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Wood Stacking Question

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Apiator, Aug 29, 2009.

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  1. Apiator

    Apiator New Member

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    I'm new to this and was wondering what some good techniques were for stacking/storing wood: Lengths & widths of pieces, directly on ground, etc... I'm installing an Avalon Olympic Insert: 3.1 cu ft fire box, 24" max log lengths. House is >3000 sq ft, but will only be using the stove to supplement. Friend of mine has several red oak trees that have been down for over a year, so that's my source. I don't have a covered area to keep it, but otherwise have plenty of room... 4 acres (cleared unfortunately).

    Also....what about a decent chainsaw?? Do I really need to spend the $$ on a Stihl?

    Thanks for all your previous responses also!

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Oak takes a couple years to season. Keep the wood off the ground if possible. Stack it on something like pallets. If the trees have been down on the ground there is a good possibility that they have been soaking up a lot of moisture from the earth. That will add to drying time.

    As far as saws go, there is a gear forum here too. Personally, I like my Stihl, but there are other good ones. Head to the Gear forum here to research and get some good advice.
  3. stockdoct

    stockdoct New Member

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    wow ... I didn't know you actually had to HEAT your home in mississippi. Wow. Ignorance on my part.

    I've used a handsaw, an inexpensive electric chainsaw, and a Stihl. I love my Stihl.

    For log splitting, I've found that splitting a 14-16" log round is FAR easier than splitting a 24" log, which might not fit in your stove anyway. I'd advise if you're splitting by hand, to split a little short (14-16" length), have splits who's width is no more than 6-8" at their widest point, and LOTS of kindling. You can never have too much kindling.

    Good luck with the new stove!
  4. FrankMA

    FrankMA Member

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    I made some racks out of 2 x 6's that hold about 3/4 of a cord each. Here's the website that gives very good directions - I made mine 5' high x 12' long in order to stack more wood. You can modify the plans to suit your storage needs. The one thing to do different is to use lag screws or nuts & bolts for the legs instead of the 3" - 4" screws they suggest. I also place a 8" x 8" x 2' long piece of wood on the ground in the center of the rack to prevent sagging when fully loaded. Good luck! www.popularmechanics.com/home_journal/woodworking/4268584 You'll have to go to "woodworking" and then scroll down to the "how to build a firewood rack by 2 x 4 guy" to access the link. Sorry for the added steps.
  5. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    After having struggled cutting rounds with my father-in-law's old, lousy, cheap underpowered saws, I bought my own Dolmar P5100. It cost me just under $400, and it is worth every penny. There are a lot of opinions on saws, and Stihl and Husqvarna are used often also. I like the Dolmar since it is the lightest in it's class by about 2 pounds, and that makes a difference for a smaller guy like me. If you are cutting rounds >6-8" diameter, get something in the $300-$400 price range and you won't regret it. If you are cutting small rounds or limbing, something less expensive will be ok.

    I realize that you are not cutting the quantity in MS that we are in NY, so affordability may come into play here. But I would guess that if you bought the right saw, you wouldn't regret it and you would have a hard time going back to something else.
  6. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

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    Like BG said, Oak takes a long time to season. It takes well over a year to season oak once cut/split/stacked. Even if it has been down in log form for quite some time.
    Getting your wood off the ground stacked....wind/sun will do the rest. The smaller the split or chunk, the faster it dries out. As far as saws, figure out about how many cords you cut a year and your budget. Shop around
    to local dealers....check out ebay also.....


    WoodButcher
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Bad link. try this.
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/home_journal/woodworking/4268584.html

    Wood cut shorter for N/S loading is easier to split and dries a little quicker but is a little harder to stack. Racks would help.

    Me, I'd just pound in a couple of steel T-bar posts and put junk wood like Poplar on the ground and then stack the good stuff on top of it.
  8. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    Yep! LLigetfa I agree as usual. I use the fence posts and they do help a lot. Especially if, like me, you stack over 4 feet....
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I used to build my stacks like BWS but went all out this year and got some pallets. Not only did I lay down pallets but I also slipped them over the two T-bar posts on the end. Using the 40" width of the pallets, gets me two rows of 20" splits. Shorter splits could fit three rows on the 48" width of the pallets. Single rows would dry faster.

    [​IMG]
  10. Apiator

    Apiator New Member

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    These give me some great ideas y'all. I hadn't noticed the "wood shed" part of this website. Moderator apparently moved my thread to this forum...much more appropriate. Lots of good info on here.

    What about covering the pile with a tarp etc.. Is that necessary?
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Perhaps in your area it might be best to cover the top of the wood pile right after stacking. We usually wait until November or December. If you do cover with a tarp, cover the top only; not the sides. Put something under the tarp so that the tarp itself does not come in contact with the wood.

    Warning about that oak. If it has been down over a year and if it has been laying on the ground, you very well might end up with a lot of very punky wood; in other words, not good at all. If the punk is only an inch or so then you would be okay.

    Good luck.
  13. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    1) Whatever you do, do not store it directly on the ground. Put it on pallets or something.

    2) You will HAVE to find a way to store that wood such that it is able to dry. If this means building a woodshed (and that is what it usually means) then that's what you gotta do. burning wet and/or green wood in your new insert is a waste of time and dangerous.

    3) No decent saw is cheap. Echo and Dolmer make a decent saw but they aren't exactly giving them away. You can get a Stihl 361 for about $600 and you will never wear it out (I'm not exaggerating) Or you can pay $100 less for some janky off brand that will probably be fine too. Your choice.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I forgot to post about the chainsaw. We use a Stihl Farm Boss, Model 290 with 16" bar. It seems that the price was around $275 but they no doubt have gone up in price by now. The saw has been 100% trouble free. The only thing we've replaced is bar, chain and sprocket which are all normal wear. To go up in size would make the saw to heavy (I have a back problem) so I settled on this one and have not been sorry. It could run up to a 20" bar and chain but that would definitely be too much in my opinion.

    I've ran mainly McCullogh, Homelite and Stihl. The Stihl has been the best.
  15. Bootlegger

    Bootlegger New Member

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    I got the same Dolmar two years ago when I moved on to some acreage and my new house came with a wood stove. What a great saw.
    Yes, a good saw is worth every penny. I stack on gravel.
  16. Bootlegger

    Bootlegger New Member

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    Dude, that rack is awesome! I'm building one this winter.
  17. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Length and width of wood: A lot depends on the size of your firebox . . . based on your stove I personally would cut the bulk of my wood to 22 inch lengths -- giving you an extra 2 inches of space. For me cutting the wood just a couple inches short has worked out well. You may also elect to cut even shorter pieces for burning north/south (vs. east/west) though I for one do not think it's necessary to do so . . . and in fact, during normal cutting you may end up with several shorter pieces (i.e. chunks) anyways. As for the size of the splits . . . 3-8 inches works for me . . . smaller stuff for when the fire is first started and the larger stuff for the overnight fires.

    Stacking: The higher you go, the more unstable the pile seems to be. Start with a good, level base if possible. Do not stack directly on the ground. Many folks use pallets or build their own stacking racks -- there should be some threads here in regards to those topics. Me, I used pallets on level ground last year which worked well. I do tarp my wood during the winter months, but leave them uncovered until the first snow of the year. To stack I do the criss-cross Lincoln log style on the ends and fill in the middles. Make sure the ends are stable. Leave some space between stacks if you're doing double rows . . . as the pile increases in height begin stacking the wood so it is now pushed inward somewhat -- this helps make the pile more stable.

    Chainsaw: Any saw will work fine . . . but you do get what you pay for in terms of quality equipment. Stihl, Husquvarna and Dolmars are consistently rated very well by users here.

    Supplemental Heat: Hmmm . . . time will tell . . . perhaps it will just be used for supplemental heat or perhaps you'll be lured to the dark side like the rest of us and learn to love the heat and will be burning a lot more often than you think. ;) :)
  18. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Jake,
    Do you tarp the sides as well?
    There is plenty of blowing snow where I live.
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    In case Jake doesn't answer, I still say no to the tarping of the sides. We too have lots of blowing snow but don't worry about it at all. Still best to leave the sides open.
  20. FrankMA

    FrankMA Member

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    I fold my tarp so it just covers the top of the stack and then tie it down so it does'nt blow away. I did this last year and it worked out great - kept the wood dry and allowed it to season to the max. Never had any problems with blowing snow using this method. I'll try and take some pic's and post them when I have a chance.
  21. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    And an assist by Backwoods . . .

    Pretty much I do just like Backwoods . . . the tarp does of course dangle a bit over the sides, but I don't go out of my way to cover the sides. Most of the woodpile is fine . . . the bottom foot or two . . . or three . . . sometimes gets covered by snow . . . but this is only on the ends of the splits/rounds and easily knocked off.
  22. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    Are you talking about wood that you are burning, or wood that is still waiting until next year?

    My burning stack got a bunch of snow on the bottom and those bottom splits didn't like burning at all.
  23. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Wood that I am burning in the present year (although I am building a wood shed so I don't have to deal with any snow on the wood).

    Maybe Maine snow is different than Connecticut snow. ;) :) Actually, all kidding aside . . . I do transfer the wood from my pile to the covered porch and knock the snow off it before stacking it on the porch (about a week's worth of wood) . . . so perhaps this is why the wood burned fine.
  24. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I had some nasty driving rain once in the past that became freezing rain and then it turned really cold and stayed that way. My tarps that were not already shredded by the storm were stuck to the frozen wood and got shredded even worse trying to take the wood out from under them. The wood was covered in an inch of ice and I had to bust them apart. I hope I never ever go through that again.

    My current shed is very open with only a foot of overhang on the roof so a driving rain will hit some of the wood. Drifting snow in Winter will blow right through my stacks and collect on some of my wood but it doesn't cause any problem. It's usually stays dry and will just sublimate.
  25. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I stack my wood in round 'holz hausens' that stand up on their own without any rack. They look pretty cool, too. i don't cover it. It seems to work well, but I haven't tried the alternatives, like a wood shed, so I can't really say which is best. I stack out in the open, so a stack that stands on its own is important and the reason I went with this system.
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