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The Art of Stacking Wood

I’ve been stacking wood since I was 9 years old. Because apparently I was some sort of pioneer child, further proven by the fact that  my favourite toy was a potato. More on that and the resulting therapy in a later post.

It was my father who taught me how to stack wood and he was a good teacher.

It is for this reason that I will not allow my boyfriend to stack wood. You see … I know how it should be done. Norm taught me. According to Norm (may he rest in peace with a roaring fire) you should basically be able to drive a monster truck up one side of your wood pile and down the other without it moving an inch.

Problem is … Norm was wrong. Eek. I can’t believe I just said that. But the truth is, a well stacked wood pile should have a little bit of air space in it. You don’t want it wiggly, but you want air to be able to flow around the wood so it stays dry. This means your wood pile shouldn’t be so tightly stacked that it’s like a cement wall.

Neither should it be so quickly thrown together that one look from an angry cat will send it toppling over. I’m speaking to you, Mr. Boyfriend. I allowed him to stack the wood one year and the whole pile fell over. An entire cord. He blamed the cat. He still blames the cat, although now he does it with a little grin on his face.

For years I’ve been stacking my wood piles in between 2 rods that I hammer into the ground and secure at the top with thick wire.  Just like Norm did.  It ensures even if my wood gets a little wonky, it won’t fall over. But it’s a pain. And it looks a little like something Martha Stewart would scoff at. And rightly so.

Then last year I discovered something fantastic. Something that would make wood stacking so foolproof even my boyfriend could do it.  If I were ever to allow him to stack wood again.

This little thingamabob.

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The log thingamabob!

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Now this log stacking tool isn’t cheap. It sells for $12.99 (a pair)  Which is fine if you only need one set, but we needed 6. Blech.

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However you can use them over and over again every year.  And it’ll make your life easier and your backyard neater.

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Its official name is the Log Stacker. Really it is. Google it.

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It works by sticking 2 X 4s into the holes in it, which creates a sturdy crib for your wood.

So you’ll also need a bunch of these.

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If you have a smallish stack of wood you can use 4′ long pieces of wood.

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Line up as many as you need ….

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Shove the upright pieces in and admire how pretty it looks already.

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Then smack yourself on the head and start all over again, realizing you configured the wood wrong.   Dismantling it and then pointing at something random is essential.

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Back to where you started, you have a row of Log Stackers filled with 2X4 pieces of spruce (the cheapest wood). This is 12′ long by 4′ high.

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Now you must fill it. You must lug and carry and stack. Over …

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… and over …

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… and over again.

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And again.

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And for the record, even though he can’t stack wood, there are other things my boyfriend does very, very well.

For instance, he can make a souffle, cleans up after dinner, and can toot like a champ.  Seriously.  Like a champ.


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36 Comments | Filed Under: Outdoor | Tags: ,

36 Responses to The Art of Stacking Wood

  1. Ree says:

    I knew it! I knew it!

    Aren’t those Log Stackers the greatest!

    I used to stack by making “#” shaped stacks at each end and then piling it all up in between, but then Dear Husband would pull logs from the ends instead of the middle and the whole mess would come crashing down, usually on MY foot. In the dark. While it was raining.

    Yes! Log Stackers are the secret to a stable pile!

    Thanks for the pics!

    Thanks for the pics!

  2. Pam'a says:

    Groovy log stacking! Very impressive job, but I must confess that I had an epiphany years ago, and will never do that job again. I don’t have to– because I am a gas fireplace convert.

    You gasp in horror? So did I before I got one. I was under the mistaken impression that they still resembled a pile of misshapen concrete blocks bathed in blue flames… Truth is, they look amazingly natural. You can even pick the kind of wood you want to believe is in there.

    So, I no longer have to sweep up bark. Or stack. Or bark at stackers. I don’t buy wood. But here’s the best part: I can have a nice little 15 minute fire anytime I want, and when I’m done, I can close the flue! So I’m saving on utilities!

    I hope I’m still allowed on your page. That worries me now…

  3. Wow!! That thing is super cool!! I think I need some…. tho… the hubs won’t let me have a fire in our fire place because he thinks that the house will burn down if we do…. He has a thing about the house burning down….

    • Karen says:

      Jacque – Convince him. There’s nothing nicer than a fire in the winter. Have your chimney and firebox tested by a professional and you’re good to go. ~ karen

  4. Dotti says:

    I’m a little worried that you’ve been stacking that wood pile since you were 9. Given how efficient you are at most things, I would have expected you to be done by now. :)

  5. KDot says:

    We have the same patio set. Score! Except it looks like you take your cushions inside. I don’t and they have rewarded me by getting covered with bird poop.

  6. Chris Graham says:

    I don’t have a fireplace. Well, I have one of those modernish-bioethynol deals, but I don’t get to burn stuff in it. It burns it’s own stuff, which isn’t as fun. I still sort of want a wood stack. Yeah, I know that is foolish and unnecessary. But it seems all earthy. More like a place Norm would live. I am not going to get my woodstack, because that would be just dumb. But I will pine away for one. (oh yeah I went there, with the bad pun right at the end, I am crazy like that)

  7. Wow! A thing of beauty and you are going to have a lot of cozy fires this winter, that is for sure.

  8. ginger says:

    Oh la! Where did you get them? We’re about to relocate our wood pile from inside our garage to a side yard and were not looking forward to figuring out the setup. Please gimme the deets!!

  9. Maggie Pitts says:

    I have been completely obsessed with wood stacking and the different ways people stack wood since I bought my first house a few years ago. I immediately redid the fireplace area so that I could use it for fires (long before I got to more pressing issues, like a bad roof).
    Unfortunately my fireplace installation did not come complete with a nicely seasoned woodpile, and fall was approaching quickly.. I needed to dry my new wood out *fast*! In my quest to dry the wood ASAP, I came across the HOLTZ HAUSEN. I implore you to ‘google image’ this style. One of the most beautiful wood-stack method ever! I have also seen some neat teepee shaped woodstacks in the remote areas of where I live in the maritimes. And other pretty artistic methods online! Happy stacking

  10. Hmmm, can’t let the hubby hear you do the stacking in your house or he’ll give that job to me.

    But good on you!

  11. Shauna says:

    How efficient!! Now I was going to ask why you didn’t watermark the pics, so I scrolled up and see you have twice. So it appears it’s not at all noticeable!! (or it’s too early for me) :)

  12. Theresa says:

    just in time – I’m having the kids move the wood pile (and I do mean pile not stack) so its easier to get to in dark and the cold and the ice. Hubby is getting chainsaws fixed and I intend to see if he and the oldest can get some free wood by helping clean up down trees (I’m in Queens NYC where we just had two tornados and a mirco burst) in the neighborhood.

  13. Caroline says:

    When I was little, we had a whole woodshed (Yes, a building on our farm just for wood) to fill. Cords and cords and cords of wood would get thrown in the chute door, then stacked. It was our only heat source in winter, and we cut it all ourselves from the farm forests (selective logging, dead trees etc). Rainy fall days have memories of me stuck in a woodshed stacking blasted wood. Argh. It was fun though, and my dad and I would have contests to see who could finish a row first. He always won. :(

    I am interested to find out how you create and store kindling, or what fancy ways you have to start your wood fires! You must have something awesome up that sleeve. :) We used a bucket and cedar splittings. Very fancy.

  14. Kevin Lepard says:

    I’ll admit that’s some nicely stacked wood, but I’m not clear on what the advantage is other than you don’t have to attach the 2x4s otherwise. It seems to me you could drill some 2x4s, put in a couple of bolts at each joint, and get the same result. It’d take slightly longer to assemble/disassemble, but it’s save you the $13/pair. Or does it have other advantages I’m not seeing?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kevin! The advantage is it’s easy. I have installed my own central vac, laid my own tiles, put up my own drywall and cook all meals from scratch. I always need to weigh my time versus money options. So to reiterate … the advantage is that it’s easy. :) Oh … plus, the plastic moulds use a bit of resistance that I actually think is probably stronger than the bolts. Bolts can get loose and wiggle and the plastic moulds can’t. Plus it’s easy. Did I mention that?

  15. Sharon says:

    Holy forest batman! Is that amount of wood going to last till armagedon! That sure does look like a lotta wood!

  16. turktime says:

    (((((((((sigh))))))))))))))) I love the English spelling of words like favourite and colour…..

  17. weckster says:

    ah! lovely!
    My favourite past time at the moment is splitting wood – a repetitive rhythmical chore.
    Thus wood-piling is my next most favourite – especially as everyone else where I stay just drops the wood in a messy pile.

    Thankfully we only need a small pile as Australian winters are not quite as brisk (in my part anyway). If i needed a big pile like yours I would definitely buy one of those wood stackers

  18. Shannon says:

    :o he cleans up after dinner?

  19. Deb Johnston says:

    First comment to a blog ever. Enjoy your site. Fun AND informative. But I bought those stackers for our wood years ago. Main problem – don’t last too many Canadian winters. The plastic breaks. Bought these and never looked back. More expensive initially, but not in the long run.

    http://www.leevalley.com/en/gifts/page.aspx?p=10045&cat=4,104,53209&ap=5

    • Karen says:

      Eek. EEK! I’ll have to stick with mine for the next few winters. To get the amount I need I’d have to spend $400. I could hire 2 kids to stand on either side of my wood pile all winter for that! I’ll keep you updated as to the condition of my plastic stackers. :) Thanks for making The Art of Doing Stuff your first blog to comment on. ~ karen

  20. Jenn C. says:

    Hi, Karen… just wondering where you got these?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenn! I got these at my local Rona hardware store. If you have those around you you’ll find them there. I’m sure many big box/hardware stores carry them. ~ karen!

  21. Jenn C. says:

    Thanks Karen!After searching around town and online for a while.. finally found them today.. and they were on sale. :) I’m actually looking forward to stacking wood for a change.

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  23. Jean says:

    Actually, if you’re messing about making firewood racks, an old BBQ stand (modified to remove the BBQ top) works well for indoors – because it’s small enough to park in a corner, and has wheels on one side to wheel it to the door to refill periodically! If you’re lucky, some even have a metal tray in the bottom that catches the crumbs of bark – though it would be easy to sit a rubber boot mat in the bottom before adding the logs for the same benefit!

  24. Karen Warner says:

    Where can I purchase a set of firewood stackers? I live in Ontario, Canada

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