1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Holz Hausen (Haufen?) Pics

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Mo Heat, Mar 18, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,653
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    definitely not a option. not when you can pick up a piece and feel that it weighs a ton and know that it is still wet. hitting two pieces together doesn't always tell the story either. i just got a green cord delivered and hit some of those pieces makes the bowling pin sound like it was dry wood.

    the holes you drilled might dry leaving them open maybe put something over the holes like tape or find a plug for the hole so that the surface of the holes doesn't dry again. just a thought.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    184
    Loc:
    North of Boston
    For those of you that have built one of these, or are planning too...

    Are you expecting to have to take it down and re-stack the wood for burning? Or do you just work from top down? You'll lose the shingle effect as you go, and I'd imagine it'd take several weeks of burning at least to get through even a small one?


    -Dan, and suddenly reconsidering my plan to stack this way
  3. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Restacking? No way!

    In St. Louis, we don't get a lot of snow (moisture), but even if we did (or you do), it is a simple enough thing to cover the pile with a tarp when expecting precip and while consuming the wood pile (HH) next winter. In fact, a std tarp (like the ones I use to carry leaves in the yard and buy at the evil big box stores) will cover a holz hausen more efficiently than they cover my wood in rows due to the more compact shape of the HH compared to long rows which I cover with 30 gallon black garbage bags cut up the sides and that always tear and leak and blow off and are hated by Mrs. Mo Heat, etc., etc.

    Be daring, be artistic, be different, be all that you can be, build a HH. ;-)
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    I think a scale would give you a more accurate mositure reading. As suggested in some of the above posts, a chunk of wood's water retention is best judged by weight. One spring I weighed a piece of green beech and wrote the weight on the end of the chunk with a sharpie. I always intended to re-weigh the chunk when it was dry, but somehow it got burned before I had the chance.

    But I'm sure some of you engineering types could figure out how much lighter (in percent) a chunk of green wood (your choice) would weigh compared to its dry weight.

    Also, it's cheating to draw any conclusions from the condition of a piece of wood on or near the outside of the Holz Hausen pile. Anybody can dry a piece of wood at the top or outside of any pile. If you want to know what's really up, you gotta dig one out from deep inside. As BrotherBart observes, the condition of the surface of the wood (or the pile, for that matter), doesn't tell you very much. Tells you whether it's rained recently is about all.

    Before Craig upgraded this site, somebody (Mo maybe?) posted an excellent description of the mechanics of wood drying. It has to do with "bound" water, which exists within the cell walls, compared to the moisture that's flowing around between the cells. The latter comes and goes easily, while the former takes its own sweet time leaving the wood. Short of a dry kiln, I don't think there are any shortcuts to getting rid of the bound moisture.

    The Holz Hausen may or may not work better than a conventional straight stack of wood, but nothing said so far proves the case one way or the other, IMO. This summer, let's all grab and weigh a piece of green wood, then re-weigh it this winter when it's nice and dry. And while we're at it, why not measure the lateral height of the piece? I've got some unfinished business with Dylan on that, and the bigger the sampling, the better.

    For the sake of full disclosure, I spent my Memorial Day weekend re-stacking 20 full cords of wood into more-or-less conventional rows, so I don't want to hear any more of this "Holz Hausen is superior" nonsense. Next you're gonna tell me that Mac is better than a PC. Anyway, I think I figured out a wood storage system that will avoid most of that re-stacking in the future.
  5. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    333
    Loc:
    Flint Hills of Kansas
    i wonder what the coriolis effect has on the holz hausen vs the standard type of wood stack?:)
  6. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    FYI: Here's my old post on the basic biology of wood drying:

    On Wed Oct 5, Snowfreak wrote
    -----------------------------
    > When will water boil out the ends of the pieces? 26 percent? 30 percent?

    When MC (moisture content) is greater than right around 28%.

    > The water boiled out of my test pieces fairly quickly would this indicate they are getting close to being seasoned?

    Not necessarily. I explain below.

    > Why does wood that has a moisture content between 20-25% not boil water out of the ends?

    Because there are two places water is stored in wood. 'Free moisture' is water within the wood 'cell cavities' (inside the wood cells). 'Bound moisture' is water bound up in the 'cell membrane' or the 'cell wall' itself. Removal of 'bound moisture' BTW is what causes wood to shrink.

    'Free moisture' exits a wood split's ends (during drying and burning) via normal phloem networks utilizing the perforated ends of the wood cells stacked end-to-end and forming something like straws, if you will. These are the same passages responsible for normal water movement from roots to leaves in a living tree. It's actually more complex than I describe, but hopefully that will suffice for the purposes of this discussion. :) Water exiting in this manner when a split is burning is seen 'boiling' out of the ends.

    Once wood dries below around 28% MC all the 'free moisture' is gone. At that point, only the 'cell walls' contain water and they don't release it through the phloem channels (at least not as readily) so it isn't seen boiling out the ends. There can still be quite of bit of moisture (as high as 25 - 30%) left in the wood though, and it still must be evaporated from each 'cell wall' before that cell can exceed 212*F and actually burn. The cells don't actually burn [until after the volitiles] gasify into various combustible chemical components when heated [leaving combustible carbon]. These components in turn undergo additional chemical reactions [during combustion,] into simpler components like C and CO utilizing the heat produced by previous reactions while producing heat themselves and so on until only CO2 and H2O remain if combustion is absolute IIRC.

    Hopefully that all sounds believable. :)

    Mo Heat
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Where is Dylan, anyway? On some kind of a summer sabbatical?

    I think his last post was the infamous "xxx" message. Maybe he's finally gone around the bend, so to speak.
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    27,162
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    I wondered if the XXX was him kissing hearth.com goodbye.
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    He's probably hanging & chillin' with Frank Ivy.

    I know Frank lurks around here because I said something a few months ago that elicited a response from him. But that was it.

    Maybe Dyl's spending the summer in charm school.
  10. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    184
    Loc:
    North of Boston
    "Anyway, I think I figured out a wood storage system that will avoid most of that re-stacking in the future.
    "

    You gonna share? ;) enquiring minds and all that...

    -Dan
  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Not much to tell, really. The problem is that I burn a lot of wood and I have at least a two-year supply heading into any given heating season. My old method of stacking wood over the course of the summer (I cut and haul about a cord a week) left the stacks with the oldest wood in the back. So, I would take wood from the back to heat for the winter, leaving the stuff in the front hanging out there all by itself in the spring. You can see what I'm talking about here:

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/43/

    Now, instead of a back-to-front arrangement, I go with a left-to-right strategy.

    That's one of those obvious, slap yourself on the middle of your forehead, things that takes a couple of production cycles to figure out. This is the first year I actually had to restack all the leftover wood (20 cords in this case), which forced me to come up with a better plan.
  12. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    184
    Loc:
    North of Boston
    20 cords... Wow! I see what you mean. It looks like you're able to burn a lot of rounds though, so a bit less splitting, but still - Wow!

    I think I saw you mention needing a better tarp strategy on another thread... I saw a picture once where another large volume burner found a simple solution. He stacked his wood row upon row like you did, but instead of keeping the height level, he tapered in down away from the middle. Then he just dragged a tarp over it. No pooling... That might complicate your first-in - first out needs though.

    -Dan
  13. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Warren (I think) suggested laying semi-rigid plastic fencing with a chicken wire pattern across the tops of the piles before laying the tarp on. That way, with just a slight pitch the pile should drain off. I'm building it so that it crowns in the middle. Should work pretty well, I think. I'm optimistic about the left-to-right strategy.
  14. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,248
    Loc:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Yup, I use the green painted roll fencing. so far it works really well keeping stuff dry and puddles off the top of the stack. I stack on pallets, so stacks that sit side by side with a foot or two in between always ended up with a big puddle in the middle of the row. Using the wire also keeps the stacks looking nice and square on top. I'm only about a year into this drill, so I haven't figured out a good stack rotation strategy. I can see problems coming with the current stacks though.

    Hey Eric, What do you stack those long rows on top of to keep the wood off the ground?
  15. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    I stack the wood right on the ground, Warren. The pieces in direct contact with the ground stay wet, but everything on top of them dries out just fine. When it's time to pull the wood into the barn, I just set the bottom course pieces aside and rotate them higher up in next year's pile. I've started using small branchwood for the bottom course. If the pieces touching the ground are going to remain wet, might as well make them as small as possible.
  16. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,403
    Loc:
    Virginia
    How is this holz? I think some monks did it.

    Attached Files:

    • holz.jpg
      holz.jpg
      File size:
      73.8 KB
      Views:
      1,705
  17. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    9,226
    Loc:
    Lake Wissota
    Wow! Wonder how many cords are in that thing? Still looks like they have a way to go?
  18. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,653
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    looks a little to tight for air circulation
  19. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    27,162
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    I just came across this comment from the guy that runs tonysimon.org. Seems he posts the month's top search strings from his log files. hearth.com rang in high when Mo posted this link.

    "This was a pretty good month for search strings. The leader in overall quantity was one that has been knocking on the top spot for several months now. Without further ado, I present you how to make nunchucks. The next six in order of frequency:


    holz hausen
    gay shorties
    truth drums
    tony looks like
    tony simon
    how to make roofies

    The appearance of my own name in that list is interesting. I won’t deny the fact that I google myself periodically, but I’m fairly certain I was not responsible for 15 hits in March alone. The increased pings from holz hausen are probably a result of this forum posting http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/1726/ which resulted in 100 or so visits. Welcome, firewood dorks! "
  20. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    A visit from a couple hearthnet lumber jacks with a splitting wedge and sledge (can you say super wedgie?) might improve Tony's attitude. ;)
  21. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    27,162
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    I was kinda thinking of using him for the wedge.
  22. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,528
    Loc:
    USA
    Thought I'd bring this back from the grave and see if there was any feedback regarding using the HH method...

    Did using this design significantly speed seasoning times at all? Other than taking up less real estate and looking cute, were there any real merits to using this design? If so, was it worth the increase in stacking time? Lastly, what keeps the vertical splits off the ground (are you guys laying rounds or blocks down first)?
  23. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,378
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    I put down pallets. People that claim to have done a side-by-side comparison (don't know if you'd call it a controled study) claim that it dries about like a single stack. Looks better in the yard and takes up less space seem to be the benefits.
  24. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    I agree with Adios, and I'd add these two benefits:

    - a square tarp covers it nicely (couldn't find a round tarp) ;)

    - it holds a lot of odd size wood pieces I generate that are otherwise really tough to stack

    I'm no expert. I've built two of them. It's a labor of love and takes a bit more time, care and skill than a row. The chipmunks seem to love them and I've seen at least one raccoon and an opossum crawling in and out from beneath the tarp, although they seemed to just be exploring.

    On my first holz I used junk branches in the middle to keep the wood off the ground with some splits as the perimeter foundation, using an old RR tie and some stakes on the downhill side. On my sloping hillside (probably 3 or 4% grade) this thing moved (above the base) a bit and I had to re-stack after a part of it collapsed after about 5 months. It was surprisingly quick to repair, though. The foundation is important. Level ground is best.

    On my second holz

    http://picasaweb.google.com/moheatmail/MoPhotos/photo#5141018242337323218
    (see also: "My Wood" link in my sig)

    I used some landscape blocks for half the perimeter (lowest side of hill) with spits for the rest to try and get a level foundation. It was more level than the first holz, but not perfect. I put branches inside again to keep the wood off the ground. This one moved less. It did bulge though, after about 5 months, so I unstacked the bulge and redid it before it probably would have "blown out". Didn't take very long to fix.

    The next one I build will probably have the landscape blocks as about half the perimeter (lower half) with some gravel to eliminate the need for branches to keep the wood off the ground. That's my plan, anyway.

    I love these things, but my neighbors are the kind that have threatened to call the police on me (and did once) just for making a little noise during tribal gatherings, so I figure they are less likely to complain if they think I commissioned some esoteric "wood art" than if I am simply a "termite magnet".

    It's not your father's wood pile. ;)
  25. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page