is true if the material is freshly cut. It is not at all sensible to stack damp logs. The logs are bound to begin to rot.

During the heating of the stove or fireplace, there will be a poor heat output and heavy smoke in the surrounding area. To assess how well-dried wood, knock logs between each other. Dry logs emit a distinctive clang.

What to Consider to Keep the Firewood Safe

Firewood must be dry, which means that the stack must necessarily be protected from the rain from above and from collecting moisture from below.

Therefore, the base for stacking firewood should be located in an elevated position to prevent storm or flood water from running under it, which would cause the lower layers of the firewood stack to get wet and rot. And of course, if you will use the best trees for firewood it’s will be easier to keep it safe.

11 Tips How to Stack Firewood - Best Detailed Manual
How to Stack Firewood - Useful Tips

The top of the stack should be under the roof, or the firewood should be stacked in such a way that water will flow over its top layer, which is folded according to the scale principle, and will not get inside the main mass of the wood.

The whole structure of the pile must be well ventilated, so the wood is stacked in such a way that gaps are created between the logs, which will allow air to penetrate to dry the chopped wood.

It is important to know how long it takes for the wood to dry properly. Wood harvested in the winter dries much faster, about five to six months. It is not recommended to make firewood in the spring and summer, as the wood will be of low quality and it will take a long time to dry – the time to complete drying can be from ten months to a year.

The length of this period will depend on the humidity of the air, the weather, the number of sunny days, the place where the pile is installed and the prevailing temperature outside.

Rules for Storing Firewood

The rules for storing and storing firewood will depend on the location chosen for the pile.

  • The best option would be to arrange the storage of firewood under the roof in a firewood shed – there they will be sheltered and protected from all external negative influences – the sun and precipitation.
  • Whatever species of wood were not stored, the brought logs should be sawn and split, but it is better to put them in a pile not in a hurry, if they will lie a little bit in the sun and dry up.
  • Since it is better to harvest timber in the wintertime, it is better to saw logs for firewood in the spring. During the summer they will dry out well, and by the fall they can be put in a pile.
  • You should know that if you put the wet firewood in rows, when it dries the pile will shrink and just fall apart. Do not stack firewood on the ground, as it will absorb moisture from it. Therefore, on the soil first, trellises of long and flat, small in diameter trunks or metal pipes are laid. The first row of chopped firewood is laid so that its ends lie on two trellises, not on the ground, and are raised above it by a few centimeters. If the firewood pile is arranged in a woodhouse with a floor, there is no need to put anything under it.
  • When planning to stack several rows of billets, it is necessary to provide a small distance between them for air circulation. Each one should be placed with a slight slope to the side of the previous one.
11 Tips How to Stack Firewood - Best Detailed Manual

When placing billets in an open space, it will be necessary to reinforce each of them with pipes or thick rebar installed vertically. For the base, trunks, pipes or bricks are laid on the ground under the firewood, as mentioned above.

Types

There are several varieties of stumps.

  • Wall stack – a stack erected near the wall of a structure. One side of it rests against the wall. On the sides there are additional supports – poles or the adjacent wall, not allowing the wood to fall apart. This kind of a firewood stack assumes at least three open sides. This is necessary to ventilate the firewood.
  • “Column” – a firewood pile that is a round column or truncated cone standing with a wide base on the ground. It is laid in an open, well-ventilated place.
  • “House” – split logs stacked in the form of a cylinder with a cone at the top – the “roof” of the log house. In some cases, such stacking is made in the form of a truncated cone standing on the ground with its narrow base.
11 Tips How to Stack Firewood - Best Detailed Manual

Walled

A wall-mounted fireplace is the easiest to put together. It is located in the yard, in the house, another utility room. The presence of a supporting wall eliminates the use of additional dressings in the process of stacking. You should start with the bottom row, lifting the edges first. The logs are placed on the ground/floor perpendicular to the wall.

In the first row, the distance between them should be increased, about 15-20 cm. This is necessary to ventilate the bottom row, which is closer to the ground and may be susceptible to moisture.

The second row consists of billets laid in two lines, perpendicular to the direction of the first row. The first line consists of thinner billets and is as close to the wall as possible. The second line consists of thicker and as far away from it as possible. The outermost logs of these lines should protrude from the sides of the pile by at least 10 cm.

It is important to start stacking the firewood correctly from the beginning. The initial manipulation is designed to create a solid base for the stack and maintain its integrity throughout the season.

In the process of stacking a wall-mounted log stack, you must make sure that the angle of the logs in relation to the wall does not change – the wood should not gradually “fall” away from the wall, but rather “fall” onto it.

At the same time, their angle of inclination towards the wall should not be excessive – this will cause the middle part of the stack to be squeezed out by the pressure of the upper rows. Every 3-4 rows along the edges, cage binding is done – stacking the billets parallel to the wall and perpendicular to the previous row.

Side supports can be installed when the height of the wood reaches at least half a meter. To do this, you must use sturdy poles that are installed at the edges of the bunk. Their length should be equal to the expected height of the future pile.

On each edge, the location of the poles is as follows: one closer to the wall and one closer to the face of the firewood pile. The support poles should be connected to each other with sturdy wire. The best way to do this is crosswise.

As a result, the wire will run along the top row of logs and subsequently remain inside the firewood wall. It is worth repeating the wire, cage or well binding throughout the entire stacking every 2-3 rows.

The top of the finished stack should be covered. You can use short pieces of slate, profiled sheeting, film or other covering materials. The runoff of such a “roof” should be directed away from the supporting wall.

11 Tips How to Stack Firewood - Best Detailed Manual
How to Stack Firewood - Useful Tips

“Column”

The laying of this type of stack begins with the bottom row, laid out in a circle. To mark an even circle of the base of the future “column” a peg hammered into the center of the circle, a cord tied to it and a drawing stick is used. Thus, an even circle is outlined, which is laid with logs. Their arrangement should resemble rays coming from the center of the circle.

The stacking is done in a spiral pattern, with the transition to a new row after passing the circle. It is important to make sure that the billets are tilted into the center of the circle. This will keep the stack from collapsing. If the wood begins to acquire the opposite angle of inclination, it is worth using a tie in the form of crossbars.

At the top of the “column”, the wood is brought together in a stack or in a flat area. This configuration of the stack requires sheltering from the rain. A sturdy film will do. It should cover the woodpile up to half, and not reach the ground – this will worsen the ventilation of firewood.

“House”

The laying of this stack is similar to the laying of the “column”. The only difference is that in the upper part of the “house” of the logs themselves, a “roof” is formed.

To achieve this effect, it is necessary, as you approach the end of the stacking, to begin to bring up the logs located in the center of the circle. In this case, the improvised “roof” will turn out by itself. The final rows of firewood should be stacked tightly against each other. Moisture will run down them from the pile, and the wood will stay dry.

This type of woodstove is not only a good way to store firewood, but also a detail of the design of the allocated plot of land. Especially beautiful look birch firewood stacked with decorative variations.

A common method of reinforcing birch logs is the use of mesh or wire. They are stretched along the perimeter of the bunker, which is designed to prevent crumbling, tilting, and falling.

In some cases, the use of mesh is appropriate to protect firewood from theft.

11 Tips How to Stack Firewood - Best Detailed Manual
How to Stack Firewood - Useful Tips

Parallel Formation

How to stack firewood? The simplest option is to stack the logs in stacks. Stack the logs against each other, forming a layer-by-layer formation. Separate walls of firewood should touch the ends.

It is important that the adjacent structures have some slope towards the inside. Do not allow the walls to sloping outward. In the course of increasing the height of the logs during stacking, there will be a noticeable increase in the skew. The walls will certainly begin to crumble to the sides, where there is no support.

Wanting to achieve increased stability, lay several parallel structures simultaneously. This results in an economical formation, which makes it possible to fit a considerable mass of stock on a limited piece of the garden plot.

Cage Laying

“Cage” is a common way of stacking firewood in a pile. The principle is as follows. The basis is formed from logs, stacked in parallel, close to each other. The second row is made perpendicularly. If everything is done correctly, an extremely stable construction comes out, which does not need additional support from the side of the buildings.

Please note: the stack of stacked firewood should be more than one and a half meters high, and it is advisable to make the construction even slightly lower. Only in this case, there will be no chance of the firewood stack collapsing. Place the smoothest and most massive logs at the base of the formation. Place firewood against each other, without any extra gaps. Over time the wood will definitely give some shrinkage, the degree of which depends on the type of material and moisture content. Chubs that are not tightly joined can destroy the structure.

Dome Option

How do you stack firewood in a dome-shaped barn? To make the pile take on the peculiar outline of a haystack, stack the logs in a hemisphere. The formation will come out really compact and stable.

Clear the ground to bare earth and make a correct circle several meters in diameter. Lay the space of the shape with logs end to end, leaving small gaps. In the center place a stable pole. Around such a pole leave a little space to achieve good ventilation inside the structure.

Continue laying the wood in a circle with the ends toward the center of the ring. Form several layers. Leave the inside near the pole empty. Alternatively, loosely scatter small chips in the space formed.

Closer to the top, slide the chub ring inward. To bend the logs in the right direction, periodically put thin planks between the layers. Gradually a dome will form, which will close the necessary formation. After figuring out how to stack the firewood, cover the pile with a section of waterproof material.

Stacking the Firewood in the Frame

Take a wooden pallet. Nail or screw down the vertical posts in the corners. Join the lintels together with cross bracing made of wooden laths. The result will be a box that stretches upwards.

How to stack firewood in the resulting frame? First, install the structure in a well-winded place protected from precipitation, for example, under the roof of an outdoor shelter. Inside in parallel rows, place the logs. Fill the frame from top to bottom.

11 Tips How to Stack Firewood - Best Detailed Manual
How to Stack Firewood - Useful Tips

Pile by the Wall

How do you stack firewood against the wall of a permanent structure? Drive four stakes into the ground in pairs a few meters away from each other. The latter will be responsible for maintaining the woodpile in a stable position. To ensure that the lower chubs are not affected by moisture, lay a base of bricks or flat stones on the ground.

Place the logs parallel with the ends against the wall to create good support. Every few rows, reposition the logs with thin cross laths to make the structure more stable. Increase the height of the formation until the topmost logs rest on the building’s boom.

A Log Pile from an Old Closet

It’s not a bad idea to install an unwanted wooden closet in your yard. The body of the old furniture will serve as a sturdy structure to hold the logs. Inside, organize a series of horizontal shelving units. Partially remove the back and sides of the cabinet, which will allow the wood to ventilate properly and dry faster.

You can decorate the doors with carved platbands and other decorative elements, making the woodshop more attractive to others.

Stacking Firewood in Rings

The woodstove will get an unusual, interesting look if you use old wooden barrels, all sorts of tubs as a holding form for the logs. As an option, flip construction concrete rings on their side. Stuff the interior space tightly with parallel docked logs. The firebox will turn out well ventilated.

The construction will reliably protect the logs from moisture. The only comparative disadvantage of this solution seems to be the frankly low capacity of such frameworks.

Stacking Firewood in the Street without a Canopy

The most common option for how to stack firewood outside without a shelter is to place the stack between trees. The main thing is to keep them side by side, otherwise, the whole structure can fall apart. This option is not suitable for stacking in a circular pile.

You can also arrange to stack firewood in a pile right under the windows of the house or by the bathhouse. In addition, in the warm season, it can serve as a stand for boxes with flowers. In this case, the wood dries perfectly.

Sometimes you can put chopped firewood outside without a shelter. Of course, this is undesirable, but acceptable in cases where there is too much fuel and no suitable storage space.

Creative private homeowners turn logs into works of art. They stack them in different shapes, sometimes adding additional decorative elements. But in this case, it is worth remembering that before you start stacking firewood nicely, you should also take care of the safety of the fuel.

A simpler option is a stack secured with rebar, wire or stakes. A through frame is ideal so that the wood does not fall down. Thanks to it, air flows well from all sides and dries the logs quickly. In addition, with the help of such billets, you can easily divide the site into several parts or stack the firewood. In bad weather, the construction is covered by a film or tarpaulin.

Useful Video: How To Stack Firwood

In this video, you can see the best way to split and stack firewood. Many helpful tips for beginners.

Safety Precautions

It is important to choose the right place for the firewood stack. It is better not to place a wall-mounted one near the walls of wooden structures or living quarters. Firewood is solid fuel and is considered a fire hazardous material. It is worth considering the factor of fire and its consequences.

“Pillar” and “lodge” should be placed on a level piece of land far enough away from sources of fire and passageways. Avoid creating very high piles. During the seasonal removal of firewood, a collapse may occur, injuring a person.

Even a single log fallen from the top row can cause irreparable damage. It is especially worth watching out for children near the firewood pile.

Always tie up the firewood so that it does not fall off when in use.

It is important to keep a container with enough water near the firebox to put it out quickly if a fire breaks out.

FAQ

11 Tips How to Stack Firewood - Best Detailed Manual

What is the best way to stack firewood?

One effective way to stack firewood is this arrangement: you need to stack firewood in stacks and place a shelf in the middle, which will be used as a niche. Small pots or boxes with plants are placed in it. Different figures made of wood or clay will look good, but they should not be too heavy, so as not to upset the balance of the construction.

Should firewood be stacked bark up or down?

The question of whether firewood should be stacked bark up or bark down has always been a hotly debated topic. But most agree on one thing: the bark should always face down in the lower layers of the stack to protect against moisture from the ground, and always up in the upper layers if the stack is not adequately sheltered from above.

How do you stack a cord of wood?

How do you stack chopped wood in a small hut-shaped pile? They are placed in special triangles. The logs are stacked in parallel, alternating large and thin stubs. As a result, the construction looks very beautiful, and a kind of canopy protects the wood from excess moisture.

Place such fireplaces along the fence, and between them fill up the lattice for climbing plants or put pots with flowers or herbs. Such huts will be a great decoration for the barbecue area, lined with decorative tiles.

Can you stack firewood without a rack?

Stack the bottom row of firewood directly on the ground: they will get damp and begin to rot. Nor should it be put on the floor of the barn. Usually under the pile laid a kind of “foundation”: thick boards, or timber, or logs, or bricks – whatever you can find. In addition to protecting against dampness, this improves ventilation.

Firewood dries better, is better stored, does not suffer from mold, mildew and other troubles arising from moisture and stagnant air.

Conclusion

As stated earlier, the main factors to be observed when storing firewood are lack of moisture and good ventilation. Therefore, a firewood storage box should be installed on a level, dry site with drainage.

It is correct to stack firewood in the firebox on the same principle as outdoors. Under it, pallets should be placed beforehand, and only then can you start stacking firewood. Thus, the lower row will be ventilated. Instead of pallets, sturdy boards, bricks, logs or other suitable improvised means are often used.

It is also important to take care of the integrity of the roof in the barn. If it leaks, all the work will be in vain. The wood will still dry out at the first rains and it will take a long time to dry out. Wet wood is obviously not good for heating.

It is best to place the fireplace close to the house, bathhouse or other outbuildings. This will reduce the time to erect the room and labor costs. If possible, make the woodstove open on one side. In a completely closed space, firewood will not dry out well, rotting may begin, and mold may appear. This is due to the same reason of humidity.

The simplest option for a wood stove is to extend a part of the roof from the house or bathhouse. In this case, a through frame is used to secure the woodstove. The structure is completely open, so it is necessary that the firewood does not scatter. If the overhang from the roof of the house turned out to be small, it is enough to stack the firewood in the firebox and fix the pile with supports on the sides.

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Serge Labz/ author of the article

My work for a long time was associated with the technical adjustment of equipment, repair of premises, with small locksmithing work. I worked in a chain of cafes.

Almost every day, the staff of the cafe needed my help, and I in return, having done their work, received a lot of smiles and thanks.

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