How to Keep Oak Rounds from rotting

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New Member
Nov 27, 2023
New York
I just got some nice oak delivered to me. I’m going to start spitting and stacking soon but I do not think I am going to get through all of this anytime soon. (I split by hand). How should I store these rounds to keep them from rotting? I stacked the 10” and smaller diameter rounds on a pallet but can’t stack the big rounds because I am not a heavy weight champion. I was thinking if I at least put them so the bark is on the ground I will be better off. Previously I had some large Oak rounds that sat with the cut end touching the ground, over the coarse of a few years they seemed to soak up water through the ground like wicks. I plan to not let this pile sit like I did the last and maybe get through it in 4-5 months.

Bark side down is a good idea or you can get some 4 X 4's and roll the big rounds on them to get them off the ground a bit.
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Agree with Garbanzo62: Storing them on off the ground (on pallets or 4x4s) would help quite a bit. Try rolling them on.

If they are still too heavy, use a lever. A peavey or even just a 2x4 or two might be enough.
2 x 4’s great idea. Buy PT. Pallets you will have to lift them.
A good cant hook will let you move those rounds around or get them on pallets. I have a Woodchuck Dual. Also a cheap one from Northern Tool that is not nearly as good.
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A good cant hook will let you move those rounds around or get them on pallets. I have a Woodchuck Dual. Also a cheap one from Northern Tool that is not nearly as good.
Yup if the OP has one.
Looks like red oak which tends to rot faster than some of the other oaks. Definitely get off the ground if you can. If not, keep larger rounds on ground and stack smaller rounds on top.
Split the big ones down to manageable size so you can move them.
If you check around local lumber yards they may still have discounted unsold landscape timbers from last year. They are treated and effectively replace a 4x4. Last fall I scored a bunch for around $5 ea.
All good suggestions. I like the idea of splitting each large round into half’s or quarters then stacking those. I also have some long 2x8’s that have been sitting outside. May try to roll them on those so at least they are off of the ground for now. Think I’ll do a combo of a few suggestions and try to spilt the rounds in a timely matter so I can get them stacked covered and start their seasoning.
Split them up. The bigger rounds will split easier working from the edges inward. I'd spend a day or 2 working the pile by hand splitting. The harder rounds with knots and unions can be set aside. Finish them off with a hydraulic splitter rental.

That's what I do here. I swing away on the easier stuff and save a pile for a rental day.
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This is what I have done in a pinch. Get some Poplar, throw it on the ground (sacrifice it), and throw the Oak on top of it. If the Poplar goes punky, oh well, it kept the Oak off of the ground until it dried or could be split.
Everyone has made some really good suggestions, but if you get through it in 4-5 months like you said there is no concern about oak rotting. Store it bark side down and you will be fine. If you have sacrificial lumber or pallets, even better if you can use those... but I sure wouldn't go out of my way to get stuff to store it on. I would spend that time splitting instead. Red oak splits beautifully so you can make a lot of progress quickly.
Just split it. If you put in an hour or 2 every day you'll be through it sooner than you think.
Agreed with the comments above, I got a nice pyramid of 8-10" rounds on a pallet and rolled some 20" rounds onto a long 2x8 and stacked some smaller rounds on top of those. I am happy to have some logs off the ground and will save those for last. I will start splitting the others up soon. I am planning on putting in a 1/2 hours work 3-4 days a week. . I treat wood splitting as my workout.
Yep, best method is to just split it. It's not going to rot over the course of 6 months. You've got plenty of time.
I just finished some red oak that was cut to length but unsplit. It was up on pallets or sleepers 4-6" off the ground. 2 years in the yard and some minimal punk/rot on the perimeter of the rounds, bark-on. Don't sweat anything less than 1 year, especially if you can get it up off the grass/ground.
Got through three large rounds at lunch. These are splitting much nicer then the oak rounds I was previously splitting (those sat on the ground for 2 years).