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Firewood preparation and woodshed design

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by TarmSolo30+Storage, Feb 16, 2008.

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  1. TarmSolo30+Storage

    TarmSolo30+Storage New Member

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    150km N. of Toronto
    My Tarm is still not ready to heat the house, but the old stove soldiers along. I get the idea that Tarm and other gasifiers only work right with dry wood. As usual I'm not prepared for next winter with wood already stacked and drying, so therefore this spring I need to get wood ready and need to know how to accelerate the drying process. I'm planning to order some "winter cut" logs next week, I understand the wood is drier than logs cut in spring or summer. I split wood so the largest cross section is about 4-5". Up 'til now I've been stacking and throwing a poly tarp over the top- not the best wood shed, I know. Should a wood shed have completely open sides or would loose tarps hanging from the eaves be better to prevent wind driven rain and snow? Would a attic fan or similar (gable end or roof mounted) speed up the drying process maybe controlled by a humidistat? Is a well drained gravel floor OK or should I construct an elevated wooden platform? Anyone have any thoughts on how to get "caught up" for next winter? Anyone have woodshed plans they care to share?

    Thanks, Mal (140km N. of Toronto)

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  2. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    If you cut and split up the wood now you should stack it as soon as posible. You want it to air dry as much as posible. I think the ideal shed would have a good roof to keep the rain off but open so the wind, and sun could dry things. Roll up curtains could be used to keep rain and snow off in bad weather.. I use wooden pallets for the floor as they are cheap and let air flow to the bottem. When they get bad I burn them and use more.
    leaddog
  3. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

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  4. sled_mack

    sled_mack New Member

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    My woodshed is a basic pole type building with a single slant roof. The roof overhangs by about 3 ft on all sides. The walls are chain link fence. That's about as much air flow as you are going to get naturally.

    I laid some railroad ties on the ground between the support poles, then filled in with gravel for the floor. On one half, I put the remnants of a wood deck I removed as a floor. Sturdier than pallets, but still keeps the wood off the ground and gets some air flow under the wood. The other half is just pallets.

    The shed is split front to back with more chain link fence. The idea is that each half holds 1 year worth of wood. Works like a champ - if I do my part and keep next year's side full.
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Try to split the wood as much as possible without making it all small. The more surface area exposed to the air, the faster it will dry. I would second the solar kiln idea. You can do an amazing amount of work with the sun, and if you have some dry wood, you can use that to get the boiler going, and then when you put less dry wood in, it will still burn well. So even if you can only get a small percentage of your wood very dry (say, around 20%), it's worth doing. Airflow and exposure to heat and direct sunlight should be maximized.
  6. wdc1160

    wdc1160 New Member

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    And, just incase you need scientific proof read how much moisture they are able to extract in a single week. I actually think it works a little too well. It seems that i could be a fire hazzard if your not paying attention to it in the summer.

    Their disclaimer is the following... If you turn off your fans internal temperaturs @ or above 200F are not atypical. They said they melted the plastic fans they had used.

    Get out the fire extinguisher if you leave that baby empty with no fans.

    PS. I did a price check on the parts and you can put a 1/2 kiln together for very cheap. I am still mulling the old solar kild idea over. i believe it could work very well in the winter as well.

    you can't leave your wood in there too long though.
  7. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    There have been a number of studies done. The simplest solution that doesn't cost a tone is this: Stack in East-West single rows with a simple shed roof that overhangs a few inches front and back - corrugated steel roofing nailed to stringers and laid on top of the pile works fine. Strap it down so the wind doesn't take it.

    If you have multiple rows, space them by 8' or more to allow the sun and wind to get at all rows.

    With that orientation, the sun will heat your wood most of the day, and there will be plenty of air circulation. A little train splashed on the end won't hurt anything.
  8. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I built my woodshed for about $500 in mostly all new material, ended up with a 16 x 8' structure that holds an estimated 6 cords. It seems to work quite well and does a bit of solar drying. I've described it elsewhere, but in short I built a floor of PT 16' 2x4's spaced with my split sizes in mind - when I built the shed, I was burning a nominal 24" split, so I designed for 4 rows, and spaced my 4 floor pairs 18" apart, with 6" between pairs - I'm now using an 18" nominal length, so I would have used 5 pairs, spaced 12" apart, with 6" between pairs... (I converted by cutting up pallets to make a crude floor) I hold the spacing with a 2x4 on each end to make a frame. I put an upright in each corner, and tied them together with more 2x4's. I made the roof pitch by cutting the uprights on one side to 6' and the other side to 7' - if I was doing it today, I would probably have made it a bit taller and increased the pitch slightly, probably on the order of 6.5' and 8'. I found the unsupported 16' cross spans were a bit to "springy" so I added a 3rd center span, and 3 uprights at the 8' point. I cut the uprights a couple inches over-length so that the center of the roof is bowed up a little. I walled each end with a 6'x8' section of stockade fence (pre-fab from Home Depot, cheaper than same size in plywood) set up so the cross beams were to the outside. I had a bunch of very abused PT decking that I had dumpster dived, I ran that on a diagonal across the roof, spaced about 1 board apart (called how to maximise the material use :) ) and then covered that with the clear plastic "PAL-RUF" corrugated roofing material. I nailed a bunch of the SILVER poly tarps from Harbor Freight (these are their best grade, and are MUCH better than those cheap blue tarps, well worth the extra cost) to the side roof supports so they can be either rolled up or allowed to hang down.

    In the spring-fall seasons I leave the sides open, in the winter I let the tarps down to keep snow from drifting into the shed. I don't know just how much solar gain I get, but I've noticed that when putting wood into the shed I feel a 5-10* temp difference between being under the plastic and not...

    Gooserider
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