Wood storage and processing area layout

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Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
Carried over from another thread, in which some were trying to figure out room for wood storage and processing on smaller lots.

I have all of mine presently condensed down to less than 1/8th acre (really, more like 1/10th acre), for 16 cords CSS'd, plus processing and tractor maneuvering room, plus another 20'ish cords in logs, with a 15' wide thru-path along one end of the area for truck and trailer, and a 20' wide exit out the far end for hauling wagons of wood up to the house or logs in from neighboring properties.

Sorry in advance for the crude sketch, but it's a busy week, and I didn't want to take more than a few minutes to do this. It was measured in "paces", with my stride being almost exactly 1 yard = 3 feet, so assume grid scale is 1 yard. The boxes labeled "4 cords" are portable sheds, 6' x 16' footprint, about 7.5' interior height at the soffets. The splitter (not shown) gets moved around to wherever I'm stacking. The sheds are accessible from both sides, 2 rows deep from each side, which is why I have enough room on the ends of the row to swing a tractor + trailer around from the "front" aisle to the "rear" aisle. The circles with + in the middle are large/mature trees, which provide a half-decent shade canopy when I'm splitting in summer.

My processing occurs in the space between the 15' log piles and the sheds, and works like this:
  1. Park splitter in front of shed into which I'll be stacking
  2. Roll log off pile (these piles are 15' x 10' x 6' high)
  3. Buck log to 18" lengths
  4. Roll rounds into bucket of front-end loader, move to splitter, park with bucket at hip height next to splitter
  5. Swing rounds out of loader bucket and onto splitter beam
  6. Split, and let splits accumulate in log catcher on side of splitter facing shed
  7. When catcher is full, unload it into the shed
  8. Repeat, ad nauseum

wood processing area.jpg

Feel free to comment on my layout (although it won't likely change after so many years), or to show your own layout to help others. If you're just getting your own figured out, post any questions you may have.
I'm getting dead trees from the woods so I just cut the rounds out there, then haul them in the quad trailer to whichever row I'm gonna stack them in. Rows contain woods that are similar in output, e.g. the high-output row might have White Oak, BL, Red Mulberry, Hickory, Persimmon. Mid-output would be White Ash, Red Oak, hard Maple. Lower output, Red Maple, Cherry, Hackberry, Elm.
Red Elm, which I get a good bit of, might go in a medium output row even though it's not quite as dense as Red Oak or White Ash.
Side of my house where it used to be wasted space, it's roughly 6 feet wide by I dunno Maybe 40 feet long. That's where I do all my bucking and stacking. Right now I have 2 pallet wood sheds full and will ve adding more soon.
When I was felling my own trees in the state forest I would buck the logs into rounds out in the woods, and drive home with 16" rounds in my truck bed. The 'yard' ( not a lawn) on the west side of my house is 11 feet wide with about 40 feet from the house to the curb, and the dimension of the house is another 30 feet. So 11x70 total available from the curb to the back lawn. My BBQ grills are beside the house on that side cutting into the eleven feet width.

At the time I was working 5 eight hour shifts and had a half ton pickup truck. My felling area was 17 miles one way. The general idea was to drop trees Saturday morning, get all the rounds home over the weekend, split and stack through the weeknights after work and repeat.

First step was to save the first 20 feet from the curb to back my truck in, unload rounds behind the truck, have the splitter more or less at the corner of the house and then pile splits behind the splitter at the side of the house. Then stack the splits out back.

I was also taking call for work I think about one weekend in five at the time. When I had a call weekend coming up I would focus on getting rounds onto the property so I could split and stack at home while on call- no cell service in my cutting area. And there were times I would be out in the woods after work on weeknights dropping trees and schlepping rounds.

I think the two most important things are to have plenty of top covered off the ground seasoning space to stack into, and just keep plugging away. If you are running out of room to park your truck in, get splitting. If you are running out of room to get to the BBQ grill, get stacking.

I used to go out to the woods with 5 sharp chains, but with years of practice I went to the woods with two spares and sharpen the chain already on the saw during hydration/pee breaks.

If you are literally actively working on it, running 6-9-12 cords annually on 11x70 feet for processing is doable. Some mornings you will need ibuprofen and a nap as actively working on it, and that is OK. There will be Saturday mornings when you want to be dropping trees but need to be stacking, and that is OK too.

For me, in my 50s, processing 8 cords of softwood in under 800sqft from 15 miles away in the spring to burn this winter is a big deal, limited to a half ton truck and an electric splitter. I don't see one man working alone going much over ten cords annually without some gasoline powered equipment. Like a telehandler. Or a skidsteer with a grapple on it. Or a tractor with a trailer. Or a one ton truck with a trailer and an electric winch on the trailer.

Now that I am officially pushing 60 this month, I pay money to younger men to go out into the woods themselves, and they drop 16" splits onto my side yard.

At the end of the day, look at how many times you are touching each piece of wood, and figure out how to make that number smaller.
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  1. buck log to 18" length
What is the allowable error on this dimension?

I liked 15.5 to 16.25 inches when I was bucking my own logs. When I was a younger man I would plan on donating 1-2 cords annually to Love Inc or similar, and 16 inch was the coin of the realm.

For a BK30 box I can see bucking at 18 inches, but on a curvy log there would be some short hairs standing up when I was making the chalk marks.
What is the allowable error on this dimension?

I liked 15.5 to 16.25 inches when I was bucking my own logs. When I was a younger man I would plan on donating 1-2 cords annually to Love Inc or similar, and 16 inch was the coin of the realm.

For a BK30 box I can see bucking at 18 inches, but on a curvy log there would be some short hairs standing up when I was making the chalk marks.
I think I can fit up to 20” into the stove, but it sits up on door sill, not down into belly. I use an 18” stick and a top handle saw (no chalk) for marking, and have never had an issue with splits that don’t fit, but I only keep straight wood. Anything curvy gets left in the woods or tossed in my uglies pile for the outdoor fire pit.
That's not very 2023 of you Ash. ;)
I'll admit I'm an ecological moron, but I have heard many here make the argument that we're robbing the forest of a critical element of it's natural life cycle. So, maybe I'm all the greener, for leaving branches and crotches behind?

edit: Sorry, I'm slow. Just got it. ;lol
It is a hard thing to think about. Rotting wood gives off methane, roughly 4x as bad for global warming as the CO2 produced by burning shorts and uglies in the shoulder seasons.

But we also have a responsibility, recognized or not, to be good stewards of the dirt. The dirt wants rotted wood to make humus from, the atmosphere (currently) prefers CO2 to methane. It is a disputable matter right now, thank you for not sending your offcuts to a landfill either way.