Wood storage- big lessons learned

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Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,578
Southeast CT
Hope this post can be helpful to other, as well as myself. I’ve run into a fair portion of my wood this year being wet and performing poor in the stove. This is 2 yr old wood (not oak) .
I’ve been at this about 8 years now and really thought I knew exactly what I was doing. How did this happen?
Well, my wood area has become more congested with accumulating more and more wood. This past year, I was able to CSS about 2 yrs worth alone. I figure I have about 4 yrs worth. Perfect. All except I’m a big limited on space. At first I thought it was a fluke that I was running into some Norway maple that was oddly heavy when picked up.
In short, although top covered, my strategy of double stacking, along with tippy stack, partial collapses, and hardly being able to move amongst the stacks to get wood- has reached the point of not working. Cant tell you how frustrated at myself I am.
Checked the chimney today. Not horrible but could use a sweep soon (dry brown coffee soot). I’ll try to do it tomorrow.
My plan going forward is- not acquire any new wood until it make sense to do so. I will be utilizing single row stacks from now on, phasing out the current double rows. This should keep wood in better condition and allow easier access to stacks.
Hopefully this can help some of you chasing the 3+yr plan. It’s a wise goal- just don’t compromise good wood storage principles to obsessively get more wood like I have.
 

NickW

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2019
560
SE WI
Too late to fix my hoarding tendencies... but I'm able to keep 3' between my E/W double stacks on the south side of the garage. Switched from N/S to E/W this year. Went from 2 cords left outside after moving this years 4 cord supply indoors to around 9 cord and counting css outside.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,378
Ottawa, ON
Good points to consider if you have limited wood storage space.
 
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Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
Hope this post can be helpful to other, as well as myself. I’ve run into a fair portion of my wood this year being wet and performing poor in the stove. This is 2 yr old wood (not oak) .
I’ve been at this about 8 years now and really thought I knew exactly what I was doing. How did this happen?
Well, my wood area has become more congested with accumulating more and more wood. This past year, I was able to CSS about 2 yrs worth alone. I figure I have about 4 yrs worth. Perfect. All except I’m a big limited on space. At first I thought it was a fluke that I was running into some Norway maple that was oddly heavy when picked up.
In short, although top covered, my strategy of double stacking, along with tippy stack, partial collapses, and hardly being able to move amongst the stacks to get wood- has reached the point of not working. Cant tell you how frustrated at myself I am.
Checked the chimney today. Not horrible but could use a sweep soon (dry brown coffee soot). I’ll try to do it tomorrow.
My plan going forward is- not acquire any new wood until it make sense to do so. I will be utilizing single row stacks from now on, phasing out the current double rows. This should keep wood in better condition and allow easier access to stacks.
Hopefully this can help some of you chasing the 3+yr plan. It’s a wise goal- just don’t compromise good wood storage principles to obsessively get more wood like I have.
I'm with you, understand exactly.

I've built a few small sheds that have good overhang, and keep about a months worth completely dry. When one section empties, I refill with the suboptimal stuff, and by the time I get to it, it's good.

I have a tiny house, and utilize my spaces in and out with increased efficiency with each season. I figure in another 30 years or so, I'll have it near perfected.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,037
Woolwich nj
The group that is more north will.have this kind of issues. Sorry to hear CT.. Im a couple hundred miles south of you and only like 20ft above sea level... Height will also make a difference.. I can go 3 stacks wide and have seasoned this way from the beginning. I wouldn't go much wider with my stacks than this in my area. My neighbor went 4 wide and 20 in lengths and has had issues with the center wood not being as seasoned as it should be. maybe adding some space in between rows will helps you out.. how high above sea level are you..
 

mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
702
ontario
20210105_163340.jpg

I will keep you posted on this stack....its now full and comes to about a 9 cord stack of red oak. It should sit here for 3 and 4 years before I need it though as I have another 12 cord of ash that will get burnt first. I have been burning around 5 cord a season. I'm thinking that I will mess around with some sort of kiln or a hybrid system. I will get a current m.c. and more than likely do nothing this summer with the oak but monitor it. A 9 cord kiln would be awesome.....took me about 12, 6 hour days to get this much wood. Hand split and hand bombed 4 times. Last week I was off and the math said I lifted about 50 thousand pounds of wood. Enjoyed every minute of it too.
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,578
Southeast CT
The group that is more north will.have this kind of issues. Sorry to hear CT.. Im a couple hundred miles south of you and only like 20ft above sea level... Height will also make a difference.. I can go 3 stacks wide and have seasoned this way from the beginning. I wouldn't go much wider with my stacks than this in my area. My neighbor went 4 wide and 20 in lengths and has had issues with the center wood not being as seasoned as it should be. maybe adding some space in between rows will helps you out.. how high above sea level are you..
Yes, it was my center wood that took a hit. Lesson learned. I’m about 60 ft above sea level, about 1/2 mile from Long Island sound.
I will do single rows going forward. Quality over quantity.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
View attachment 271990
I will keep you posted on this stack....its now full and comes to about a 9 cord stack of red oak. It should sit here for 3 and 4 years before I need it though as I have another 12 cord of ash that will get burnt first. I have been burning around 5 cord a season. I'm thinking that I will mess around with some sort of kiln or a hybrid system. I will get a current m.c. and more than likely do nothing this summer with the oak but monitor it. A 9 cord kiln would be awesome.....took me about 12, 6 hour days to get this much wood. Hand split and hand bombed 4 times. Last week I was off and the math said I lifted about 50 thousand pounds of wood. Enjoyed every minute of it too.
That looks like a good setup.

I'm familiar with hand splitting, as I do lots of that myself. But "hand bombed" is new to me, and I'm thinking maybe I'm missing something. What does that mean?
 

mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
702
ontario
Hand bombed = manual handling vs mechanical aid. In my case...1= throwing bucked wood to where It gets split. 2= picking up split to put in atv trailer. 3= taking out of atv trailer to pile on vehicle trailer. 4 unloading vehicle trailer to put in the stack.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,378
Ottawa, ON
Hand bombed = manual handling vs mechanical aid. In my case...1= throwing bucked wood to where It gets split. 2= picking up split to put in atv trailer. 3= taking out of atv trailer to pile on vehicle trailer. 4 unloading vehicle trailer to put in the stack.
I read this.......and i am tired.
 

Alpine1

Feeling the Heat
Apr 27, 2017
399
Eastern Alps, Italy
5. pick from the pile and bring into home
6. pick again and load stove
7. empty stove from ashes and take away
I think I can give name and surname to some sticks LOL ;lol
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,378
Ottawa, ON
8. Chimney cleaning
9. Gasket maintenance.
 
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mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
702
ontario
5. pick from the pile and bring into home
6. pick again and load stove
7. empty stove from ashes and take away
I think I can give name and surname to some sticks LOL ;lol
Like my dad always says......"nothing is free"
Lots of time and physical effort required
 
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Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
Hand bombed = manual handling vs mechanical aid. In my case...1= throwing bucked wood to where It gets split. 2= picking up split to put in atv trailer. 3= taking out of atv trailer to pile on vehicle trailer. 4 unloading vehicle trailer to put in the stack.
Thanks. So I am completely familiar with it. I try to think of this as exercise. I usually move my wood manually several times even after the initial processing.

Today I moved about a quarter cord of oak, butternut and cherry around to new locations. The oak and butternut will be burned this year, the cherry will be kept for smoking. The butternut is on deck, the oak is in the only sunny spot, and will be moved via wheelbarrow up over the next few days/weeks.

Eventually, I'll have a better system, like your nice big shed. Until then, lots of extra wood bombing exercise.
 
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Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,013
Massachusetts
Like my dad always says......"nothing is free"
Lots of time and physical effort required

To me that's the best part. As you said, I too really enjoy the process. It's great exercise and any time outdoors is good.

Im currently reworking my storage here in MA. 20' wide, 6' high, 2 rows deep with a 6 inch air gap, metal lean-to roofing. Eaxh structure holds 2 cords. Mcdougy and I actually designed the roof system ourselves. Im gonna make a post about the process once it's done, im just waiting for my next load of logs sometime in the next couple weeks before building. Im done with tarps!

For me personally I think 2 rows deep with a little gap is about as far as Im willing to go to sacrifice seasoning time for space. I need any wood I CSS to be ready in 2 years max. I burn 3-4 cords a year and have an acre of land to work with. I have 4 x 2 cord structures and a pallet contraption that'll hold another 1-2 of dry stuff (poor spot to season) so I'm about 1-2 years ahead constantly depending on the weather. One day down the road I'll build a nice retaining wall and convert my pallet contraption to a legit big shed for more space but that's a way future project as the wife wants another garage first lol. !!!
 

paredown

Burning Hunk
Jan 11, 2009
116
Lower Hudson New York
Well I learned a lesson about suboptimal storage this year--when you think your tarps need replacing, bite the bullet and do it while you think of it...

I just had to move and restack about three pallets of wood that got soaked in the torrential rain storms we've been having this year...whoops!
 

WoodBurnerInWI

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2020
275
Madison, WI
Unfortunately I too have learned the hard way about keeping wood as dry as you can while it's drying. The oak/cherry mix I'm burning now was C/S/S back in 2016. At that time we didn't have this house yet but knew it was going to happen soon so we begin cutting wood at my wife's grandparents farm and storing it on pallets. So getting it off the ground was good but top cover was poor, I just used tarps. The tarps of course didn't last for anything and they leaked. All the oak and cherry got too wet and it was cut from dead trees so they were already in various stages of rot. So now all these pieces have lots of dry rot on them and they burn fine but it makes a mess bringing them in. Now everything is put into my woodshed with a nice corrugated metal roof system.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
567
NW Wisconsin
I have learned not to leave rounds sit or I won't get to em. I have 2-3 cord of rounds that have been sitting in the grass for a few years and are probably rotten now. I got a hernia that year and never got to em, and then got real busy the next year. I have a lot to catch up on now and a lot of crap to get rid of. I like to split right off the truck, or even before loading the truck. That way it's stacked and done and I don't have to think about it anymore.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,202
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
I too have learned the value of keeping rain off the wood piles. We have cold winters but warm dry summers, meaning any of our wood (aspen, white birch, pine, or spruce) that is cut, split, and stacked in spring is ready to burn by fall.

You guys make me sad, I'm currently building a set of dressers for our master bedroom and am paying $20/BDFT for red oak and $25/BDFT for maple, meanwhile many of you have cords of oak, maple, butternut, ash, hickory and walnut sitting around just to burn and send up the chimney.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
567
NW Wisconsin
I too have learned the value of keeping rain off the wood piles. We have cold winters but warm dry summers, meaning any of our wood (aspen, white birch, pine, or spruce) that is cut, split, and stacked in spring is ready to burn by fall.

You guys make me sad, I'm currently building a set of dressers for our master bedroom and am paying $20/BDFT for red oak and $25/BDFT for maple, meanwhile many of you have cords of oak, maple, butternut, ash, hickory and walnut sitting around just to burn and send up the chimney.

per board foot?! What?!
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,202
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
per board foot?! What?!

Yup. Granted that's Canadian dollars, so knock about 25% off for USD. None of it grows here, it's all trucked in from the east, minimum 2 day drive each way, so freight costs a bit. Hardwood use is limited out here because of the cost, even our custom cabinets might have hardwood doors but the rest will be MDF, the high end stuff might have the boxes built from Baltic Birch. Of course the run on lumber prices this year has also driven up hardwood costs, an 8' SPF 2x4 is $6 right now, this time last year it was just over $3, and we have 2 large sawmills in town that it comes from.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
567
NW Wisconsin
wow. I tried to buy some 2x4's this year and was quoted $6 each as well. I walked out with my panties in a twist and made do with what I had. A couple of friends had leftovers from projects and I was a giddy schoolboy when they said "come and get 'em". Just enough to get my walk in cooler built.

I hope prices come down this year or our house may fall in before we can afford to fix it.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,013
Massachusetts
Yeah lumber is bananas right now. I'm not in a place where I want to delay my wood lean-to roofs to save a few bucks though so I'm just getting gouged and accepting it. Really frustrating.

I guess living in New England we truly are spoiled with hardwood. Ive got 8 cords out back and looking out my front window now I see too many oak/maples to count. The only soft wood I really ever burn is poplar if it was free.. Hardly any soft wood here relatively speaking, just some strands of pine here and there.
 

AndrewU

Member
Dec 1, 2019
116
Sedro-Woolley WA
Birch is about the best (in terms of BTUs per cord) wood that grows abundantly here. Most of the locally available firewood is alder and Douglas fir. Some big-leaf maple too. Cedar, and hemlock is sometimes available. Pretty hard to find the really good woods like oak, cherry, hard maple, hickory, etc. Just not the right climate for them to grow well. Just doesn’t get cold enough in the winter, and probably too many months of very wet soil.