Drying in 4-row stacks

FIDLER

Member
Jan 5, 2014
8
Pennsylvania
It was a lot of huge trees. [emoji3] This is the same property from which I took a 60” diameter downed white oak after Sandy. There were a lot of trees in the 24”+ range, this time.

A ship builder took the white oak, gave us about $5k for the privilege to harvest what blew down. He sent in a logging company, who took a full six days to load up what he was taking. Another church member and I split half the hickory, spending about two days per week there all summer, and the rest just got piled up for another day.
That’s dedication, my friend. I have a bunch of rounds on my driveway waiting to be split. I picked up a couple of cords of beech in Narberth this weekend, if you know where that is. I never realized how much work and time go into transporting, processing, stacking AND seasoning a cord of wood until I did it myself. Holy crap, a 60” oak.. a 1” slab would weigh around 100lbs. How did you even budge that thing? A crane? That’s a lot of wood to move around!
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,727
Philadelphia
Yes, I know Narberth well, used to have family there. The 60” rounds were all hollow, unfortunately. All the solid stuff was 49” and smaller. A friend moved it with an excavator that has a thumb, into a dump truck, that dumped it in my yard.
 
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mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
274
California redwood coast
Land is actually reasonably flat, but there is one low spot at the end of the row. I may do a little leveling of the dirt in that area, before bringing in gravel.

In any case, here's the shed concept. Haven't added any cross-bracing to the model yet, will get to that tomorrow. Will be building one prototype to make final adjustments, then at least a half dozen of these. Footprint is 16' x 6', with 14.5' x 6' of that usable for wood. Roof is 16' x 7' 2", for 7" - 9" overhang all-around.

View attachment 247625
I saw pictures of one of your sheds filled with wood .... after several weekends of rain (https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/good-day-to-hunker-in.180167/#post-2421724) .

Was the overhang enough to keep the wood dry? Overall, what would you do differently? What do you like best so far?

I'm still thinking of shed plans....
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,160
Southern IN
Was the overhang enough to keep the wood dry? Overall, what would you do differently? What do you like best so far?
I'm still thinking of shed plans....
Yeah, doesn't look like a lot of overhang, but it's no biggie if the ends get wet once in a while. You could even stack it with the outside rows' splits tilting out slightly to shed water.
I'm thinking of a shed too...it'll be nice. At least I was able to score a bunch of metal roofing, so that's an improvement over the mats I'm using, which wanna sag and fall down between the rows. :rolleyes:
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,727
Philadelphia
I’m stacking 6 ft wide, as four rows of 18” splits, so there’s only so much overhang I can get with two 4’ wide sheets of plywood , without getting into a ton of cutting and waste of sheathing. Also, more overhang means more chance of bumping and destroying it as I try to turn my too-big tractor around in the wood splitting area. With drip edge and 1/4” shingle overhang, the total overhang is almost exactly 12 inches, on these units.

So, I think I found the best compromise for me, I honestly can’t think of anything Iwould change. I have built two so far, with more in the way, as soon as I finish a few other projects.
The wood stays dry in most rain conditions, just not when it gets real windy. But I’m not sure if a few more inches of overhang would change that.
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,464
Nova Scotia
But I’m not sure if a few more inches of overhang would change that.
Not likely. Orienting so prevailing winds are down its length rather into the sides of the stacks might help though.
 
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JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,427
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Jealous of all you guys who have areas of full sun and wind. I have the wood but just no good areas for it to get sun and wind. I'm pretty much stacking top covered in the middle of the woods. :(
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,727
Philadelphia
Sun and wind are both overrated, unless you’re sailing.

073DC163-04E3-4336-9EAE-31936B42B24C.jpeg
 
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mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
274
California redwood coast
I’m stacking 6 ft wide, as four rows of 18” splits, so there’s only so much overhang I can get with two 4’ wide sheets of plywood , without getting into a ton of cutting and waste of sheathing. Also, more overhang means more chance of bumping and destroying it as I try to turn my too-big tractor around in the wood splitting area. With drip edge and 1/4” shingle overhang, the total overhang is almost exactly 12 inches, on these units.

So, I think I found the best compromise for me, I honestly can’t think of anything Iwould change. I have built two so far, with more in the way, as soon as I finish a few other projects.
The wood stays dry in most rain conditions, just not when it gets real windy. But I’m not sure if a few more inches of overhang would change that.
I'm happy to read that you are so satisfied with your shed design. Would you be generous enough to share the details/draft of your design?I'd have to modify it so it that meets my city's 120 square foot limitations. (Correction, I see your design is 16'x6' =96 sq ft foot print) Also, what carpentry skill level would you judge is required for your design?

I know you had the requirement for the shed to be portable shed, but nevertheless - and there are advantages to not permanently being stuck with the originally decided on location - but would have you otherwise worked with posts attached-to/stuck-in the ground otherwise?

Thanks.
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
274
California redwood coast
I just did some quick (hopefully correct) calculations on your shed. I'm assuming stacks are 5ft high, 15 feet usable space long, and 4 pieces of wood wide: With wood cut to 16" it comes to 3.125 cords. With 15" (sometimes sold around here) it's 2.93 cords. One place is even selling wood at 14", which would allow 5 across (no pallet in between) giving 3.4 cords.

Regardless, 16", 15", or 14", they'd all just about meet my desire for a 3 cord shed.

No tractor, however, so it'd have to built in place or have a lot of good friends to help shove it.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,160
Southern IN
I just did some quick (hopefully correct) calculations on your shed. I'm assuming stacks are 5ft high,
You can go higher than that..
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,727
Philadelphia
Hey mar,

yes, I can dig up the plans I have. I think I did a 3D model, but never bothered snapping any dimensions on it, since I designed it to use all standard 8 ft and 16 ft pieces, with nearly zero cutting or waste. The only thing on this entire design that might be a little beyond the average homeowner with a miter saw would be the way I notched the rafters, but you could simply use steel ties to avoid that (albeit with more cost).

Excluding those rafter notch cuts, the only tools I used were a miter saw for cutting the rafters and vertical studs to length, framing nailer, a roofing nailer, a utility knife for trimming shingles, a hand saw for flush cutting the diagonal cross braces, and some long bar clamps for drawing stubborn pressure treated lumber into square, as it’s often a little twisted. You could easily substitute a hammer and elbow grease for the roofing nailer, and an impact driver with 3” deck screws for the framing nailer, if you don’t have those.

I just so happen to have a freshly built empty one in my back yard now, and will be dry stacking and leveling block for its foundation piers today. I will get some photos for you, and can check my CAD stations next week to see what plans I may have saved.

I cut to 18”, and can stack the four onboard rows to 7’-4” h x 7’-1” w, and the four outboard rows to 7’ h x 7’-1” w. So that should be 312 + 298 cu.ft. = 4.76 cord per rack. Adjust as necessary for your lengths.
 
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mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
274
California redwood coast
Hey mar,

yes, I can dig up the plans I have. I think I did a 3D model, but never bothered snapping any dimensions on it, since I designed it to use all standard 8 ft and 16 ft pieces, with nearly zero cutting or waste. The only thing on this entire design that might be a little beyond the average homeowner with a miter saw would be the way I notched the rafters, but you could simply use steel ties to avoid that (albeit with more cost).

Excluding those rafter notch cuts, the only tools I used were a miter saw for cutting the rafters and vertical studs to length, framing nailer, a roofing nailer, a utility knife for trimming shingles, a hand saw for flush cutting the diagonal cross braces, and some long bar clamps for drawing stubborn pressure treated lumber into square, as it’s often a little twisted. You could easily substitute a hammer and elbow grease for the roofing nailer, and an impact driver with 3” deck screws for the framing nailer, if you don’t have those.

I just so happen to have a freshly built empty one in my back yard now, and will be dry stacking and leveling block for its foundation piers today. I will get some photos for you, and can check my CAD stations next week to see what plans I may have saved.

I cut to 18”, and can stack the four onboard rows to 7’-4” h x 7’-1” w, and the four outboard rows to 7’ h x 7’-1” w. So that should be 312 + 298 cu.ft. = 4.76 cord per rack. Adjust as necessary for your lengths.
Thanks! As I've read, every project deserves a new tool. During my swim and walk home yesterday, I was mentally going through your design and realized how your dimensions fit nicely into standard board lengths. Summer isn't far off, so maybe I can actually commit to finally liberating myself from my elaborate tarping system.

Clarification: swimming was not part of my commute home, although we definitely could use the rain.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,727
Philadelphia
Got some fresh photos of one. Will look for plans and cut list one night this week.

I also realized the quick numbers I gave in that last post were off, specifically the height of the outer rows, and even how high I can actually fill the middle rows. I didn’t have a tape measure with me to re-measure, but I had once figured on this rack being exactly 4 cords,amf I think that is closer to the truth.
 

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RandyBoBandy

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2015
1,060
Whitmore lake, MI
Ashful, why not metal roofing or clear corrugated roofing panels?
 

FTG-05

Feeling the Heat
Feb 8, 2014
382
TN
7'x7'x7' cubes or 7'x14'x7' rectangles. It all dries in 3-4 years down here in south TN:







Where the cells are full, that's 6 racks of wood tightly packed. All of it is hardwoods, a mix of Maple, Hackberry, Hickory , Walnut and some Poplar. I'm burning from the center of the corner stack in the first pic right now. Even wood that's been covered by 2-3 racks in front of it is nice and dry and burns extremely well. Next year will be 4 years old and be even better.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,727
Philadelphia
Ashful, why not metal roofing or clear corrugated roofing panels?
Clear corrugated is out for cosmetic reasons. I considered metal, but each face of the roof is only 4’ high x 16’ wide. The metal panels sold around here are all long, so I’d be cutting them into 4’ lengths, and they’re not evenly divisible into 16 feet widths, so I’d be ripping widths, too. I decided it was easier, and likely better looking, to just shingle it.
 
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mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
274
California redwood coast
Carpentry question: I notice that you have a lot of 2x4's put together instead of using 4x4's. I wondered what drove this decision: cost? ease of construction? I also wondered if this would provide a location for water to sit and eventually encourage rot?

One Google search led me to another possibility, that perhaps it was a structural decision. Just any FYI for others, here is what I found: (https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=92808)
" Anyway, I had originally planned to notch some 4x4s as legs. While I realize that sistering 2x4s is quite easier, I really like the look of a 2x4 frenched into a 4x4.

Now, I knew two 2x4s sistered would be stronger than a 4x4 since you have opposing grains, what I didn't realize is that 4x4s are actually cut from the core of the tree which is the weakest part of the tree (thanks Dad for the lesson in lumber). So a standard 4x4 is actually much weaker than two 2x4s side by side. I bring this up because i have read a lot on this blog and no one has ever mentioned this. The only thing I have seen mentioned about the difference in doing 4x4's vs 2x4s is the ease of sistering vs notching.

So, the moral of the story is sistered 2x4s are much stronger than 4x4s. Granted 4x4s when used vertically are still rather strong for most applications, but should never be used horizontally for something structural."

Anyhow, what was your reasoning?

Maybe the details of your shed will eventually become a sticky thread!
 
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MissMac

Minister of Fire
Dec 4, 2017
598
NW Ontario
My stacks are 5 deep in my wood shed, and at the end of 2 full summers in there, the largest splits buried in the middle are around 18-19%. The only issue i had was with some wood i left in rounds (white birch and ash) that weren't dry enough (lessons learned, especially re: the birch). Now everything that goes in my shed gets split at least once, and i have no issues with a 3 year rotation having dry wood. This is in sub-prime location ( east aspect, very little sun, backing onto bush).
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,727
Philadelphia
Anyhow, what was your reasoning?
I was hoping to gather the info to post tonight, but instead spent 90 minutes needlessly battling a stupid old iPad (without success) to put a few PDFs into the Books app. Damn, Apple can make some simple tasks needlessly complicated.

As to your question, assuming you mean the 16' stringers that make up the base, it came down to availability. Yes, the 2x4x16's are stronger for those base stringers, but the 4x4x16's are quicker and easier in this application. So, I designed for 4x4's, but have had trouble finding local stock on them, which is how the second unit ended up with sistered 2x4's in the base. With eight stringers, and a max span of 4 feet between piers, I'm hoping it doesn't matter much.

I figure my max cord weight is 5000 lb. of fresh oak, with each of those 4x4 strings carrying a maximum 625 lb. evenly distributed over the 4' length of the span. Perhaps if there's a structural engineer on the forum, they can translate to a "it's good" or "that's not good" conclusion for us. I just ran my best understanding of the numbers in Cornell's wood beam calculator (4' span, 9" average spacing, 238 lb/sq.ft. dead load), and it says single 2x6's or doubled 2x4's should be good. I'm gambling a bit on trading single 4x4's for doubled 2x4's on that one shed, I guess.

The vertical studs were always planned as 2x4's, with the outermost and innermost pairs fully-jacked, and the intermediate pairs with partial jacks (per a Highbeam or semipro recommendation). It's just easier to lap jack studs, the way they're attached, than to cut tenons on 4x4's.
 

RandyBoBandy

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2015
1,060
Whitmore lake, MI
Not that it matters now but you could have built your roof 17-17.5’ wide to give bigger overhangs on the gable ends. This would help keep more rain out of the wood and eliminate the need to rip the metal roofing. Then when cutting lengths you can hide your cut edge under the cap.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,727
Philadelphia
Not that it matters now but you could have built your roof 17-17.5’ wide to give bigger overhangs on the gable ends. This would help keep more rain out of the wood and eliminate the need to rip the metal roofing. Then when cutting lengths you can hide your cut edge under the cap.
True, but then I’d be cutting and plywood and wasting off an awful lot of 2x6, unless I designed the roof support differently than I did. The intentionally-undersized rafters are supported by eight 2x6x16’s that run east-west, similar time what is often seen in 18th century houses having mid-spam bracing under 4” or 6” rafters we would consider undersized by today’s standards, with four under each face of the roof. This is what allows me to get away with the 8’ free span and a shallow roof pitch under our maximum snow loads while keeping the roof height as low as possible, at least by my amateur calculations.

There are many possible improvements to this design, and every design is a compromise. But this one seems to hit the best balance of cost, manufacturability (I am making six of these), performance, and use or accessibility for me. I have 12 inches overhang on the eves, and about 8.5 inches on the gables.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,727
Philadelphia
Hey mar,

Hadn't forgotten about you, just been real busy. I did find the ordering info and cut lists, though. Along with the photos posted in posts #42 (original 4x4 base design) and #64 (doubled 2x4 base design), this should be pretty much all the info you need.

First, the buy list for the latest one. The original 4x4 base model would be the same, but sub (8) 4x4x16 for the (16) 2x4x16.
woodrack_img121.jpg

Here's the cut list for the studs. Some of the original calculated numbers are crossed out and replaced with more accurate measured numbers, based on the PT 2x4's being a little fatter than 1-1/2".
woodrack_img122.jpg

Finally, a detail of the rafter cuts. If you have a radial saw this is easy, or even a table saw with a rolling table or slider. Sort of that, I'd skip this step and just buy rafter ties to attach the rafters. I get away with 2x3's because the spacing between joists upon which the rafters rest is so small.

woodrack_img120.jpg

The total cost of each unit is almost exactly $1000, plus whatever base you put it on. I've been using concrete block, dry stacked on a leveled base of dry concrete mix. The concrete soaks up moisture from the ground and sets up within a few days, and I usually wait a few days before placing the wood rack on the piers, anyway.

edit: Everything except the rafters, the cut list of studs above, and the angled ends of the diagonal braces is used at full 8' or 16' length. All jacks are set at 5-1/2" from the end of each stud using a quick jig for locating them. This makes the rafters come out flush with the studs on top (except the outermost pair), and the studs overlapping with the inside face of the fore-aft base timbers for best strength.
 
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mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
274
California redwood coast
Hey mar,

Hadn't forgotten about you, just been real busy. I did find the ordering info and cut lists, though. Along with the photos posted in posts #42 (original 4x4 base design) and #64 (doubled 2x4 base design), this should be pretty much all the info you need.

First, the buy list for the latest one. The original 4x4 base model would be the same, but sub (8) 4x4x16 for the (16) 2x4x16.
View attachment 257561
Here's the cut list for the studs. Some of the original calculated numbers are crossed out and replaced with more accurate measured numbers, based on the PT 2x4's being a little fatter than 1-1/2".
View attachment 257562
Finally, a detail of the rafter cuts. If you have a radial saw this is easy, or even a table saw with a rolling table or slider. Sort of that, I'd skip this step and just buy rafter ties to attach the rafters. I get away with 2x3's because the spacing between joists upon which the rafters rest is so small.

View attachment 257560
The total cost of each unit is almost exactly $1000, plus whatever base you put it on. I've been using concrete block, dry stacked on a leveled base of dry concrete mix. The concrete soaks up moisture from the ground and sets up within a few days, and I usually wait a few days before placing the wood rack on the piers, anyway.

edit: Everything except the rafters, the cut list of studs above, and the angled ends of the diagonal braces is used at full 8' or 16' length. All jacks are set at 5-1/2" from the end of each stud using a quick jig for locating them. This makes the rafters come out flush with the studs on top (except the outermost pair), and the studs overlapping with the inside face of the fore-aft base timbers for best strength.
Thanks for the details. I'm already beginning to do research on framing nailers as a potential future self gift. For a beginner, can you explain what is meant by "bent 1& 8", "bent 2 & 7", etc. My Google searches failed. Also, how far apart are your bottom beams to support your 18" splits?

When considering shed design, one frequent question I have has been the bottom construction. I understand that you had very specific reasons (portability, code, etc) to build one that rests on blocks, rather than have piers in the ground. This also allows you to have a structural floor, rather than mess with pallets, although not ruled out by a design with piers.

So here's my question: If you didn't have code restrictions or the desire for portability, do you think you would have worked with piers?

I dug up some pictures from @Highbeam and his shed (too huge for me ) : https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/2017-18-blaze-king-performance-thread-part-3-everything-bk.167072/post-2269496

And then to go for longevity, use an pier footing.jpg above ground pier and post system such as show in the thumbnail drawing.

Once again, thank you for your opinions and info.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,727
Philadelphia
A “bent” is simply a framing section, in timber frame house, as in “girts and bents”. However, they usually use the term to describe a framing section in the plane of the gable wall (I.e. side elevation), whereas I’m using it to describe the eight frames that are each 16’ wide and held up with three studs, in the front elevation. Essentially, you cut six studs at each of those lengths, three for front face of roof and three for back face, and they support a 2x6 bean. That is your bent. The bents are counted from front to back, so that no. 1=8, and no. 4=5, if you follow me.

As to the base, I would not be building this way at all, if I didn’t need to make it portable. I’d just sink 6x6 PT posts, and build a roof on them. Then I’d use disposable pallets for the floor. The only reason I’m doing it this way is the portability requirement.
 
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