Drying firewood - shed or covered in open?

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PapaRoo

New Member
Nov 15, 2018
2
North Carolina
Hi folks

New to the forum although I’ve been reading the last week or so. We’ve just moved into a. We house with a wood burning insert and I am planning to start cutting and seasoning wood for the coming winters.

The property has a couple of ready made options for wood storage or I could do something else.

1) A utility shed that is near the house which has a close up portion and an open ended portion. The open side would be very convenient for storing wood but it receive zero sunlight and little air movement.

2) Hay barn/shed that would mean driving the wood back and forth to the house. It’s large and would protect from direct rain and would have more airflow by virtue of its size and openness. It is open completely on one side and half walls on the other three sides.

3) construct a simple drying rack at the edge of the fields in sunlight and cover the top with tin/tarp. Would be more open to elements but this would mean the most airflow and sunshine.

I have downed white oak, red oak and hickory right now with options for others. I will also get some leavings from a local mill that has been “seasoned” in a pile out in the open. My hope is the mill wood would dry out for next winter and the wood I split now could start being burned in 2020/2021.

Thanks all!
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,337
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
If you don't need to store hay or tractors in there, I'd go for the hay barn every time.

I do topcovered stacks now, but if an empty pole barn suddenly appeared on my property I'd probably fill it with wood.

I actually keep meaning to build a (sided) pole barn for all the crap that's currently filling my garage, maybe I should also build an unsided one for wood....
 
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Montanalocal

Feeling the Heat
Dec 22, 2014
474
Helena MT
I have two different storage places for wood that fulfill two different uses. The first is for wood that is not ready for burning, and needs drying. Your barn seems to fulfill this use quite well.

My second storage place is for wood that is dry and ready to burn. The main requirement for this is convenience of transport to my house, especially during bad weather or heavy snow. Your utility shed near your house would seem to be best for this. Granted, one would have to move your coming burning season wood between your drying location and your storage location, but during my burning season, I am glad I have done so.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,337
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
I have a little lawn tractor dump trailer in my attached garage. I drive that thing out to the stacks (or woods) once a week all winter and fill it up, so I only have to go outside for wood weekly. I used to go outside every time I wanted 3cf of wood, and while sometimes that's fine, sometimes I don't have pants on/cold wet stuff is falling out of the sky/it is dark/it is cold/all of the above.
 
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GadDummit

Feeling the Heat
May 27, 2017
265
Oklahoma
I'm not in a heavily snowed or sleeted area so mine are just stacked out in the open, uncovered and getting full sun year round. The worst I have to contend with is a cat knocking a few logs off every now and then. I don't know how rainy NC is, but if it's similar you may not need either.
I can dry most woods in a summer or two.
 

ct01r

Member
Nov 10, 2018
73
Eastern Pa.
I stack ours in the barn. We don't have animals, so it goes into the stalls, stacked nice and high. No sun, and little air circulation, so I give it two years before I burn it and it burns fine. It's REALLY nice to go in during a snow storm and retrieve a load for the stove; it's dry inside the barn, there's lights, and I can either get the grandkids to load a couple of sleds to help me transport it or load up the skid loader bucket. Curt
 

GettinBy

New Member
Nov 27, 2018
3
Maine, USA
Hi there,
I’m also new here. I’ve been reading this forum for a couple of years now, but never felt like I had much to add in the way of, well anything, really. Most folks here seem to have a system they have worked out over the years. Things that work for them or that they like for some reason or another. My situation is such that I am old by some standards (51), I burn wood for several reasons including economy and sheer joy, I don’t have a ton of money, and I don’t have a ton of spare time (not retired, probably will never be). And what spare time I do have, I like to spend watching the fire. I seem to notice that a lot of folks here live in what I would call warmer areas of the US. I live in Maine (and not by the ocean). It gets pretty cold here for a pretty long time. Today the sun set at 4:30, it is a balmy 34 degrees out, and we got 12 inches of “wet, heavy”. Up here, most folks can’t afford to season wood for more than two years. Most people up here will get 4-6 cord of 8 month old hardwood, stack that up and burn it for the winter, then start over next fall. I have a shed that once was a 2 car garage. Holds 10 cord and I burn 5 a year. So, I’m lucky. I can get 5 cord “green” in one half and hold it until next year. My sentiment on the subject is to situate your wood so you move it the least amount of times possible. If I have to move my wood 3 or 4 times before I burn it, I’m probably wasting my time.
 

Valhalla

Minister of Fire
All are good and most realistic questions. I’ve stacked wood splits for seasoning both outdoors and also in a shed/barn. While making outdoor stacks are easy and handy, keeping the splits dry, from wind driven snow and rain is the ultimate and constant goal. Seasoning the splits is our purpose and mission. Sheds are my preference, with outside stacks a distance second choice. Economic and available space,of course drives the decision. I just like wood sheds!
 

Tar12

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2016
1,819
Indiana
You have some excellent storage options there! Oak is at its premium in year 3...My advice to you is get to splitting and stacking like a mad man along those field edges with any dead or downed trees that you have there for next winter and top cover...then get after that Oak and Hickory and do the same thing and rotate into your buildings in the fall of the second year...I cant stress enough on getting busy with the splitting and stacking! lol
 

TedyOH

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2015
560
NE Ohio
Id keep the oak out in the open field for 2 summers uncovered...with 4 to 6 foot between rows...if you pack oak with no space between rows in a shed it will rot and grow fungus you never seen before.....trust me.....hickory you can get away with stacking tight in a shed...top cover the oak after 2 years or move it to one of your buildings

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 
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Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,185
Woolwich nj
Got to figure out what i'm going to do about storage. Plenty of ideas here....
If you want dry wood. Then you need to build a shed. Wood in a shed will dry much faster than left out. I have 3 sheds and my oak is ready to burn after 2 summers. I dont need to baby my wood eather. Jut put it in the shed and walk away untill it time to burn. With all of the rain we had this year not one drop of water touched my wood. Leaving the wood out not top covered will slow the wood drying process, any rain that the wood absorbs will need to be lost slowing the drying. Wood can only lose so much moisture in a given period of time. If you truly want wood that is dry and in the shortest time, a wood shed is the way to go. I didnt mention the part when you dont have to deal with snow on the out side stacks and also messing with tarps eventually..
 
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Gunfixr

New Member
Jan 14, 2019
89
Va, USA
The wet wood I got is in a shed, of sorts. I have the older, drier wood stacked outside it, but built a tin roof over it.
Rain will only hit it if it's blown in under the roof, which is not that high off the ground.
 

Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
423
Sisters, OR
flic.kr
My vote is out in the open where the sun and wind are strongest, single rows, uncovered until fall.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,185
Woolwich nj
The wet wood I got is in a shed, of sorts. I have the older, drier wood stacked outside it, but built a tin roof over it.
Rain will only hit it if it's blown in under the roof, which is not that high off the ground.
Your shed needs to be oriented facing south.. and the shed needs to be vented in the back and sides so it breaths.. doing this will allow all the southerly winds to go through the spring summer and fall.. drying the wood.. if your shed is set up properly its a wood drying machine
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,541
07462
I do both, I try to stay ahead by three years, so split my logs and stack on pallets, cover with a tarp for the winter only, in the spring I stack it in woodshed and it sits in there for 2 seasons
 

iron

Minister of Fire
Sep 23, 2015
635
southeast kootenays
pacific northwest guy here, so maybe sim precip pattern as OP, but slightly cooler.

i had open stacks for my first 3 years. the stuff i burned in october and maybe november was okay, but come later season, it started getting wet. just too much precip to fight. my tarping wasn't perfect, but that's pretty hard to do AND get easy enough access. i build some sheds closest to my door that i use to get wood in the house. game changer. we'll see how green stacked and dried for 2 years works, but i'm thinking it should be better than the alternative.

moving the split wood 1 time instead of 2 should be a priority of every wood burner.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
840
n
I think it really depends on your climate, both in the winter and summer. I split and stack all of my wood in the winter, top covered outside in long open rows. It goes in the shed in September before the rain starts. Last summer all of my cedar and doug fir dried to 13-18%MC. I have in the past put green wood away in the shed only to come back to a pile of mould or mush - I want neither of those in my house.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
Hi folks

New to the forum although I’ve been reading the last week or so. We’ve just moved into a. We house with a wood burning insert and I am planning to start cutting and seasoning wood for the coming winters.

The property has a couple of ready made options for wood storage or I could do something else.

1) A utility shed that is near the house which has a close up portion and an open ended portion. The open side would be very convenient for storing wood but it receive zero sunlight and little air movement.

2) Hay barn/shed that would mean driving the wood back and forth to the house. It’s large and would protect from direct rain and would have more airflow by virtue of its size and openness. It is open completely on one side and half walls on the other three sides.

3) construct a simple drying rack at the edge of the fields in sunlight and cover the top with tin/tarp. Would be more open to elements but this would mean the most airflow and sunshine.

I have downed white oak, red oak and hickory right now with options for others. I will also get some leavings from a local mill that has been “seasoned” in a pile out in the open. My hope is the mill wood would dry out for next winter and the wood I split now could start being burned in 2020/2021.

Thanks all!
Sheds are great if the wood isn't so wet when it goes in, that it molds. NC is a humid place, so you need to get it dry enough to avoid the mold.

Any other type of top cover is fine. Ignore all nonsense about leaving it open to the rain and snow. If you are trying to dry something, keep it from getting wetter.
 
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Gunfixr

New Member
Jan 14, 2019
89
Va, USA
Your shed needs to be oriented facing south.. and the shed needs to be vented in the back and sides so it breaths.. doing this will allow all the southerly winds to go through the spring summer and fall.. drying the wood.. if your shed is set up properly its a wood drying machine
It's a ratty little shed that was already here. We just moved here a few months ago. Tearing it down is on the list, but not real high. Once I realized I needed more wood storage, I went in and added support posts so it wouldn't collapse on me, and put a tarp on it so rain wouldn't wash the wood constantly. It seems we may have just come out of a monsoon season that would make se Asia jealous.
So, I will be working on deciding where, and how exactly to store wood for proper seasoning, as most available for purchase is not seasoned.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,593
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I can only tell you what I do and that it works.

I stack my wood outside for a minimum of a year or two . . . and then move it into my woodshed where it sits for another year or two (or more . . . I am currently burning a 2013 vintage) before I use it.
 
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weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,891
Central Mass
Shed can mean different things, enclosed on three sides with solid walls to just a roof with all sides open, I think the latter would season wood quicker.
 
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Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
Shed can mean different things, enclosed on three sides with solid walls to just a roof with all sides open, I think the latter would season wood quicker.
I use tarps over single rows. Works ok. My folks have a roof over posts open on all four sides, skids on the bottom. Works great. Much better than mine, and is 4 rows deep.