Storing Firewood

As you know I have been hard at work at the cottage cutting, splitting and storing firewood. In fact it’s amazing how much wood I have managed to accumulate since I started this little project a couple of weeks ago.

So now that it is cut and split, the question comes up, where am I going to store it, especially since I won’t be burning much of it until at least next spring.

I used to subscribe to the old farmer’s woodpile method, that is, storing it in a cone shaped pile with the wood laid in such a way as to allow the top layer to protect the underneath layer from rain and snow. That worked pretty good, but I did find that unless I actually moved the pile occasionally, restacking it, I end up with some rotten wood at the bottom. This is still a good way to store firewood, and is used by lots of folks. The cone shape helps shed water and stacked loosely, it allows air to circulate.

Then I started stacking it on wood pallets, which I think is a pretty good method of keeping it off the ground, and still getting the sun on it, and you can cover it with a tarp to keep snow and rain off the top layer. I did that for awhile too. But it often was wet, and it also was more difficult to get at when I arrived on a cold Friday night in January.

The best way I have found is to get it up off the ground and under some cover. So this year I have laid old boards down for a base and then stacked it neatly underneath my veranda, so it almost looks like a foundation. The wood is up off the ground, it is getting air circulation and it is somewhat protected from the rain. This is how we used to do it, and I dunno why we stopped, but sometimes you have to go back to what works and keep doing it.

I also stacked quite a bit on top of the deck, under the roof. That way I can open the front door, step out in my birthday suit on a cold April morning, grab a couple of pieces of wood and get the fire going quickly. (I just threw in the birthday suit comment to see if you were paying attention, we’ll see who actually reads this stuff….)

Whatever method you choose for storing firewood, keep a couple of things in mind; Air circulation and bugs. You want air circulation around your firewood, you don’t want bugs.

It also should be somewhere convenient to get at it, especially if you are the one sent out to get more firewood at 11:30 on a below zero night.

Freshly cut firewood can harbor insects like ants and termites as well as other creepy crawlies. Not stuff you want to invite into your house. That’s why you don’t want to keep a lot of wood inside until you are ready to burn it.

As well, the moisture in wood can actually be evaporated out of the wood in your warm cottage, and enter the ceiling etc, causing mold, mildew and dampness.

In addition to bugs and dampness, wood, depending on the kind it is, can smell quite strong.

So the less wood stored inside the better and the drier the wood is when it comes inside the better.

Of course, wet wood doesn’t burn very well and is a source of creosote in your chimney too, another reason to keep it outside until it is properly seasoned. How long that is depends on your location, weather, the type of wood and where it is stored. Most wood needs to be cut and stacked for about a year before it is ready to burn.

In my case, up on the deck, and underneath the deck, is a good choice. Yes, it is a little close to the house, but it is stacked on boards and the veranda floor has lots of gaps to allow good air circulation from below. Our veranda deck is roofed, so the rain and snow is kept off the wood for all intents and purposes. It also faces east, and gets a fair amount of sun in the mornings to help dry the firewood.

Up off the ground it also gets lots of air circulation. I cut my wood fairly short and split it quite small, and any wood that shows signs of bugs or rot, remains on the ground in a pile of wood we use for outdoor campfires.

The old sawhorse has seen better days, but it came through this year and did what I needed done. This is a great tool for cutting firewood, especially if you are working alone. It handles six to eight foot lengths easily, allowing you to cut from both ends and then the middle.

So how to store firewood is best up off the ground, under some cover, with room for some air circulation and not too close to the house if possible, but not so far away that you have to ‘streak’ to the woodpile to get an armload on those cold early Spring mornings.

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