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Started my first wood pile

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Crash11, Apr 13, 2009.

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  1. Crash11

    Crash11 Member

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    I just installed my wood stove this past winter, and I had to buy wood to burn (which annoyed me because I have 5 acres of woods). So now I've started my own pile. Any criticisms? This is where I'm at with 2 days of work. 1 day by myself and 1 day with a little help from my fiance. I'm hoping I can get some family out this coming weekend to help me fill these pallets up. At the most I would only burn 1 full cord through a winter, so by my estimates I have room for 3 full cords on the pallets.

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  2. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    So far so good! Only thing I notice is that it will probably get more shade than is usually desirable.

    Usually you want your stacks to be out where they can be in the wind/sun throughout the summer to season, and then cover it in the late fall.

    -SF
  3. Crash11

    Crash11 Member

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    Yeah I would've liked to put the pile out in the open more, but it just would've been too impractical for gathering wood this winter. From what I've read though, wind is more important than sunlight, and I get plenty of swirling wind gusts down there off my walkout wall.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Well done! I was also wondering about the wind but if it swirls down there you might get enough. It definitely would still be best if it were in a more open area so wind would go through the stack.

    You have done well though in your stack. The only thing I'd suggest is to pile most of the wood with the bark up (some disagree with this) so that any moisture goes on the bark rather than exposed wood. But either way works.
  5. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    You may want to add some sort of side support - the right side of the first picture appears to be leaning out. I have found when the wood drys out it shrinks and the stack shifts a little. with the lean already there you may have a falling pile. A creative idea I read (but have not tried yet) is to add a post on both sides of the stack and loosely tie a rope about 3/4 the way up the stack. When wood gets added it tightens the rope. Or simple 2x4 nailed in as braces works well to.
    Nice start!
  6. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Good start so far Crash, many times wood will season well in the shade if there's adequate ventilation. Keep doing what you're doing and if you notice any moss growing on the wood that'll clue you that you have to move it.

    Got to say ...it does look like a good out of the way niche' to stack wood.
  7. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    I prefer to add a pallet on the end and tie it into the base with a 2x4 and some screws so the end of the pile is solid. Regardless of how you do the ends, I don't usually stack or lean a pile to an end and do more of a weave the stack together. I have never had a pile fall over on me so I am not sure exactly where you go wrong to get there but plenty of folks post about a stack falling over.
  8. Crash11

    Crash11 Member

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    Great advice from everyone. Thanks a lot. Some of it I will do, some I won't just because this is a temporary location. In the next couple years I hope to build a deck off this wall and pour a patio underneath. When that happens I'll move the pile to the back of the house where I will get more sunlight and more ventilation. I may even build a wood shed. For now though.... I have no easy way to get from the 1st floor to the back of the house. If you look closely at the top of the 2nd photo you can see one of the sliding doors to my first floor with a cheapo guard-rail nailed in front of it. My wood stove is just to the right of that door. So when I have a deck to walk out on, going to the back of the house (the high ground to the left in the second photo) will be a cinch.
  9. stockdoct

    stockdoct New Member

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    I'm just a rookie, so take any advise with a grain of salt, but .....

    It seems like you're cutting your splits pretty darn big. I wonder if by this fall they'll be dry enough to light up and develop a strong fire. And if you're only burning 1 cord per winter, I'll bet you have rare fires (rather than 24/7 burning) and will have to start the fire up in a cold stove often.

    You might want to split your rounds into smaller, (quicker-to-dry and easier-to-light pieces), especially for the wood you'll be using for this coming winter.
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Mike, we have a lot of those size splits and have never had a problem with seasoning.
  11. wldm09

    wldm09 New Member

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    Do you have any pictures of the "weave" you are mentioning? I use pallets as well and want to figure out a way to keep mine from falling. I have been successful so far.
  12. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    By weave, I mean more of the way you would do a stone wall where you try and overlap the pieces you put on the wall/stack and build it higher over a larger area rather than just making the pile 4' high and working to the left. In general, I split my wood more in slabs than in the pie shaped pieces and I try and build my stacks about 2 pallet widths at a time [~8feet - progressively]. I also take a bit extra time in trying to 'fit' pieces in to the stack to make it a bit tighter and more stable - also gives my back a break when standing upright. Save shorter pieces for the top of the pile instead of mixing them in somewhere making the pile less stable. That kind of stuff... just my little 'how I do it'...
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    The nearest cross-piled end in the first pic looks to be cantilevered outward a bit. A steel T-bar post driven in the ground would help to keep it plumb. If freehand stacking, you should slope it toward the pile rather than try to be plumb.

    When choosing pieces for cross-piling, avoid 1/4 splits especially if they both face the same way. 1/4 splits have a tendency to teeter. Use 1/2 splits instead. Two 1/4 splits facing bark to bark with a 1/2 round piece bark side down in the middle are more stable.

    When laying up multiple rows, salt in about 2/3rds of the way up, some long rounds perpendicular to the rows that are long enough to span all rows. This will tie all the rows together.
  14. JotulOwner

    JotulOwner Feeling the Heat

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    I'm not sure if this should be another topic, but I have to wonder why splitting smaller (besides being more work) isn't better (especially for seasoning). From my limited experience, I think that you can always pack smaller pieces tighter in the stove Am I wrong?
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    JotulOwner, you are correct in that you can pack more into the stove using smaller splits. And you are correct that the wood will season faster splitting it small.

    The reason for larger splits is that they will hold a fire much longer than using the smaller splits. With smaller splits, the wood will burn quicker because there is more wood exposed to the flame. So you end up with a hotter and shorter fire using all small splits.

    Using a combination of large and small works great. In the smaller fireboxes you almost have to do it with a combination of small and large. In our stove we almost always put a large split or round hardwood in the bottom rear. In the bottom front I like to put a faster burning piece which can vary in size. This helps to get a new fire going quicker. The rest of the firebox is filled depending upon what the weather calls for. If mid winter we put in mostly large and medium splits and pack as tight as we can get it. In warmer weather we don't even fill the firebox and use the softer woods.

    I hope this made sense.
  16. flewism

    flewism Member

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    Not bad, but the first thing I'd do is move it 50-100 feet away from the house so no pest in the house, and more sun and wind to season the wood. I used to stack up against the house, close to fireplace, young city raised wife didn't like bugs and mice in her new home. Our firewood is 100 feet behind our house, stacked on skids with tee posts on the ends.
  17. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I think someone mentioned this already, but the right side of the stack appears to lean away from the stack, suggesting it might topple. i would try to slope it toward the stack, and like somebody else mentioned try to weave the ends together a bit more. On each end of the stack you have a column of wood stacked in alternating directions for stability. i think this is, in effect, a weave using only the last couple of pieces. use the same idea to tie that column into the rest of the pile, sort of the way a brick wall is built. I don't think you need to use this technique the whole way across the pile, but it does leave more air space than all pieces aligned in the same direction, so that is another benefit in addition to stability. I also think that smaller pieces must season faster than larger. The question is whether larger ones season fast enough. If they do, then splitting smaller isn't necessary, even though it surely makes for faster seasoning.
  18. stockdoct

    stockdoct New Member

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    My only point is that Crash11 is going to be burning his splits in the next 5-6 months. That's VERY little time to age splits for burning, and the smaller they are and the more air flow and sunshine, the better. I've been burning wood aged 5-6 months all winter (it WON'T happen next year) and I've learned the smaller, the better. I'm burning splits aged 3-4 months, but are only 2-3" across. Kindling, some would say. Big splits the size of his picture, aged 6 months, are a groan to fire up
  19. cityevader

    cityevader New Member

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    Aside from the potential fall-over from the leaning end, no criticisms.

    One suggestion though to enhance drying, leave a little space lengthwise between each row, maybe a half foot or so for air circulation. This reduces the number of rows for a given area, but seems like you have plenty of area.
  20. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Do you know what species of wood your stacking?
  21. JotulOwner

    JotulOwner Feeling the Heat

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    Makes sense, but don't larger logs have bigger air spaces between them or is the overall air space between the smaller splits greater? Who knows? My setup favors smaller splits stacked more loosely because (I believe) my draft (with all the pipe bends) is less than optimal. I think I figured out the best way to operate my stove, but I am always looking for ways to improve things.
  22. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    It's not so much the size of the air space but rather the surface area relative to its mass.
  23. nihil

    nihil Member

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    Love the tip re: the rope tied to both end posts. I did that on the 16' long stack I made today. Looks like it will work well.

    Thanks!
  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Well you certainly have the right idea in finding out what works best for you. Definitely it is easier to fill a small firebox with smaller pieces, but you might try at least one large split on the bottom which would hold fire just a tad longer.

    The large pieces do not necessarily have bigger air spaces between them. It depends upon how they are stacked. For instance, I split a lot of wood into square pieces. They work great for end pieces (I don't use anything on the ends except the wood that I'm stacking) and then when you put them in the stove you can pack them pretty tight.

    What I was trying to say is that by using all small pieces vs. large, there is more wood surface exposed to the flame, therefore the would burns quicker. For example, filling the firebox with 4 large pieces vs. 8 or more small ones. Each of the 8 are exposed to flame whereas only 4 exposed with the larger pieces. Hope that makes sense. But definitely do what works best for your situation.
  25. Crash11

    Crash11 Member

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    I guess I forgot to clarify something earlier. The large stack in the pictures will not be burned for about 30 months. I'm going to stack 3 rows on those pallets. The row you all see is the back row. I plan to go through 1 row per year. Also, I have no idea what species of wood it is. My grandpa grew up in the mountains of West Virginia, and he'll be teaching me what each species of wood looks like. Regardless though, I won't be burning any wood that hasn't seasoned at least 18 months.

    If you look closely you can see a tiny start to the front row of wood. That stuff is wood I split that is already extremely dry. I have some more dead trees in the woods to cut down this weekend. That's what I'll be using for the upcoming winter.

    Lastly, I've been trying to stack very large splits on purpose because I only burn from about 6 pm to 7 am each day. So I want long burn times through the night.
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