My first holzhausen build

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.
Sep 2, 2020
137
UP, Michigan, USA
My third winter on the Keweenaw is almost over (yes, I know it’s almost May) and we have burned almost 5 cords of wood. I finally found a reliable wood cutter that supplies me with good maple at a good price (for the area) so I ordered two years worth. Now I need to stack 10 cords for seasoning. I’ve decided to build holzhausen’s. My plan is to build a cover of corrugated roofing material to shed ALL the rain. I may build one with the traditional top to do a comparison, we’ll see.

They are being built on deep gravel so drainage is handled. I initially was going to use ironwood poles for the foundation because we have tons and need to thin it out at some point. However, I also have a few 2x4s in the garage so I decided to use those instead. I’ll thin out the ironwood some other time. I’m building two that are 8 1/2 feet around and 5 or so feet high. However high it needs to be to hold 5 cords.

So, here was the initial base:
933CD8C3-0B95-431C-B4BC-DD013FE1C26C.jpeg

The long boards are 4 feet and the short are 2 feet long. At the perimeter there is about 16 inches between the ends.

The fist thing I noticed when I began to add the 2nd layer is that it was tilting in too much. I little is good but this seemed excessive.
92F229BA-7DEC-429A-B1DC-B530DD84BC28.jpeg


So, I added another set of boards to support the inner edge of the 2nd layer to decrease the tilt.
AF7A04CA-B2B5-4E96-8712-D1DC501F17EC.jpeg


Much better:
13C523B3-F835-4CA2-8317-FAB98AF33288.jpeg


I am an old man so my back told me I was done for the afternoon. I’ll post more as I have progress. 891ED9BF-5CBA-410D-B1D4-F234219BDC44.jpeg
 
Last edited:
Sep 2, 2020
137
UP, Michigan, USA
What is a "holzhausen"? From your images I imagine it's a certain way to stack wood?
Actually it has been around for a while. First used widely in Europe. The Idea is that the round shape takes up less room and holds more wood. The wood seasons well because there is airflow through the stack and the top is made so it shed rain. I’ll see if this claim is true this fall w. hen I bring in half of the wood for the winter burn.

The walls are made so they lean in slightly which makes each piece of wood push against the ones next to it. This is supposed to be more stable than a straight stack without requiring any bracing or external support, so cheaper to do.

Interestingly, I have found, in the 3 hours I have been building this one, that the center holds more than the outer wall. This is significant because you don’t need to stack the center. You just toss in anything that doesn’t stack easily. This makes the job faster and easier.
 

VintageGal

Member
Mar 25, 2022
91
NorCal
Actually it has been around for a while. First used widely in Europe. The Idea is that the round shape takes up less room and holds more wood. The wood seasons well because there is airflow through the stack and the top is made so it shed rain. I’ll see if this claim is true this fall w. hen I bring in half of the wood for the winter burn.

The walls are made so they lean in slightly which makes each piece of wood push against the ones next to it. This is supposed to be more stable than a straight stack without requiring any bracing or external support, so cheaper to do.

Interestingly, I have found, in the 3 hours I have been building this one, that the center holds more than the outer wall. This is significant because you don’t need to stack the center. You just toss in anything that doesn’t stack easily. This makes the job faster and easier.
It seems very clever and rather labor-intensive. I wonder if just tossing your wood higher and higher on a pile is similar concept?
 
Sep 2, 2020
137
UP, Michigan, USA
It seems very clever and rather labor-intensive. I wonder if just tossing your wood higher and higher on a pile is similar concept?
less labor intensive, more compact, contains more wood and more efficient seasoning than a loose pile.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VintageGal

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,970
Iowa
Might be worth watching this vid.

 

VintageGal

Member
Mar 25, 2022
91
NorCal
less labor intensive, more compact, contains more wood and more efficient seasoning than a loose pile.
Certainly more attractive! But time is a factor as well. I burn about 2 cords each winter. It's a pita stacking them in the wood shed for me at 62. Bending over and standing up repeatedly is tough on my back.
 
Sep 2, 2020
137
UP, Michigan, USA
I took a day off from stacking yesterday and started work on it today just before lunch then knocked off at 4:30.
B3EBABBC-D207-42B9-854C-59EBAABF0EBA.jpeg


AE2F2C4B-D288-4133-A806-4A3BB6F3024D.jpeg


A6427422-1C0C-454E-81C2-78532A088EBA.jpeg


It is going quicker than my normal. I think it’s because I am only stacking half the wood. The center takes a surprising amount of wood to fill it. I stopped throwing only the uglies in because it wasn’t getting filled enough.

The sides have a slight inward lean. but I don’t think it is enough. I’ll be making two this season so the other one will be better. It will be interesting to see if the first one collapses or not…
 
Last edited:

Prof

Minister of Fire
Oct 18, 2011
643
Western PA
I took a day off from stacking yesterday and started work on it today just before lunch then knocked off at 4:30.
View attachment 295269

View attachment 295270

View attachment 295271

It is going quicker than my normal. I think it’s because I am only stacking half the wood. The center takes a surprising amount of wood to fill it. I stopped throwing only the uglies in because it wasn’t getting filled enough.

The sides have a slight inward lean. but I don’t think it is enough. I’ll be making two this season so the other one will be better. It will be interesting to see if the first one collapses or not…
Nice work. You are right, a little more taper might help. I suspect you will be fine. This is the only way I have stacked my wood for about 5 yrs. The only time one collapsed was one that I built that was 10 ft in diameter and 10 ft high. It was over-kill, but more of a novelty. Now I build them right around the size you are working with. I honestly don't know if they season wood quicker. They certainly take a little more time to build than a straight stack, but they definitely look nicer (at least to me). I find that there are fewer rodent nests--probably somehow connected to the multiple snake skins I find in mine. Also, there just doesn't seem to be anywhere for the water to lay in the things--everything is sloped in some way. I've moved on to putting down a layer of thick sand stone (3-4") arranged in a circle. I have literally tons of stones on my property. Easy to pick, but I'm considering buying a jackhammer, since a simple 18 inch hole can take a half of a day to dig with a bar and shovel. I figure I'll just keep building the holzhausens in the same places from year to year. It keeps everything off the ground this way and I have to think less from year to year.
 
Sep 2, 2020
137
UP, Michigan, USA
Nice work. You are right, a little more taper might help. I suspect you will be fine. This is the only way I have stacked my wood for about 5 yrs. The only time one collapsed was one that I built that was 10 ft in diameter and 10 ft high. It was over-kill, but more of a novelty. Now I build them right around the size you are working with. I honestly don't know if they season wood quicker. They certainly take a little more time to build than a straight stack, but they definitely look nicer (at least to me). I find that there are fewer rodent nests--probably somehow connected to the multiple snake skins I find in mine. Also, there just doesn't seem to be anywhere for the water to lay in the things--everything is sloped in some way. I've moved on to putting down a layer of thick sand stone (3-4") arranged in a circle. I have literally tons of stones on my property. Easy to pick, but I'm considering buying a jackhammer, since a simple 18 inch hole can take a half of a day to dig with a bar and shovel. I figure I'll just keep building the holzhausens in the same places from year to year. It keeps everything off the ground this way and I have to think less from year to year.
How high do you usually build yours? How many cords do they hold?

And, yeah, I know what you mean re digging holes. For me it’s round field stones. More stones than soil. Must have really disappointed the settlers who came to farm.
 

Prof

Minister of Fire
Oct 18, 2011
643
Western PA
How high do you usually build yours? How many cords do they hold?

And, yeah, I know what you mean re digging holes. For me it’s round field stones. More stones than soil. Must have really disappointed the settlers who came to farm.
I stack mine about 6 ft tall and estimate that they hold about 2 cords. I burn 2 of them a heating season. I let the heat pump carry some of the load in shoulder season and solely heat with wood in Dec-March.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VintageGal

thewoodlands

Minister of Fire
Aug 25, 2009
14,599
Foothills of The Adirondacks
I took a day off from stacking yesterday and started work on it today just before lunch then knocked off at 4:30.
View attachment 295269

View attachment 295270

View attachment 295271

It is going quicker than my normal. I think it’s because I am only stacking half the wood. The center takes a surprising amount of wood to fill it. I stopped throwing only the uglies in because it wasn’t getting filled enough.

The sides have a slight inward lean. but I don’t think it is enough. I’ll be making two this season so the other one will be better. It will be interesting to see if the first one collapses or not…
Nice work @Sean in the woods .
 
  • Like
Reactions: clancey
Sep 2, 2020
137
UP, Michigan, USA
Finished staking the first delivery of 2 cords. 8 more cords to go, as they come in.

3DE5F51C-16C6-46E1-A42F-7E2454E79438.jpeg
 
  • Like
Reactions: VintageGal and Prof

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
Looks good!
However, (and I apologize for not scrolling all the way up to see if you did mention it), the top of this holzhausen does not shed well like this. I've seen ones that have the splits there configured like shingles to shed the water.

Were you going to put something on top to avoid rain draining in the pile?
 
Sep 2, 2020
137
UP, Michigan, USA
Looks good!
However, (and I apologize for not scrolling all the way up to see if you did mention it), the top of this holzhausen does not shed well like this. I've seen ones that have the splits there configured like shingles to shed the water.

Were you going to put something on top to avoid rain draining in the pile?
Yep, I will be roofing it. It won’t be raining for a couple weeks so I have some time to make a decent roof. I was thinking of something that is completely waterproof and breaths and stands up to our 45 MPH gusts. And I want to do it as cheaply as possible.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
There's a lady here that uses dollar store transparent shower curtains (on her stacks, not holzhausen). You'd have to fix them (bungee cords?).

Long island has some strong winds too.
 
Sep 2, 2020
137
UP, Michigan, USA
There's a lady here that uses dollar store transparent shower curtains (on her stacks, not holzhausen). You'd have to fix them (bungee cords?).

Long island has some strong winds too.
I was thinking along those lines too. I have old tarps I could cut to fit but I was thinking that the underside would drip condensation back onto the top layer of the stack. So then I started thinking about corrugated roofing on a frame tilted so the condensation runs off the edges to drip outside the stack…
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
2,330
Colorado
I really like that and you can grab wood from any direction and I would put a roof over it like you planned...good for you...clancey
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,204
Northern NH
IMO If you a roofing it, leave a air gap between the top of the stack and the roofing. It increases air flow above and through the stack.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VintageGal
Sep 2, 2020
137
UP, Michigan, USA
IMO If you a roofing it, leave a air gap between the top of the stack and the roofing. It increases air flow above and through the stack.
That’s what I was thinking. Still trying to figure it out though.
 

bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
709
Utah, NJ
A couple clear shower curtain liners the heavier kind. Maybe with a few spacer logs on top of the pile for air gap spacers, Then a couple logs ontop of the liner to weigh it down. Them a bungie cord wrapped around the side to secure the liners from blowing away. Basically making a greenhouse roof for cheap quick and easy.

you can use the holes in the liners to tie them together.

if u really want it to be even better you can kick out the top row a bit to create an overhang to help shed water away and lessen rain from hitting the sides of the stack.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Sean in the woods

tadmaz

Feeling the Heat
Dec 21, 2017
497
Erin, WI
8 mil black, UV resistant, 8-foot wide plastic sheeting from Menards. 100ft length is something like $65 and you can do about 10 holzhausens with it. Stack uglies on top. Snow/ice is easy to get off.
 
Sep 2, 2020
137
UP, Michigan, USA
8 mil black, UV resistant, 8-foot wide plastic sheeting from Menards. 100ft length is something like $65 and you can do about 10 holzhausens with it. Stack uglies on top. Snow/ice is easy to get off.
Good find. I’ll keep that in mind.

I remember that I have several old tarps that I put away till I had a use for them. I think I’ll use them to make roofs for this set of holzhausens. I’ll use poles to keep the tarps off the wood.
 
Sep 2, 2020
137
UP, Michigan, USA
I got the second delivery of wood today and started on the second Holzhausen. For this one, I decided to put the base splits directly on the gravel. The gravel should drain it but it won’t have as much air flow. I’ll compare the two holzhausens in the fall.
EB1F0A30-DF10-41C8-989C-40C48E24465B.jpeg
 
  • Like
Reactions: EbS-P