Firewood Stacking - a necessary task
After you're done cutting up your firewood, you're faced with firewood stacking. This is a necessary task to support your program of frugal living if you intend to heat with wood. When we think about stacking firewood, we need to think about stacking it inside as well as outside.
Most of us enjoy the idea of heating with wood. The feeling, the sound, and the sight of a wood fire is romantic to say the least. It's payback for the work of obtaining, cutting and stacking wood.
The key to success here is don't handle your firewood more than you have to. Firewood stacking isn't hard labor, but it's labor just the same, and it tends to shred gloves. Besides, there's no reason to move a ton or more of firewood unless you really have to.
Outdoor Firewood Stacking
The most logical place to stack your firewood is outside. Firewood is large and heavy and often harbors bugs, so keeping it outside is usually a good idea.
You can pile it up to eliminate the need for stacking, but this can promote decay, make your firewood wet, and provide a home for animals. Most of my firewood is piled, until I cut it, then it's stacked. This isn't a problem in southeast Wyoming because we're semi-arid here and wood in piles doesn't deteriorate like it does in other places around the country where rain is frequent and lasting.
Critters in the wood piles don't bother me either because the Dude likes to chase rabbits and hunt ground squirrels, and wood piles are a great place for such wildlife.
Stacking firewood is a good way to eliminate creating a home for critters that you might not want in abundance around your place. Mice, rabbits, squirrels and insect galore can be found in firewood, especially if it isn't stacked up off the ground.
I use racks to stack much of my processed firewood. The racks are built about one foot off the ground. This provides room under the rack for trimming the grass, and it's just too tall an area for rabbits to feel comfortable, so they make their homes elsewhere.
When you stack cord wood, it's generally a good idea to stack it with bark facing up, so water isn't encouraged to soak up into the exposed faces of the wood. Placing a cover on the top of your stack is also a good idea. Use a sheet of scrap plywood or a tarp. Leave most of the sides and bottom open so water can run out and air can circulate to help it dry out.
If you trap moisture in your stack of wood, you can promote deterioration and it will diminish the heat value that you get from the wood.
Indoor Firewood Stacking
Despite the bugs and debris associated with wood, at some point firewood stacking will be necessary indoors so you have a supply of wood close to your stove. In my house, my practice is to:
- Stack wood in an alcove near my fireplace insert in the kitchen to keep it fed for about two weeks.
- Create a stack of wood in an alcove in the living room to feed my living room fireplace insert for about two weeks.
- Stack wood in the sun room, against an unused wall to provide a nearby indoor source of wood for either stove that will last about two weeks.
- Construct a parallel stack on the front porch so I can walk between the stacks to access the porch, and still have about a two month supply of wood just outside my front door.
- Stack about a week's supply of wood inside the garage so it's accessible in the event of a blizzard that makes going outside impossible.
- Fill the wood racks adjacent to the house so they can be used during the winter with minimal traipsing around outside in the snow and wind.
Several times throughout the winter I revisit firewood stacking inside the house in order to move firewood from the outside racks to the stacks near the stoves. This keeps me well positioned to burn for a week or two without the need to retrieve more.
One of the drawbacks of firewood stacking inside the house is it doesn't look nice (especially my scrap wood), but it's either that or you keep going outside to get a few pieces of wood every couple of hours, and that doesn't appeal to me either. I prefer a large stack of wood that I periodically replenish by hauling in barrels filled with wood.
I take advantage of breaks in the weather to replenish my indoor stacks of firewood, even if my supply hasn't dwindled down much at all. When replenishing my indoor stacks of wood, I use barrels to haul the wood in and canvas tarps to protect the floors from dirt and debris.
Good fortune to you and your firewood stacking efforts. It's all part of the tasks required for those of us with a plan for frugal living that includes heating with wood to stay warm during the winter months.
Done with Firewood Stacking, back to Heating with Wood