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Wood Pile on a Slope

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by JJEGLBS, May 28, 2009.

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  1. JJEGLBS

    JJEGLBS Member

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    Just finished my first season with an insert (Jotul Rockland) and have used a store-bought log rack to stack splits up to now. I'd now like to begin the process of collecting, splitting, and stacking a few years' worth. The problem is that my backyard is mostly on a slope and the only good location (subject to sun and wind) is on the slope. Here is a picture of where I'd like to build a pile.

    [​IMG]

    Most of the current pile you see there is on the store-bought rack and seems stable. I'm thinking of putting 3 or 4 4x4's (or 6x6's) in the ground near the tree to the left of the current pile. There is room near the fence for 2 stacks wide and there is rock underneath. I'd like to run 2 stacks about 5 feet high from these posts up the slope (with 2x4's underneath) about 16-20 feet to about where the right side of the current pile ends and then maybe have additional support posts on the upper-side as well (or, not and have gravity hold the pile down).

    Anyway, I'm interested in any comments, advice, additional ideas on this. Thanks.

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  2. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Hi JJ how ya doing? Slopes are are a tough nut to crack. Think I'd try laying a tarp on the ground and just pile the wood up instead of stacking. With a pitch like that water would pass through the wood and run off the tarp. We pile our wood on gravel beds. You can safely pile wood a lot higher than you can stack it. At least with piling your hips spend way less time on that uneven ground so time wise it's easier on the body.

    here's a pile about 10feet tall 30' long
    [​IMG]

    here's another pile 12'-14' tall
    [​IMG]
    Also piling isn't as ugly as you'd think plus you don't have to worry about a catastrophic collapse...occasionally a few pieces will landslide.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I'd just drive in a few steel T-bar posts at both ends and a couple in the middle. You could also terrace the row a bit by laying a first course of splits level and perpendicular to the stack. It also doesn't hurt to salt in a few cross-piled pieces.

    Having fewer rounds in the pile helps too. I split every round that can be split, right down to a couple of inches. As the wood dries, it shrinks and the pile will move a little.
  4. Henz

    Henz New Member

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    there was one pic of a guy who placed his wood pallets on a slope and did them in a stepped fashion as too keep them level. it was really neat. I think you could use cindar blocks at the one end of the pallet making it relatively level and keep going down
  5. maplewood

    maplewood Minister of Fire

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    Hello JJEGLBS,

    I use pallets. Free, excellent to stack two ranks on. There are many qualities of pallets - find some heavy duty ones (hardwood frames, solid slats you can stand on). For slopes, put a cinder block or a couple of splits under the lower two corners to raise them up, making a stair-step affair. You can even use a pallet vertically to hold up the end of the pile - pry off 2 slats from a pallet and use them to brace the vertical pallet to the adjacent horizontal pallet, making a nice tight 90 degree corner.

    A tarp cover over the top 1/3 of the pile will give you some water protection and speed up your drying process, but still give it enough air flow to breath and dry out.

    Good luck,
    Larry
  6. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I thought Illinois was flat. :)

    My backyard is similar but steeper. I'd love to take advantage of the southern
    slope and its sun/wind, but I've been stacking in the front side yard which is
    more level. So far, no one has complained, and the neighbors seem to enjoy
    watching the growing stacks and hand splitting process.

    Pallets are generally free and a great wood stacking tool. I second the idea
    to use cinder block (or bricks) to level off the pallets.
  7. TKeller

    TKeller New Member

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    That is some serious downhill sloping. So much so that my technique might not be the best ideal. I use landscaping timbers and blocks. and keep the timbers level. So that in a 8 ft. run on one end it would be blocked up 2or 3 blocks and the other end the timber is on the ground. But your slope is more. I would on the downhill end, drive about three 6 ft(8ft if you can find them) metal fence posts and drive them at least two ft. in the ground and that should hold the uphill run. Maybe every 8ft drive some more end posts and start another 8ft. run uphill. I would also recommend something on the ground(pallets, timbers etc.) and keep the firewood off the ground. Wouldn't hurt to crisscross the downhill ends and not stack more than 5 ft. high. Tony
  8. joshlaugh

    joshlaugh New Member

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    That is a serious slope. I would hate to stack all that wood and than once a few pieces goes, you might lose 1/2 your wood down that hill. I would use channel posts driven into the ground and attach a 4x4 pallet upright to keep your stack from falling. I have level ground and still use channel posts to make sure my wood pile doesn't tip over.
  9. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Naaa... there's that one hill waaay over by the river and another one...oops my mistake. There's only one. %-P

    Actually in the north/west and along the west side of the state it can get down right ozarks lookin'
  10. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    I would just use pallets. Lay a row down on the ground and put pallets on the end to hold the wood in. I just secure my ends to the bottom with 2x4s. Then I would stack the uphill side first and try and keep it leaning that way as you stack to keep the weight off the downhill end. My pitch is not as big as yours but this is what i do.
  11. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    I'm with savage on this one. Tarp and the pitch of the ground will keep the water out from underneath. Throw it into a pile. Steep incline.

    BUT you did mention going 5 ft high. I'd hold off going that high, especially if you haven't stacked wood before. 3 to 4 ft is plenty. Have fun and don't hurry, post pics....even if you have a collapse. We have the before pics, need the during and after stuff.
  12. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Get picture of neighborhood kids when they have a little fun and kick the logs out. Need to have pics to help identify bodies that were beaten by a piece of 16" splits once owner catches 'em. %-P
  13. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    JJ is that a bat house in the upper right of the picture. I would also do stair stepped pallets. Like someone said, there are all different sizes. Get narrow ones to lessen the decline.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    JJ, that looks like fun. If it were me, I'd definitely try to stack on that slope without leveling just for the challenge! But you would probably be wise to go to Tractor Supply or Lowes, etc., and buy some T-posts. You can get 7 footers at TSC but not so sure you can get them at Lowes or Home Depot type stores. Drive two at the low end and maybe two more mid way.

    For on the ground, I am not a fan of the pallet thing. I'd much rather lay poles that I cut in the woods. You can also use landscape timbers, RR ties, 4 x 4's, etc. As far as that goes, you can use what you have in the picture. Just lay logs down. Make two rows, then stack the rest of the wood on top.

    Stacking 5' high you definitely will want two rows and possibly 3. Each one will help support the other. Here's a couple of pictures of our stacks:

    Our woodpile

    Good luck with that wood pile JJ, but get that wood split ASAP. It needs time to season right and splitting will help it a lot.
  15. JJEGLBS

    JJEGLBS Member

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    Wow. Lots of good responses. Thanks!

    Some thoughts --

    - I do have some wood already split at my in-law's house that will eventually make it here. I'm just trying to a year or 2 ahead.
    - I will be covering the pile with a tarp on top (hanging down over the sides a bit).
    - There is gravel underneath, and with the slope drainage shouldn't be a problem, but I will still probably want to run stringers.
    - Illinois is flat for the most part, but we are near a river. It's a great sledding hill, but not as steep as the picture looks -- about a 12 deg slope.
    - That is a bat house in the picture. Put it in about 7 years ago and haven't had one resident :-(
    - I do have a Tractor Supply and Farm & Fleet nearby, so I could use T-posts or T-bars or anything else they have.
    - I don't have access (that I know of anyway) to pallets. I do have one pallet from a flooring delivery and it is very solid.

    Here is a crude mark-up of the picture to show what I was considering. Obviously, the rack will go on the landscaped area, but I moved it closer to make it more clear. The posts would be 8' (3' in ground) 4x4's with 2x4 stringers, all treated. There would be two rows going up the slope. The center post would have 2 stringers, 1 for each row. Wouldn't this be stronger than t-posts? Or, is the reason for t-posts more the costs of the wood + effort to dig post holes?

    [​IMG]
  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    No slope where my stack is but here's a pic of it. YOu can see there are two T-bar posts driven into the ground and then a pallet slipped over them. The other two T-bars leaning against it got used in the next row. Notice that I selected splits that stack well and so don't exert much pressure on the T-bars. A few cross-piled pieces also help.

    [​IMG]
  17. Apprentice_GM

    Apprentice_GM Member

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    All the replies are pretty good if you want to spend some time and effort and $$ for sure. 'cause I am a stingy, cheapskate and ghetto kind of guy in some things, I would trim a couple of branches off that pine tree, and use it for downhill bracing, and stack against the tree up to 5 or 6 feet high. Or do your racks you've designed, although the angled "support" pieces at the downhill end of your racks should have some kind of flat board between them to increase the surface area the posts are using for resistance to lean. Otherwise the angled posts will keep piercing deeper into the ground until finally the stack collapses (depending on how soft your soil is).
  18. JJEGLBS

    JJEGLBS Member

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    You know, good idea to use the pine tree to help with support. This would just need to pass the wife acceptance test first.
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    You will ruin that pine tree if you stack wood against it. I always hate to see people using the trees for ends of wood piles... A very poor way to stack wood.
  20. JJEGLBS

    JJEGLBS Member

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    Thanks everyone for your input on this! I think I'm going to try LL's method of the T-posts with a pallet slipped over them and then stacked carefully (with lengthwise pieces) as others also suggested. I've got one pallet, which I assume is 4'x4'. Where do I looked to find more if the one I have is too small or if I want more?
  21. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    Pallets can be found in lumberyards, industrial parks, craigslist. Ask before taking. My
    area lumberyard advertises "free pallets".
  22. Skier76

    Skier76 Minister of Fire

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    My local stoneyard/landscaping place has a pile of them. I saw a "free" sign last year...but called ahead this year just to be safe: "Yep, those are still free...help yourself."
  23. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    I don't know how big your yard is there, but I'm thinking I'd stack perpendicular to the slope. If I was going to burn wood for some time, I'd most likely get a few treated 6x6's or in some other fashion, possible excavation, create a stepped arrangement that I could stack lengthwise across the yard, and NOT up and down the slope....

    there's my .02 cents worth.
  24. newstove

    newstove Member

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    Here is one of my piles on a slope (it's about 3 cords.) Note that my slope is not nearly as pronounced as your's is.

    Also, this slope angles downward from both right to left and back to front - thus the front of some of the pallets are propped up (as you can see) but the backs are all flat on the ground (mostly. ;-) )

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