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Drying wood quickly? Anyone heard of a Holz Hausen?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Marcus, Mar 6, 2006.

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  1. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Todd,

    Studying your holz hausen, the one in the photo(s) I posted in the Perfect Picture area, the instructions on the chimney sweep site, and the one in the old Mother Earth news, there are some differences I'd like to resolve before I try to build mine.

    All but one seem to agree on the bottom perimeter being a circle of splits placed on the ground. One uses bricks to elevate the wood off the ground. Not a bad idea. I think I'll price some bricks at the evil big box store.

    The Mother Earth news people used what they called 'stringers'. Little pieces of kindling between each course (row) the same way the perimeter was created using splits. They say this is to keep the splits tilting downward at the center. This seems to really reduce the density of splits in the Mother Earth holz hausen. And seems like a lot of extra, and perhaps unnecessary, effort to create kindling pieces (in my case), and carefully include them with each course of splits, taking a lot more time and tedium.

    Did you employ stringers between courses in your holz hausen?

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  2. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I noticed the differences also. I wanted to get 3 cord into it so I went with my own modified approach. Was also worried about laying the first course on the ground, but I think it should stay dry at the bottom and I put all my first course splits bark down. Laying down the first outside ring of splits seemed like too much of an angle, so I used 2x3's for the outside ring. Maybe the next one I'll build some kind of spider web structure.

    It started out as tilting downward at the center, but seemed to even out as I went up. I put uneven splits with the fat side on the outside or used a stringer as needed, but not every course. You also need short pieces to fit in-between gaps due to the fact your going around in a circle. If your splits were all shaped like a pie slice you wouldn't have a problem. The last couple feet or so I started laying splits toward the center, bark up to get the rounded top look. I was throwing filler pieces in the middle every and any way they would fit. I don't think there is any perfect or standardized way of making one of these, it's kind of your own art form. Its kind of a pain in the butt at first, but you'll get the hang of it after a couple courses.
  3. adrpga498

    adrpga498 Minister of Fire

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    Todd,
    would you consider using pallets as a sub base, then creating the first layer (ring ) on top of the pallets.
  4. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I thought of that to. For a 8' HH, you could lay down 4 ea 4'x4' pallets. Just didn't have on hand.
  5. psychmike

    psychmike New Member

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    I speak some German and it occurs to me that "holz hausen" would be the plural ("wood houses"), while "holz haus" the singular ("wood house"). Of course, it might be the convention over there to use the plural even when referring to one of them...I'll have to ask me german mum.

    I want one!

    First I need a house and chimney...

    "No where is there
    A more 'appier crew
    Than them wot sings
    "Chim chim cher-ee
    Chim cher-oo!"
  6. psychmike

    psychmike New Member

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    According to me mum, the real name for this is a "holzhaufen", which means "wood heap". It makes sense, because hausen is a plural form, while haufen is the singular. And it looks more like a heap than a house, no?
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Makes sense to me. Thanks for the clarification. I'm working on my next one, about 1/3 complete.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Todd, it's great that you are pursuing this experiment. Very cool, thanks. Keep us posted with the drying progress. You do have a meteorological station set up on site, right? And of course you have a conventional stack as a control nearby? :)
  9. psychmike

    psychmike New Member

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  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, I've been cranky the past few days. I guess it's starting to show. We're planning a major remodel and I'm getting tired of quotes by contractors that want to cover their butts with 100% markups. Started getting non-local quotes that are bringing things back to sanity, but it's been a bit stressful.
  11. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I have a thermometer on a tree about 10' away. Does that count? If you want I could keep a daily log, and record the moisture content with a meter?

    In all seriousness, my first Holz Haufen was assembled with firewood that was split 6 months ago, so it should be fine to burn by next season. My next pile is freshly split and I won't need it til the following season of the first pile. That way I should be safe. Of course I will sample some of the second pile next year to see how it burns and let you all know how fast or slow it all drys.
  12. rjustice4

    rjustice4 New Member

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    ...just wondering if anyone tracked moisture content as a function of time for splits stacked in a Holz Hausen vs. wood stacked in straight rows.

    Going to be stacking a lot of wood this weekend, and am wondering if I should use the Holz Hausen approach.

    Thanks.

    Bob
  13. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I found no difference in moisture between the HH and regular rows. Either method still needs more than 3 months to dry properly unless your in a desert.
  14. rjustice4

    rjustice4 New Member

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    Thanks for the quick response, Todd.

    I'm getting a late start on my pile, but still have a couple months of warm, dry conditions outside.

    It's just occured to me as well that I should be able to continue drying indoors during the winter. My PE Spectrum Classic has just been installed in my studio which is a 20' x 30' garage, with concrete floor and a roll up door. I'm thinking about getting two 1/2 cord Woodhaven racks, and storing wood in the studio. As I'm using wood from one rack, I'll be drying the wood in the other rack. I have about 1/2 cord of dry wood to start out with. The studio should be nice and toasty (thanks to the stove), with a very low relative humidity in the winter (cool dry air coming in from outside). May need to keep a window or two open a bit....

    Bob
  15. Lignums

    Lignums New Member

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    I have been using the Holz Hausen for the past year and I can say it work extremely well. It seasoned out 2 cords of Siberian Elm in few months with no problem, after 6 months now, I can just about get it started with a match and a little newspaper. The only difference I make is that I make my stack rectangular shape. I place a few pallets down and make a regular stack perimeter and stack the interior vertical and then stager the top to for the roof. It's amazing fast at seasoning out the wettest wood and I can stack 3 cords of wood in the same footprint of one cord stacked in rows.
  16. got wood?

    got wood? New Member

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    I agree with LIgnums...it is a great space saver if that is an issue for storing/seasoning your wood. I'm still skeptical (as most seem to be on this board) about any time savings when it comes to seasoning. HH are fun to build...until one collapses...twice (my own dumb fault, live and learn about solid foundations - got a picture somewhere). They take a bit more time too. When the height of the HH makes it difficult to place the vertical splits in the center (usually shoulder height), progress slows to a crawl (need ladder or friend or both). I finished off two 8' diameter HH yesterday and while they look impressive and save a lot of space, they were a constant pain to finish off if you've got about 30 other things you need to be doing at any given time. The wife likes the look better than 8 16' racks...but didn't like how long it took to finish them off. The jury is still out if I will do it again next season...
  17. KeithO

    KeithO Minister of Fire

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    I'm personally liking the idea of the stacked welded wire mesh bins. No stacks to fall over, you only put the wood in once and take it out once and easier to cover against rain penetration in late fall. 3 bins / cord @ $120 each. When empty, they fold flat. It sure will be a major time saver. When I get into building the new garage next year, I am planning on a nice concrete landing on the south side for the bins "home". Should easily get 5 cord on it with that setup.
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