Creating a Wood Pile for Wood Stove Use

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enduring

Member
Feb 29, 2020
133
Central Iowa
  1. ? When taking down trees, like a Maple that is only 3-4", is it ok to cut up to make small kindling type wood, or is that a waste of time?
  2. ? How close to a building can you stack a wood pile to allow good drying?
  3. ? What is the story on junipers, ie juniperus virginiana? Native here in Iowa, and actually can be a lovely tree. Can that or should that be burned in the stove, or is it best for campfires? We have an abundance of small trees throughout our farm and timber.
We have cattle and hog panels that we could arch. I saw a few images online that looked doable for us. We have old iron horse stall panels too that would be used as a foundation. These iron horse stall panels are VERY strong. we could put them up on blocks to get things off the ground.

Were I live, there is a lot of hickory, oak both red and white, honey locust, ash (2 dying, needing taken down in our yard soon), walnut, hackberry. We have lots available to use on the farm and the timber farm that is actually the original homestead of DH's grandfather. Thats where the hickory, locust, oak, and maybe some elm are. Oh and we have a lot of random mulberry that we take down in between the old farm machinery.

And finally, SCORE! I have a short bed pickup load of 2 year old wood coming today, dumped on the ground. I may be paying too much, but the guy called me right back and told me how he gets the wood. He told me if I didn't like it he'd be ok with not dumping. He said "there's no cardboard or junk wood in this load. He sources from tree cutting companies and friends. He also cuts his own. Wood is Oak, locust, elm, walnut, and mulberry.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,238
NE Ohio
I personally keep wood down to 2" diameter or so...sometimes less if it doesn't need a bunch of work trimming stuff off it. Depends on species too...I'll burn just about any kind of tree though...there is a place for even low BTU wood too, just the same amount of work for less heat.
I don't like stacking next to any structure...blocks airflow to the wood and could hold moisture in/on the building. Plus my experience has been that the groundhogs like to dig between the stacks and the building too...til they get lead poisoning
 
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Stinkpickle

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
621
Iowa
I would focus on that hickory, oak, elm, and mulberry...and especially ash, if you have some. There’s a lot of great hardwood available in Polk county. All of it needs to be split to season properly, though. So cut to the length you want (I like 12” to 16”), split it to small as you want (I like smaller than 6”x6”), and get it stacked up off the ground. I keep it stacked in single rows on 2x4s on cinder blocks keeping it about six inches off the ground. As long as it’s out in the sun and wind, it’s good in two years...and great after three years.
 
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enduring

Member
Feb 29, 2020
133
Central Iowa
Brenndatomu, lead poisoning from the years of house paint dusting off into the soil...oops, just read your thread, and my response, to DH and he started laughing. Then I got it!
 
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enduring

Member
Feb 29, 2020
133
Central Iowa
Stinkpickle, do you cover your single pile of wood as it cures, and only cover in winter, like Moresnow does? Heaven knows we have room to have wood piles everywhere, lol. But gathering it all up to one convenient place will be a task. I like what Brenndatomu commented on about piling it out in the open and not near a building, due to ground hogs. That would happen here, as we get them.
 

Stinkpickle

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
621
Iowa
Stinkpickle, do you cover your single pile of wood as it cures, and only cover in winter, like Moresnow does? Heaven knows we have room to have wood piles everywhere, lol. But gathering it all up to one convenient place will be a task. I like what Brenndatomu commented on about piling it out in the open and not near a building, due to ground hogs. That would happen here, as we get them.
I used to cover with tarps, but we get so much wind around here it doesn’t matter. I stack mine in sunny, open spaces, and only cover what I want burn before winter to keep snow and ice from gluing it all together. As for stacking near a building, you could put along the south and west sides of an old barn, as long as there is good sun and wind exposure. I keep some along a privacy fence, and that works fine. The key seems to be getting it split and up off the ground.
 
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enduring

Member
Feb 29, 2020
133
Central Iowa
Got some wood today. As I calculate it, it is 42% of a cord. It was a short bed pickup load. The seller delivered with I believe was his daughter. Very pleasant and friendly. The 3 pieces I took out and split were 14% or so. Thanks Brenndatomu, for the instructions on using the moisture meter.

I had an old table that was in the basement for more than 70 years. I cut it up to get it out. the base makes a perfect makeshift platform. elevated onto concrete block. Then a few T post at the ends and in the center, cause I wanted to separate the walnut from the other mix.

I had fun doing all of this, until about 3/4 of the way through, then I wanted to quit, lol. But its done and covered.

? Once wood is seasoned, it should be covered, right?
? Some have mentioned that they have their wood seasoning for 2 years uncovered during windy hot weather. Once seasoned do those with the uncovered practice, then cover their wood?


My base:
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Who's bright idea was it that had the wood dumped here (me)....
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....Because DH wanted to have it stacked here, and it is a very good place, so we had to move it:
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Got it done:
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The right hand side is walnut. The left side of the center posts is a mix of oak, ash, and maybe a bit of elm:
35P6o%pNQ0ekPRD2+5+3Sg.jpg


Is this how to keep it dry for next fall, or should we do something more sheltered?
ZxpEtED+QV+OYGyxwYbsoA.jpg
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,238
NE Ohio
That should work fine...the main thing in my opinion, is to get it at least top covered before the end of the summer/fall/dry season, especially after it is a year or two dried like yours is, a doubly so if this is the wood you plan to use this winter (which this probably is)
Here is a thread on some cheap/easy wood racks too...