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Best way to store wood?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by CiscoKid, Nov 9, 2009.

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  1. CiscoKid

    CiscoKid New Member

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    Well, ok, maybe not what is the best way, but what is the best/most economical way? I’m a newbie, and I’m getting my wood insert installed this week (we went with a Lopi Declaration - looking forward to getting it!). I have about a cord of wood under the overhang of my house in a firewood rack which I plan on having as my “near” storage, but I know a cord isn’t a whole lot and I want to set up additional storage away from the house. Up until I “installed” my firewood rack today I thought I would just use a couple of them along the fence, but I now think I’d need too many and it’d be too expensive.

    What’s the best way to store it? It should be kept off the ground, right? (grrr – hate termites…). I saw something about maybe using plastic pallets – is that a good way to go? Do I need to put crushed stone down first or can I just drop them right on the ground and stack the wood on top of them? One more thing - does the wood need to be covered, or is it ok to “get wet” while seasoning over the course of a year because I’ll be moving it under the overhang a few weeks before I burn it? Any other tips are greatly appreciated...

    Sorry to be so clueless ;)

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  2. learnin to burn

    learnin to burn Feeling the Heat

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    Probably better to ask this in "The Wood Shed" but yes you need to stack it off the ground at least 6 inches, so pallets would be a good choice. It is up to you but you can lay them flat on the ground or raise them up or put stone down. You will get varying responses on covering it though. Some say leave it some say just cover the top. I think if you live in a wet climate you should cover the top, if dry you shouldn't have a problem leaving it uncovered
  3. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Don't drive yourself too crazy on this. Whatever you do, short of wrapping your stacks completely in a tarp, most of your wood will come through just fine. If you have termites in your area, they'll find the wood even if you do stack it off the ground 5 or 6 inches. Better to learn the signs of their presence and use precautions if you find them. The main problem with stacking it directly on the ground is that the bottom layer can get punky over time (ie, get waterlogged and start to rot). The easiest, least expensive way to keep your stacks off the ground enough to keep those bottom splits from getting too punky is to throw down some pressure-treated 2x4s or some old pallets and stack the wood on that. If that's a big hassle for some reason and you're not so short you need to count on every split, I'd say don't even bother (heresy!).

    I'm of the "do not cover" school, but as the poster above says, it depends on your climate and how out in the open your stacks are and therefore how much wind and sun they get. I'm in Vermont, and it's low humidity here year-round and bone dry in winter. I leave my stacks uncovered outdoors. Only the top row gets enough snow to be annoying, and it dries out in a day or two once I bring it indoors, or within a couple weeks in my enclosed attached woodshed., which should be pretty much equivalent to your overhang. I experimented with covering the top of a stack one year, and found the wood on top ended up wetter to a greater depth in the wood than the stuff that wasn't covered. Ideal would be an open shed with a roof, but lacking that, uncovered is better than covered, as far as my experience goes. You might want to experiment this year and see how it works where you are. Save yourself a lot of trouble if it turns out you don't need to cover.

    Unless your wood is sitting in a pool of water for weeks, it's only going to get "water wet" about a quarter inch into the wood, and that only on the ends except for the top row.

    You can knock yourself out to do this absolutely perfectly and preserve every BTU in every piece of wood, or you can relax and lose a tiny percentage.
  4. Stevebass4

    Stevebass4 Minister of Fire

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    best would be a wood shed

    second as mentioned off the ground - i do cover the top

    last year i had a cord i didn't cover and it's still "wet" and a bit of fungus it may be seasoned but the other two cords i had covered are much cleaner
  5. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Just curious because I find this whole perpetual argument perplexing... you're in SE Mass, yes? Fairly high humidity? Was the stack in question in shade and/or out of the wind? I ask because I've never, ever had anything approaching damp enough for fungus on a single piece of my uncovered stacks in the three years I've been burning. There has to be some reason why this has happened to you and not to me!
  6. Stevebass4

    Stevebass4 Minister of Fire

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    not too sure why i have fungus one one stack and not the other as both stacks on in the same area although as you know we had a very wet summer - i'll take some pics later today and post them up

    both burn good (no moisture meter) but again the uncovered stacks have fungus (small bumps and black stuff) but the bark will fall off whereas the covered wood very dry, clean no fungus bark still tight
  7. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

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    Stacking on pallets works fine and is the best way to start since you can get them for free most of the time . Cross stack the ends or install some supports and brace them with a angle from the top side of the brace to the pallet underneath . Alot of people use another pallet for the end brace. I like to cross stack it just looks a little cleaner and works just fine.
    After you see how this goes over than you can decide on a wood shed or even one of the fence line wood shed type unit depending on the space and appearance issues you have.
  8. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Oh, so this only happened this year? Then that makes sense. Our summer was pretty wet and cool, but you had it much worse where you are.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    You ask what is the best, most economical way. Here it is:
    [​IMG]

    Notice there are poles under the wood to keep it up off the ground. We just cut some saplings. You can use anything that would keep them up. 4 x 4's, landscape timbers, old pallets, etc. But the most economical is the saplings and the method of stacking that you see in the picture.

    That wood was cut last winter and split in April. We will be covering the top only in just a couple more weeks. We use old galvanized roofing to cover the top of the piles. Tarps can be used but it is best if you can keep the tarp above the wood rather than laying right on the wood. And do not cover the sides of the piles.
  10. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I would pick a convenient place with as much sun and especially wind as you can get, and stack the wood as soon as you can get it stacked. If you buy wood, it will probably require additional seasoning time before it is well seasoned. Buy or cut your wood now, split it small, and stack in the sun and wind. If you can't find pallets, poles, timbers gravel, bricks, etc., stack it right on the ground. Better to get most of it seasoning and a have a few pieces touching the ground than wait any longer. Covering the top is nice, but not necessary. Again, better to have it seasoning uncovered than wait until you can build a shed and then buy your wood. Lots of burners season wood uncovered and it works out fine. If you can stack a cord under the house eaves, that seems like plenty of covered wood to me - enough so that you can have snow-free wood to bring into the house.
  11. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    1) Split

    2) Stacked

    3) in a woodshed
  12. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Most economical? Well I've always favored wood pallets . . . many places are more than happy for you to take them off their hands, they give you a decent/stable base on which you can stack two piles side-by-side with some room in the middle for chunks, they give you some ventilation as they keep the wood off the ground and when you're done for the season you can either re-use them in another year, cut them up for kindling for the next year or have a big bonfire with them to celebrate your independence from oil/propane/natural gas. Just drop them right on to the ground . . . if you keep them there for a few years they may begin to get a bit punky, but hey, they're free, right?

    The great cover vs. uncovered debate . . . me, I leave my seasoning wood uncovered since I'm too lazy to cover them. However, the wood that is seasoned and going to be burned over the winter is top covered with a tarp (or at least I did this last year) . . . I just hate having to clean off a foot or more of snow after each snowfall.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    None of my wood ever got stolen but if I stacked like that, the frost would topple the piles. BWS obviously has well drained soil, not the heavy blue clay that I have. Looks like grass won't even grow there. I'd have 3 foot tall grass around my stacks if I didn't mow around them.

    I build my cribs 3x3, not 2x2. 3x3 puts more weight on them to resist movement. I've grown impatient with building perfect cribs and mostly will drive in T-bar posts to hold the ends up.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Dan, as long as they are stacked that way they will hold up as long as we want them to. Those rows in that picture were stacked last April and I just got most of them covered. The rows have shrunk a little over 6" in height so far but they are just as sturdy now as when they were stacked. I have no doubt they will be that sturdy when we fianlly start removing the wood in 4 or 5 years.

    The only time I've had one end fall over is when I got sloppy building them but in all my years of stacking I think I've had only 1 give out.

    You will notice that most of the end pieces are made with square or rectangle pieces which is what makes them solid. If you would like I could take a picture now to compare them but perhaps it would be better to wait until the ground is soft next spring and gone through the freezing/thawing period.

    Here is a picture of one of the older wood piles. If my memory is correct, that stack is about 5 years old. We won't get to that stack for probably a couple more years. Notice too that those end hold are excellent places to store kindling. I've just made more kindling because we were running low so I just stuff them into the end slots.

    [​IMG]
  15. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Most economical: I cut it, split it, stack it directly on the ground with no cover for at least 3 years. After 3+ years I stack one month's worth on the porch for easy access during heating season and refill as needed. As I move it from stack to porch, if the few splits in direct contact with the ground seem wet, I toss them over my shoulder onto next year's stack.

    Works for me, but if you want to stack it off the ground and cover it etc., you can do that too.
  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I find that I have many more straight half round pieces to choose from than rectangles. Many of my rectangles end up wobbling so they seldom get used for cribbing.

    http://lh5.ggpht.com/_nX0X4MOKcKI/Siw-qrzquFI/AAAAAAAAAX8/xG_ompVdWlM/s640/100_0350.JPG

    You will find a few rectangles though in this stack. I also place a few longer poles about mid height to tie in my crib.

    http://lh4.ggpht.com/_nX0X4MOKcKI/SbpOjAKd1ZI/AAAAAAAAAJ0/ne22OTnpXus/s640/100_0296.JPG
  17. jadm

    jadm New Member

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    My wood is on 4x4's.

    Uncovered in summer,spring and fall.

    Cover the top only when first 'real' snow is predicted.

    I use steel fence posts on the ends to stabilize them. Splits not consistent enough to do the criss/cross ends like Lligetfa has. ( I order split wood.)

    Stacks mostly is sunny spot that gets wind but a couple are in the shade part of the day so my 'older' wood gets rotated to that spot come end of winter.

    You will come up with a system that works best for you in time. ;-)

    One of my favorite lines is 'If you don't make mistakes, you don't make anything.' My kids hate hearing it. I love it and am still making lots of mistakes - luckily I do learn something every time a mistake is made. :coolsmile:
  18. jadm

    jadm New Member

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    Ok, so I have been here awhile and I know you have at least 6 years worth of wood sitting stacked on your property so you can well afford to put your 'minor' stacks so close together.

    But, for someone like me who doesn't have the space you have (And I regret every minute of it and am super jealous of your 'stash' :coolmad: ...), shouldn't our wood have more spacing between the stacks???

    Or can I stack that closely together too on wood that is delivered somewhat seasoned in March to be burned in Nov. of same year?

    I could store about a cord more wood if I could get away with stacking like that....

    Currently I have about a foot between each stack for air circulation.
  19. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I haven't heard that one but some of my fav's are:

    Say nothing, and you say nothing wrong.
    Do nothing, and you do nothing right.

    But ja, you learn from your mistakes...
    The school of hard knocks is a mean teacher. She gives the exam before the lesson.
    That which doesn't kill you can still hurt like hell.
  20. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    If you need to season the wood faster, then ja, put spaces between the rows. If you are years ahead, it matters not.

    In the past I was laying them up in rows of 3 like BWS. Now that I am using pallets, I do them in rows of 2 since my 20" length fits 2 rows on a 40: wide pallet. I was considering turning the pallets 90° and using the 48" width to have an 8" space in the middle but they are not that strong and I worried the slats might break.

    In the shed, there is no spaces between the rows.
  21. jadm

    jadm New Member

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    I like those. Now go try em out on the kids.... ;-)
  22. woodsprite

    woodsprite New Member

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    Okay, now I have a serious case of stack envy after seeing those pics!!!
  23. alupher

    alupher New Member

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    Is there any advantage to not putting a tarp on top of the pile all year? Most of the mice nests in my pile are at the top so it would be an advantage not to tarp them.. Do you have less beetles and such if the stacks are left open for 3 seasons?
  24. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    The woodstacks I have outside now for my 2010-2011 or 2011-2012 wood supply (depending on how much wood I go through) are not tarped. The wood I am using this year was not tarped last Fall/Winter and is fine (although of course I now have it under cover in my woodshed.) I'm mostly just lazy and didn't want an ugly tarp covering my woodpiles . . . they're much prettier with a thin layer of snow on them . . . and since I'm not burning this wood until next year or the year after that I don't have to worry about the snow, ice and rain coating the wood.

    As for an advantage to not tarping . . . I can't really think of any . . . I mean you could say sun hits the top pieces, but I suspect this isn't all that advantageous for most of the wood in the stack.
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