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Covering Wood

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by nate379, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Seriously starting to think I'm not going to bother covering the wood piles anymore.

    Last year I had them covered with tarps. Everytime it got a bit windy, tarps were all over the place. I had them nailed down, wood over the top along with tires, other lumber, pieces of metal, etc.

    This year I thought I got smart. I got a bunch of OSB and plywood and put that over the top. Screwed the pieces together and weighted it down with pieces of wood. Figured it would be plenty heavy.

    Yeah right. First small wind storm we got.. I'm talking only 35-40mph winds, they all flew off!

    I started fixing it yesterday. Got one stack back covered and used over 100ft of rope to tie it down. I didn't have time to finish the last ~10ft before leaving for work. Got out this morning to finish tieing it down and that part is ripped off and way out in the woods.

    I got all my stacks tied down today, took almost $40 of rope and eye bolts though... and I'm not sure that will be enough even when we get real wind storms. Happened every winter and not uncommon to have 70-80mph gusts.
    gyrfalcon likes this.

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  2. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    Alright! Another member for the club!

    I never cover my main woodpile no matter how much rain or snow we get. For me it's a combination of laziness and..... well I guess it's just laziness!

    I tried to cover with a tarp one year and I think they are about the worst thing you can use - only lasted a few weeks.

    I like to keep a few week's supply under my deck beside my basement door and a bit more in my basement. That way if we do get a lot of precip I have dry wood. But mostly I use uncovered wood all winter and for me it's never been a problem. I'm sure it's better to have the wood top-covered but for me it's not worth the effort.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  3. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    My stacks are out in my backyard and I have about 1/2 a cord on my front porch. I fill the wood box off that and once that stack is gone I haul some more up from the backyard.

    Would like to keep it covered just for the simple fact less moisture on the wood means it will last longer before it starts to rot. I have enough wood right now to last me until 2015 if I burn the same I did last year.

    I'd like to get setup with a wood shed, but I haven't figured out a good way to set it up without having to move wood all the time.

    I want to be 3-4 years ahead with my wood which means ~12 cords.

    The way I have it setup right now is I have 3 seperate stacks, more or less a stack for every year. The summer following I get more wood and fill that depleted stack. The next winter I pull from the next stack.
  4. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    Until 2015? In Alaska? That's awesome! I'm definitely jealous! Both of the wood supply and where you live!
  5. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Last year was the first year burning, but I heated the house from September to April on about 3 cords of wood. House is sealed up well and also well insulated. It doesn't take much to keep it at 70-75* even when it's -20* out.
  6. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I hear you about tarps. Not worth the problems with our winds. I spent way to many years chasing, tying, weighing down etc. tarps.
    I even worry my shed may want to go flying & I anchored it down pretty good. So far so good & better than tarps.
    At least we don't have to worry about "air circulation" thru the wood. LOL
    Good luck.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  7. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I've had good luck putting a tarp over the woodpile and running a cord through the grommets and hanging a brick w/ a hole in it off of that cord in a bunch of places around the pile.

    pen
  8. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Yeah, that is something I worry about if I built a woodshed as well. Wind catch under the roof and it's 1/2 way to Anchorage before I even notice.

    Couple years back we lost the WHOLE roof off a ~30x80ft vehicle barn that way.

  9. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    Thats less than 1/2 a cord a month burning 24/7.
    Sounds pretty good.
  10. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Scale that up a bit and that's exactly how we weighed down the giant tarps we covered round bale stacks with. The tarps were looped at the sides for 2" PVC pipe and then we chained cinder blocks along the edge, hanging one every 10 feet or so. Another way was to lay #9 galvanized fence wire under the pile before we set the bales in place and strap/tie the tarps down to that. Could work well if you stack on pallets.

    Spent much time in my teenage years untangling scraps of that wire from the mower. #$%!
  11. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I had a bunch of cabinets for my garage under a heavy duty canvas tarp with pallets over the top of it and on the sides. Everytime it got real windy it would pull the tarp up and throw the pallets off. It's hard to explain maybe but the wind is just brutal here. It blows hard enough that it even shakes the walls in the house and I would not be surprised if it moves around some.

    It's just in the winter that we get these winds. I'm not sure where it comes from, but it gets ugly. Have been told gusts over 100mph have been recorded before.

    When I built my shed in my backyard, a 16x20 building, I had the floor and 4 walls up. We had a good wind storm roll in and it moved the whole building over in the skids by a couple inches. 2x8 12OC floor with 3/4ply... all pressure treated and fully frames/sheathed 2x4 walls. Nothing very light.
  12. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    For some reason, I've never had my tarps blow away. I weigh them down with bricks, also rocks or ugly wood chunks. Also, I have rarely had any problem with ice gluing the tarps to the splits. I do live in a neighborhood with a lot of mature trees. I think they are creating a lot of turbulence and slowing the wind that does blow through. I think it tends to force a lot of it up and over the trees. Might be a whole different situation out in the open- or up on a ridge line. ;-)
  13. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    There are all sorts of tarps. Some (the blue ones) will start disintegrating in about a year. Others are much more durable and some of those (silver one side) stand up much better to direct summer sun.

    Having any part of a tarp able to catch the wind under it, or flap like a flag in the breeze will increase probabilities of either taking flight or tearing itself apart. So, you want to locate stack in such a place/way that influence of wind is reduced as possible. And you want to lash it down with small bungees as possible. (Think deck screws into end of splits a few rows down.)

    Then you want to cover it for the sake of keeping the wood dry, not just for the sake of tarping it. Stand the tarp off the top with scraps. Keep the tarp pitched down to the sides, ideally reaching out some distance from the stack. Actually, something like a roofed pergola with loosely closed E & N sides would seem to be optimum. Kinda like a shelter I built about 5 yrs back for grins.
  14. krex1010

    krex1010 Minister of Fire

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    I don't cover my stacks either, I tried it once and had tarps covering the top half of my stacks ( I stack in single rows) and used some cord to wrap around th stacks and hold the tarp down. Then along came a heavy wind storm and this tarps caught that wind and half of my stacks blew over. Haven't covered since and I don't think i will ever again.
  15. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I sure hope the wind doesn't blow them over.

    One of the stacks I have it's kind of caddy wompus. I think when I use up some wood I am going to re-think the way I have it stacked. Either put some some patio blocks under the pallets to level it out or maybe haul in some gravel to make small pads for the pallets to sit on.
  16. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    You folks up in AK could well use wind-turbines, if they're available to withstand your williwaws.
  17. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    The problem is that this wind is only something that happens in the winter.

    In the summer it's fairly calm. Maybe gentle breeze and once in a while a bit blustery but nothing like in the winter.

    I priced out a wind turbine a couple months ago and they wanted $34,000 for a turbine big enough to power my house installed. To compare that, I pay about $1000 a year for electricity. It would never pay itself off. (expected 20-25year life before replacement/major overhaul.)
    I decided to part ways with this company (Susitna Energy Systems) after I had to fight to get a quote (took them almost 2 months) and when I did get a quote they didn't want to go over the prices they listed... some of it was for uneeded items. Also the turbine lists online for ~$6000, they are charging $8500 for it!
  18. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    There are a few around.
    Not quit cheap enough & like Nate said, no dependable winds here. When the wind blows though, it gets with it.
    If you supplement with solar panels, our dark winters make that seasonal too.

    Several out in the bush "off the grid" folks. some have Solar & wind & diesel gens & big battery banks. Burn more diesel than anything but if you can afford it & get some Gov. money & tax breaks the pay off may be OK.
    Alaska has had several wind studies & several big wind systems are going up around the state. Villages on the W coast have some. Fire Island in Anchorage is one of the sites. State & fed money.
  19. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    I’ve listed my solution to tarps before in this forum, but it just seems to get ignored. However I’ll try one more time.
    First of all, as CTYanks mentioned, most of those cheap tarps out there are crap. Most will only last about one season if that. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on some expensive tarps, quite the opposite is true. All you have to do is locate a source of used lumber tarps. My best source is a place where they manufacture laminated beams. But most (all) lumber supply places will have used tarps. I find the tarps I get at the beam place to be in the best shape, and they always have plenty on hand.
    It has been my experience that the lumber tarps stand up to the weather and sun better then most of the cheap tarps out on the market (and often better then some expencive ones too). I have had some that lasted 5 years. Not bad considering they were free.
    Now for the fastening them down. Weighing them down on your stacks is not the way to go about it. First of all; it encourages water to accumulate in the weighted down areas, second; it does nothing to stop the edges from flapping in the wind (which will prematurely wear out the tarps), thirdly; you’ll have to move the weights every time you want to get at your wood under the tarps.
    Grommets and ropes don’t really work either. The grommets will out very quickly in the cheap tarps, and ropes are a hassle trying to figure out what to tie them to.

    So here is the solution: You’ll need an portable electric drill, screws and some small plywood (or OSB) cleats. Cover your stacks with your free lumber tarp, which you can cut to the exact size you need. it was free anyway right? so you don’t have to worry about cutting it. You’ll want just enough overlap to shed water off your wood stacks, while not covering the sides too much, so the wood can still breath. Now, along the sides off the stacks you take your little plywood cleats, that are around 4†square, and screw the edges of the tarps down on the sides of the stack. Any loose folds in the tarp you fold up tightly and put a cleat right over the fold to stop that area from flapping in the wind. After you get one side done you can pull the tarp easier and tighter while screwing it down.
    That’s it, the result is a nice tight cover that will not flap in the wind or come loose. Those cleats hold much better that weights on the top or ropes through grommets, and they won’t rip. I guarantee it. Best part is the free lumber tarps hold up extremely well and don’t cost you anything. Normally, from what I’ve seen, you have about 3 colors to choose from. White, black and a light brown color. Of course they usually have lettering on one side, but you just flip them over.
    If you are using the wood from the stacks under the tarps you can take a small bucket or box to put the cleats in, and your small hand drill and unscrew the first few cleats at one end of the stack. Grab what wood you need and either pull the tarp down tightly again or fold it back and re-screw the cleats in over the folded tarps.

    This works. It doesn’t mater how strong your wind is.
  20. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Rubber roofing, cut 24 inches wide, on top, works like a charm.

    I also put plywood/osb cutoffs on top the woodpile, just pieces spaced apart, and then put the rubber roofing on TOP of that....gives a nice flat surface for the cement block to sit on, guaranteed no blowing off unless hurricaine winds come along.
  21. sheepdog000

    sheepdog000 New Member

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    I too was wondering if I should cover my wood stacks. Mine are pallets on 3 sides. Will the wood rot? I am stacked two rows on each of my pallet setups, with about 4-6" in-between the ends of the two rows.

    As far as the Chinook Winds in Alaska or the Anchorage and Mat-Su Valley, their brutal. I can remember x'ing out our bay windows on base with 100mph tape several times.
  22. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I'm going to see how this works out with the OSB tied down. I don't think it will blow off... though I hope it doesn't catch the wind so much that it pulls the stacks down.

    I like to keep them covered... some summers we get so much rain it's hard to get a chance to cut the lawn even. I wouldn't worry about it so much for winter, but see I'm going to be out of country for about a year, leaving pretty soon, so I won't be around to mess with it.
  23. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Probably would but I'm not going to spendy several hundred $$s on roofing material to cover firewood!

  24. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    Keep an eye on Craigslist - took me a year searching about once per month to find a used rubber roofing deal near my home. Bought a 10'X50' roll for $100. Cut enough squares to cover 33 pallets (about 3 years of my supply). Need to get some more, but for now, most of the wood is covered - seems to be working great so far. Cheers!
  25. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Great idea.
    I'm gonna check next time I'm at the lumber yard.
    I have some stuff not in the shed, be a good test (max wind last year was 80 MPH, took a few of my shingles)

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