My Approach to covering wood piles (picture heavy)

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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,627
Northern NH
I was out with the camera this weekend and took some photos of my approach to covering wood piles. In all cases the wood on the faces of the stacks are screwed into the face of logs. I can get 3 to 4 feet of snow on top of these on occasion and have never had one fail. The roofing is screwed to the crosspieces. It also keep the stacks from falling over. I was behind on wood a year ago and went to double stack depth versus a triple stack to increase drying. The third stack with the green roof is the last of my hand split wood. The structure on the right is my permanent wood shed buttoned up for the winter. Its 4 poles and roof and my town taxes it as permanent structure so I went to the temporary roofs support by the wood piles as way of avoiding any more taxable structures. The permanent one has a tarp out front and tarp on the upwind end but the back and downwind side are open. I load it up with dry wood and usually wait until later in the winter to pull out of. Almost all the materials are left overs, scrounged or gotten on the cheap. They key is to have an air gap on top with some overhang around the side. Since the stacks are protected from splash, the wood tends not to get as dark on the ends. This is mostly beech with maple and white and yellow birch mixed in.

By the way the second photo is pile in progress. Note I have a pallet on top under the tin. Once I finish this stack I will top it off similarly, although I am running short of scrap wood.

stack covers.JPG stack cover 3.JPG stack cover 4.JPG stack cover 2.JPG s
 
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osagebow

Minister of Fire
Jan 29, 2012
1,682
Shenandoah Valley, VA
Good stuff man. Looks better than my corrugated and rolled roofing with "uglies" thrown on top. I occasionally have to redo it from wind or critters, that looks solid
 

RodM

New Member
Oct 28, 2020
20
NY
I know nothing about this topic but looks good to me. Any way to be town zoning or ordinances is always good way hahahaha.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,627
Northern NH
I am in high wind zone and occasionally would end up with stuff flying around even with "uglies" on it. Once we got some good snow pack that ended the wind issue.

BTW There is fresh stack of wood dumped next to corner of the pile. I actually hit the pile and leaned it over a bit when dumping the load and everything still stayed together. I usually just split some flat splits for the ends to box them in. In the past with hand split wood I usually put something on either end and ran a rope from one end to the other to hold up the ends.
 

WoodBurnerInWI

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2020
275
Madison, WI
Nice stacks! Looks very similar to my "shed", right down to the pallets for flooring and scrap metal for roofing material. I too use random objects to hold down my roof, I have enough old bricks, rocks and pieces of wood I won't burn inside so why not use them. I've also got the material screwed into the tops of the ground timbers that I used to frame the bins of my shed. I feel for what its worth it offers a bit of extra wind protection (otherwise most of the roof would go flying off into the neighbors yard!).
 

mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
702
ontario
I've made something similar....do you leave the metal on all year? I think I remember some folks saying they remove the top covering during the summer? I'm contemplating if I might close the sides in with vapor barrier in the summer to make a slow bake oven....my pile under one roof is about 10 chord and I think it may need some help to get it to season in 2-3 years as I have read that a stack this wide (6 splits) will not get enough air flow. The wood is all oak...90% red. I think I will get enough heat gain thru the roofing metal for the bake? Not really a solar kiln but close? Full all day sun where it is piled.
 

Osage

Feeling the Heat
Nov 3, 2011
285
kansas
For the wood I stack outside, I use combine draper belting. I'm retired but work part time at a John Deere dealership and get the old ones that have been replaced.
They are made of heavy rubber and measure about 40" x 30'. Wind won't blow them off normally.
 
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WoodBurnerInWI

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2020
275
Madison, WI
I've made something similar....do you leave the metal on all year? I think I remember some folks saying they remove the top covering during the summer? I'm contemplating if I might close the sides in with vapor barrier in the summer to make a slow bake oven....my pile under one roof is about 10 chord and I think it may need some help to get it to season in 2-3 years as I have read that a stack this wide (6 splits) will not get enough air flow. The wood is all oak...90% red. I think I will get enough heat gain thru the roofing metal for the bake? Not really a solar kiln but close? Full all day sun where it is piled.

Yup, the metal roof pieces are up year round. We've had some nasty weather here and there and I have been very happy to have the wood piles covered. Before I built my wood storage all the piles were stored out at my wife's grandparents farm and they were only tarp covered. The tarps failed of course and my wood piles got punky, although they dried great sitting out in the open fields.
 

MoDoug

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2018
583
NE Missouri
It's always good to see how others are storing and protecting their wood. I've been wondering how to cover these racks, other than tarps laying on them. I'm going to extend the rack in the foreground another 10 feet, and I'm sure I'll need to purchase whatever I use for the covering.

Edit; I also have one of those metal carports that I'm slowly taking over for wood storage, it was originally intended as a picnic shelter for family get togethers. So far, my wife hasn't called me out on it!

racks.JPG shelter.JPG
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,627
Northern NH
I've made something similar....do you leave the metal on all year? I think I remember some folks saying they remove the top covering during the summer? I'm contemplating if I might close the sides in with vapor barrier in the summer to make a slow bake oven....my pile under one roof is about 10 chord and I think it may need some help to get it to season in 2-3 years as I have read that a stack this wide (6 splits) will not get enough air flow. The wood is all oak...90% red. I think I will get enough heat gain thru the roofing metal for the bake? Not really a solar kiln but close? Full all day sun where it is piled.
Yes I leave my metal on all year. To me the air space underneath makes very big difference. Obviously in winter, snow melt would normally go down the stacks without the metal or some other waterproof layer on top. I have had frozen stacks in the past and it really bites when I need wood and hit a big chunk of frozen logs. They may be dry inside but I usually have to thaw them and dry them out for a week or two in the basement.
 
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Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,032
Massachusetts
It's always good to see how others are storing and protecting their wood. I've been wondering how to cover these racks, other than tarps laying on them. I'm going to extend the rack in the foreground another 10 feet, and I'm sure I'll need to purchase whatever I use for the covering.

Edit; I also have one of those metal carports that I'm slowly taking over for wood storage, it was originally intended as a picnic shelter for family get togethers. So far, my wife hasn't called me out on it!

View attachment 271308 View attachment 271309

I stack my wood this exact same way except single depth. Im running out of my alloted room in the yard though. Do you find you get good enough drying double depth?

I fear for my set up that one side will get significantly less sun. My stacks are on the edge of my property with one side facing the woods, the other the big open yard. So the back stack in a double setup wouldn't see much direct sun, but still get decent wind.

1607280391313.jpg


I've got room for one more stack to the right in this pic. Any further left and it's full shade so that's out.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,311
Downeast Maine
I find the wind does more to dry the wood than the sun does. I can hang my clothes out to dry when it's 15 df outside and they dry in a day if there's good wind and no precipitation.
 
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mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
702
ontario
I find the wind does more to dry the wood than the sun does. I can hang my clothes out to dry when it's 15 df outside and they dry in a day if there's good wind and no precipitation.
Yes, but put those clothes in a oven and its done that much faster.....in my case I have a big ball of wet comforters per say . Its a very good spot but I think I might be too wide of a stack 6splits (8') and although it's a good windy spot, I doubt enough air will get to the middle...
 

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MoDoug

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2018
583
NE Missouri
I stack my wood this exact same way except single depth. Im running out of my alloted room in the yard though. Do you find you get good enough drying double depth?

I fear for my set up that one side will get significantly less sun. My stacks are on the edge of my property with one side facing the woods, the other the big open yard. So the back stack in a double setup wouldn't see much direct sun, but still get decent wind.

View attachment 271331

I've got room for one more stack to the right in this pic. Any further left and it's full shade so that's out.
I think I get reasonably good drying, although my stacks are on the wrong side of the trees. They're in more shade than I would like. There's about 10 inches between each rack, and with the height off the ground, I think it gets good air flow, they're oriented W/E so they get the west breeze down the middle. If I pre-planned better they would be out in the main yard, but it'll work out.

Looks like the family is out enjoying the snow, that's always good to see.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,032
Massachusetts
Oh yeah everyone loves the snow. My stacks are exposed to the west so they get the best pm sun and the prevailing wind hits them broadside. The down side is that the side facing the woods doesn't get much sun. I think baking one side and the wind is good enough though.

Thats why I'm leery about double stacking. The stack between the woods and front stack will get almost no sun other than breakthrough the woods/front stack.

This is my first year seriously burning so I need to get ahead fast. However I'm also running out of primo space. Maybe I convert to doubles after I get ahead more. I am torn.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,311
Downeast Maine
Oh yeah everyone loves the snow. My stacks are exposed to the west so they get the best pm sun and the prevailing wind hits them broadside. The down side is that the side facing the woods doesn't get much sun. I think baking one side and the wind is good enough though.

Thats why I'm leery about double stacking. The stack between the woods and front stack will get almost no sun other than breakthrough the woods/front stack.

This is my first year seriously burning so I need to get ahead fast. However I'm also running out of primo space. Maybe I convert to doubles after I get ahead more. I am torn.
More wood put away is better even if the drying area isn't "prime"
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,627
Northern NH
My guess is stacking is far more important in the early drying stages and less so as the wood gets towards final dryness. My wood shed is my final drying spot before burning. it has a crappy location for sun and wind but nice in the winter when I load up my bulkhead. I put in three rows deep and intermix double and triple length logs in the piles to maintain 6" of separation. its seems to do fine with end stage wood. Right next to the wood shed is a bonus pile (that is the one with green roofing over it. That is three deep and gets green wood. Even with a bit of air space between rows its quite noticeable that the center row dries slower. I am ahead enough on my wood that I just skip it when I fill my wood shed in the fall until its dry.

On the rows in front of my house I do a modified two row stack. its not obvious from the photos but the two rows are spaced out about 10 to 12 inches at the bottom and then I taper them up until the logs are touching up top. On occasion I throw "uglies" in the gap between the rows It makes the piles far more stable especially when I weave in some long stuff between the rows. Then again with record dry summer like last summer I expect wood just piled up randomly probably got real dry.

I have done single row in the past on top of gravel. it was an east west stack in full sun with good air flow. It checked up real quick and by the next spring it was ready for final drying. The big caveat is that I was burning mostly maple birch and on occasion ash. They all dry quicker than beech and since my new wood lot is beech I need to get a few years ahead to account for the slower drying time or start building solar kilns
 
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Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,032
Massachusetts
That I agree with @SpaceBus. Im just concerned about meeting my next wintefs quota without supplementing.

Maybe just double stacking now is best though. Get way ahead and if I have to supplement next year so be it. 2022 forward ill be golden.

That or just stack in the shade and let the wind hit. That is always an option too. At least its drying versus not.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,311
Downeast Maine
That I agree with @SpaceBus. Im just concerned about meeting my next wintefs quota without supplementing.

Maybe just double stacking now is best though. Get way ahead and if I have to supplement next year so be it. 2022 forward ill be golden.

That or just stack in the shade and let the wind hit. That is always an option too. At least its drying versus not.

Exactly what I was attempting to communicate. I stack my wood wherever I can since we have very little flat space. I was using several large trees around the property for end posts, but the recent storms brought some serious winds and a few stacks went down. If we can get a nice hard freeze this winter we can skid some logs and get the mill production back up. Perhaps I'll be able to squeeze in a wood shed, or at least a wood shed lean to built on a tool shed.
 
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MoDoug

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2018
583
NE Missouri
Oh yeah everyone loves the snow. My stacks are exposed to the west so they get the best pm sun and the prevailing wind hits them broadside. The down side is that the side facing the woods doesn't get much sun. I think baking one side and the wind is good enough though.

Thats why I'm leery about double stacking. The stack between the woods and front stack will get almost no sun other than breakthrough the woods/front stack.

This is my first year seriously burning so I need to get ahead fast. However I'm also running out of primo space. Maybe I convert to doubles after I get ahead more. I am torn.

This is my first year seriously burning also, and storing wood, I underestimated my original needs on wood, and I'm grabbing what I can while it's available. I find myself in the same situation as you, I had to scramble to add storage space, and I still have an extension to add. A lot of it is white oak and hickory, so I'm looking at 2023 and 2024 for this seasons harvest. I'll have enough for next year, so it doesn't need to hurry. With that said, I'm seriously thinking of adding a rack out in the sunny side of the yard and rigging it up to kiln. I never suspected that a wood stove would take control of my life...

Keep pressing on, keep gathering and adding on. It's kind of like money in the bank for the future, at least that's what I keep telling myself. :)
 
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Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,032
Massachusetts
I just love the whole process. Its cathartic, much more rewarding than simply turning up a thermostat and paying a bill.

I think the verdict is clear. Ill add as many single stacks as I can where I can then start double stacking instead of waiting for space to clear. Never say no to more wood! Just don't tell the wife! !!!
 
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MoDoug

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2018
583
NE Missouri
One more thing, that @peakbagger mentioned is keeping the double stacks stable. When we have company, it concerns me a lot that kids may start climbing on the wood racks, and the thought on one tumbling over scares me. I cut some landscaping timbers, really just longer logs would be cheaper, and add them to the racks in a few places, they tie the double racks together and help to stabilize them. I put them about 2/3 of the way up, so there's a fair amount of weight on top of them.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,032
Massachusetts
So what you're saying is leave little/no airspace between the stacks and then cut some 32" pieces of whatever and add them in the stacks in a few places towards the middle/top for stability, right? That makes sense. The weight pushing down will stabilize the stack.

Regarding the covering - I use tarps that I cut up to custom sizes on my single stacks. That idea obviously won't work with a double without redoing the tarps but quite honestly tarps suck. Where does everyone get all this sheet metal I always see? I'm in the middle of suburbia I only ever see that on or near farms.

I actually really like @peakbaggers idea of just using PT 2x4s and screwing them into some of the wood to hold up a roof. Cheap, easy to set up, and removable. I can use use PT plywood for a roof. Maybe get fancy and shingle it one day as it'll be reusable.

@peakbagger- what do you do when you start using the stack? The roof will start to be come unstable when you start taking weight off the logs the 2x4s are attached to. Just tarp it?

With my setup actually I could probably attach the roof to the outer 2x4s holding the stacks up and/or the landscape timbers beneath the stack. I can use use some extra timber to give me some thickness to mount them. That would be more permanent. Then I can just use 1 or 2 x 2x4s screwed into wood that are temp supports. Kind of a MacGyver shed if you will.

I could even integrate Doug's idea and actually attach basic 2x4 supports to the roof supports through the stack horizontally. That would give the whole structure a lot of stability. The only issue I forsee with all of this is what happens when the stacks start to get a little low. My whole system is supported by its own weight. The weight of the roof might be enough to keep it together. If not, maybe I have some cinder blocks on standby to put on the timbers when it starts to get low.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,627
Northern NH
My normal approach is my wood goes from my stacks to the wood shed then to my basement. My wood shed only holds a bit over 2 cords so I need a third cord off to the side. My bulkhead holds about 1/3 of cord up to 2/3rd if I want to stack it so I normally "cheat"about a 3rd of the cord out from under the roof by pulling splits that are not attached to the wood straps to do the first fill of my bulkhead and then take the five minutes to remove the tin and boards and remove more until the bulkhead is full. There is usually about a 2 foot high pile left and I either lay the metal on top of just rescrew the boards in. That is where I am right now. I figure I will be cleaning out what is left this week and then its time to raid the wood shed for the rest of the winter. I saw a accuweather report hinting of polar vortex heading south the end of the month after this warm spell so thats when I want the woodshed to make things quick.
 

mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
702
ontario
The roof is essentially temporary, don't over think it too much. Sheet metal would be much easier than plywood and shingles. The 25' of roof i put up literally tool me maybe 45mins to construct and all material can be reused for years. If you used the clear corrugated stuff it could really make a nice solar kiln.....im going to mess around with the the regular sheet metal and see what happens in an attempt to speed up my pile