How to Stack Wood.

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A few years ago I did a post on how to stack wood.  It was how I stacked it at the time, which was using a combination of plastic end pieces and 2x4s to create open boxes basically.  They worked great, but this method has an expense attached to it.  You had to buy a lot of 2x4s, and the plastic brackets.  I didn’t love how they looked even though they were really fairly neat and tidy. Plus I had to store all of the plastic ends and the 2x4s throughout the spring and summer when I wasn’t using them.  I don’t have a lot of storage in this house and any extra storage I do have I prefer to save for storing things I use all year round.  Like my chickens.  And my hooch still.
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As the years went by I kept dipping into my stash of 2x4s.  A small project here, a chicken coop there and before  knew it I’d blown through the majority of my wood stacking 2x4s.  And I really, REALLY didn’t want to go out and buy more of them.  So I changed up my wood stacking method.

 

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I’ve gone through several wood stacking kicks and it’s officially come full circle.  Years ago … and I mean a really long time ago … like even before the Motorola flip phone, I read a Martha Stewart article on how to stack wood that was worthy of Miss. Martha.  And therefore me.

 

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It requires no additional equipment.  All you need is your firewood.

By laying equal sized pieces of wood side by side, then side by side in the opposite direction you can create a sturdy column of wood.

 

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For the past few years I’ve made my columns anywhere from 4′-5′ high and I haven’t had a single one fall down.

 

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You do a column of wood stacked like this on either side of where you want your wood to go and then just start stacking like you normally wood.  Would.

 

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There are 2 mistakes people make when stacking wood.  They either stack it too tight so there’s absolutely no air circulation in between the logs which promotes damp wood that never dries out.  OR they just drop it down and end up with a pile so loose and wobbly that it tumbles over the second an amorous squirrel chases his lover over it.

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My wood order for this year was 2 bush cords.

“Bush Cord” def: a 4’x4’x8′ stack of dry wood

So I got two of those.  Which means a stack of 8 foot by 8 foot by 16 foot.  Curious about how much wood that looks like when it’s dumped on the road?

 

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When you have a small backyard you may not have room for one big 4′ x 4′ x 8′ block of wood, let alone 2 of them.  So you find other ways to stack it.  In and around buildings for instance.

 

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In corners.

 

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Around corners.

 

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You wake up in the morning and you stack.  And you stack and you stack and you stack.  And when the neighbour asks if you’d like some help you say NO. Because you’re stoic.  And hard working.  And filled with OCD tendencies about your wood stacking.  So no.  But thank you.

And hours pass and neighbours pass and you start to feel embarrassed because it’s getting late and you’re still stacking wood.  You’re sure people think you’re lazy.  You aren’t stacking fast enough.

 

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And just when you’re about to cry a neighbour comes over and starts lugging wood into the backyard.  He doesn’t ask if you need help.  He just starts stacking. And then so does his son.  And later on the elderly woman from down the street who recently fought cancer and the heartbreaking death of her husband grabs a rake and starts to help clean up.

And by 9 o’clock or so, almost 12 hours after you started, those 2 cords of wood are finally moved.   And so are you.

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120 Comments

  1. Becky says:

    Two things… first, I have that wheel barrow, and i hate it. It doesn’t turn, and if you are on uneven ground, it tips over. ugh. hate hate hate. I should have gotten the one wheel in front kind.
    Second, I hope you plan to use the wood from around the tree first, or you aren’t going to be able to tap it in a few months.

  2. Sandra says:

    That’s a good way to stack wood in the fire pit, to burn it, too, though I’ve always been great at the tipi style.

    How about stacking the wood before it’s split? Any tips?

  3. Sandy says:

    Nice maple leaf sweater and nice neighbours too.

  4. Sia says:

    The sight of all that wood on the road scared the crap out of me! I’d feel like all the neighbours would be saying “how long can I wait before I complain about the parking spaces this crazy woman has stolen from us??? ”
    It also took me back to when I was yay high – showing ’bout 3 feet high – when they dumped the wood in our drive – no complaining from our neighbours!! – and we moved them into our garage for dad to pile up. Wondering why I use to look forward to that? Crazy kid!
    🙂

  5. silvie says:

    I lay a couple of 2×4’s down on the ground – my woodshed’s floor is bare-earth. this keeps moisture from wicking up. a tip from the wild wet coast of Vancouver Island.

    • Karen says:

      Yes, I’ve done that in years past Silvie, but really once things freeze here they stay pretty frozen for the winter. 🙂 Besides. Like I said, I used up my stash of spare 2x4s, lol. ~ karen!

  6. Bobbi says:

    How in the world could you even lift your arms after that ? I am in AWE. That’s all.

  7. TucsonPatty says:

    That. Is. An. Awesome. Amount. Of. Wood. How long will it take to burn it? Do you heat with it? Are you having a lot of pizza parties to use it all up? Do you have to buy more before next winter because you’ve made too many pizzas and bread? Inquiring minds want to know. I can’t do wood burning because it usually gives me a migraine. Not that I want too many fires here in Arizona. Beautiful piles.

    • Karen says:

      That wood should last me one year Patty. So from now until the end of next October. Hopefully. Fingers crossed. Oh God, it had better. ~ karen!

    • Mary Edmondson says:

      I lovvvvvve a physical job like that because I don’t have to engage my mind other than what it takes to execute a perfect pile. I feel so tranquil during and after. I’m curious about three things. Who was the photographer who did such a good job of showing you in action? Assuming your path to the yard was not blocked, did you start hauling from the street corner end or the closer to your house end? I’ll bet it was the far end – that’s how I would have done it, and would not have wanted help stacking either. Don’t like micro managing so working alone gets it done the desired way without the need to supervise and direct. And lastly – I know that you surely have devised the most efficient painless way of cleaning out the fireplace ashes – would you share that routine with us?

  8. Lin says:

    That was a humungus amount of wood! Well done grrrl!! Great neighbours…hope they got hugged. Do you heat with wood cuz yer gonna have enough to make pizza’s, bread, etc. for ten years. If I’d have moved that much wood my body would be whacked the next day. Treat yourself to a good wheelbarrow. Job well done Mz. Karen!

    • Karen says:

      The reason I have that wheelbarrow is because I don’t have room to fit a regular sized, regular wheelbarrow anywhere. I keep this one in the storage area under the pizza oven so it’s out of site and it fits there perfectly. And yes. It’s not the greatest wheelbarrow, lol. But it’ll do. ~ karen!

      • Pam'a says:

        Karen, Karen, Karen. You MUST invest in a collapsible wheelbarrow. I have one I rarely use anymore. Want me to send it?

        There are lots of choices if you search, and they take up almost no room. Mine folds flat and can hang on a wall. A quick glance tells me you could score a decent one for well under $100.

        You’re welcome… 😉

        • Karen says:

          LOL Thanks Pam’a! I’ll look into it. I’d love one that would take up even less room under the pizza oven. Off to Google them now. ~ karen!

  9. Auntiepatch says:

    You are one crazy woman! When a man offers to help, say, “Thank you!” and offer him a beer and maybe a pizza to thank him afterwards! That being said, you did a great job!

  10. Wow…this answers the question how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? A lot. That is not a sight we see here in Florida very often…ever! No wonder you have such great toned legs? That is a 12 hour workout..insanity holds nothing over you.

    Then there is the hooch still that I think we need to see a post about…I have much more need to build one of those, Betty maybe has a schematic for that if it’s a family thing.

    Lastly, the arduous squirrels. Now that is going in my own “hate it” category on my blog as they are my menesis,.maybe a cord of wood delivered to my door would keep them busy enough and away from my bird feeders…then they wood…would…have the great toned legs, dam…damn!

  11. Minki says:

    Goodness…!! Great job with stacking that HUUUUGE pile of wood and thanks for the stacking tips. What wonderful neighbours you have! Hugs from sunny South Africa.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Minki! (love the South African accent!) ~ karen

      • Irene says:

        As a fellow South African, I’d like to double up the S’African hugs and send some to your neighbours!
        How amazing to live in a place where you have that kind of community! Here, we tend to hide behind our huge boundary walls, barbed wire, electric fences and so on; prisoners in our own homes, and don’t even KNOW our neighbours. It’s so sad.
        We live in such an incredible country, but it’s messed up by the fear of the criminal few.

        • Karen says:

          Thanks Irene! I had no idea I had so many South African readers. 🙂 I love knowing where everyone comes from! And that’s generally how it works. A few assheads screw everything up for everyone else. :/ But it also only takes a few to make things a lot better. ~ karen!

        • Irene says:

          All I can respond with is … yes. 🙂
          Thank heavens for the good people.

  12. Melissa says:

    Great post! Made me cry at the end. Who crys over wood?

  13. Sally A says:

    That huge pile looked so overwhelming I think I would have sat down and cried. When I first saw it I said to myself Please don’t tell me you stacked all that by yourself! So glad you eventually got help! And I didn’t realize there was an art to stacking. Who knew? I guess you and Martha. :o) And now me. Thanks!

  14. Louise says:

    Oh my God, I didn’t know they would just dump in in the street! (We don’t have much experience with that in sunny Southern California. It’s supposed to get up to 80F this Thursday!) I’m exhausted just THINKING about all the work you did – I can barely hold up my margarita as I lie on the chais longue by the pool. 😉

  15. Dava says:

    That stack of wood in the street intimidated the hell out of me. Here in southwest Michigan we would never dare stack wood against buildings because of termites. Must be you don’t have them in your area.

  16. jainegayer says:

    12 hours!! I had the same thought as Bobbi. How could you even lift your arms, walk, still love wood??
    But I’d do it too for a wood burning fireplace cause there’s nothing better than a crackling fire on a cold winter night.

  17. Tigersmom says:

    I’m glad you have such wonderful neighbors. We have some great neighbors and I really love it. If I haven’t spoken in a while with one in particular one of us will text the other just to check in.
    Of course, we have some crazy ass neighbors too, but have somehow managed to avoid becoming the direct target of their ire.

    And there you go with pictures of that perky butt of yours again. Now I think you’re just showing off. ; )

    • Karen says:

      Well of course I am. And I intend to for as long as it makes sense to. 😉 ~ karen!

      • Tigersmom says:

        Can’t say as I blame you. I’d show it off too if I had anything close to a butt like that, but I don’t…..just some flat Italian thing back there. : (

    • Louise says:

      And don’t forget the perfectly toned legs! They look like a ballerina’s, but WE know they’re that way from squatting and lifting and mixing adobe and running back and forth!

  18. Mary Kay Feely says:

    I had always been told never to stack directly on the ground. Are the bottom pieces good when you finally get to them? And do you use all that wood during one winter?

    • Karen says:

      I wouldn’t stack wood directly on grass or soil, but it’s fine to stack it in my backyard which is all flagstone. The grass or soil will get wet which wicks up into the wood and depending on how long the wood pile is sitting there will eventually rot it. But that would takes years. Also as the grass gets soggy the wood pile will sink a bit, shift and could eventually topple over. ~ karen!

      • Karen says:

        A little off subject, but what do you use to keep grass and weeds from growing in the cracks of your flagstone?

        • Karen says:

          Hi Karen. There isn’t any grass in my backyard so I never get grass coming up. I get the odd weed, but that’s about it. Not much. Mainly it’s because like I said there is no lawn in my backyard. Also I used semi hardening sand in the cracks of my flagstone which isn’t as friendly as soil I suppose for things to sprout in. The one thing I have that helps is moss. It’s taking FOREVER for the moss to spread through all the cracks but it does also help to keep other things from seeding in the cracks. ~ karen!

  19. Sue says:

    Kudos to you! That’s a hell of a lot of wood! We used to chop, split and stack that and more at our cottage for heating and bonfires but that was in my younger days when I had endless energy and a useless husband. Careful of the wood stacked close to your house, although I think that’s your coop because your house is brick, but mice love wood piles and burrowing holes through those wonderfully stacked logs into warm houses. Also termites from infected wood are also becoming a major problem here in southern Ontario. Now, lastly but most importantly, what are you doing refusing help from a man? When they actually offer to get away from the T.V. or video game take their assistance! Even if it just to be able to teach them the proper way to stack wood! Now go back to your book in front of your crackling fire and enjoy!

    • Louise says:

      Yes, never turn down a favor from a man (unless he’s an axe murderer!). Just give him your most dazzling smile and say, “Oh thank you, kind sir!” Then bat your eyelashes if he looks interesting (and single).

      You must realize that accepting a a kindness from a man is actually doing him a favor. It makes him feel useful and masculine, and it gives him good karma!

  20. Beth W. says:

    One quick question, then a compliment. I see that none of the wood is stacked against your house. Is that just a coincidence, or should you not stack wood right against brick? And that compliment… Those jeans fit you like plaster fits lathe (in the old days). BAM! (that’s a good thing)

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Beth, lol, I’ve never heard that one before! And there just isn’t room around my house to stack the wood. The back of my house is surrounded by either chicken coop or raised beds. Stacking against brick is fine but some people don’t like to stack wood near the foundation of their house because wood carries so many bugs and centipedes and mice that will eventually make their way into your house if it’s stacked close to it. ~ karen! BAM!

  21. Su says:

    That’s a LOT of wood… so is it kinda like the saying that if you chop your wood you warm yourself twice? I love the Maple leaf sweater/sweatshirt too! As for Martha giving you the tip on how to stack? you gotta LOVE Martha…. bitch knows of what she speaks usually… 🙂

  22. Ei conklin says:

    When I was in Germany I saw wood piles stacked in cylindrical towers. Very artful and European. See this article in Mother Earth News, though the ones I saw were smaller and the core was empty for better air circulation.
    http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/a-better-way-to-stack-firewood.aspx#axzz3I0WJ9bsG
    And I have that garden cart too. I hate it.
    -Ei

  23. Debby Cross says:

    I loved my Mother-in-law, but I can clearly remember the first, and probably only time she criticized my domestic skills. She pointed out, that the bark, prevents rain and melting snow from easily penetrating the wood. Just as I learned to lay sod with the green side up, I also learned to stack wood, with the bark side up.
    Which, by the way, is very easy to do if the logs have not yet been split. To avoid the thunderous sound of a log pile falling, just keep the round ones in the middle of the pile, and continue to ponder the optimal placement of the remaining jig saw puzzle pieces. Further proof, that stacking wood is an art AND a skill!

  24. Danni says:

    Something very Zen and meditative stacking wood, at least until you squash a finger or two. One of those jobs I too prefer to do myself, being too stubborn/stoic/hard-working/mule-headed. It’s a woman thing.

  25. Thera says:

    I sympathize. We got and assembled one of those carport tent things and then moved/stacked almost 4 cords this weekend. There is still app 1/2 cord to split and stack. -sigh-

  26. mayr says:

    People are wonderful.

  27. Jody says:

    I don’t know where to begin. Your neighbours are the best. How long will all that wood last? How many pizzas will be made with that wood. Love the maple leaf sweater and short Bogs.

  28. Heather says:

    I am tired just looking at that wood and it’s Monday morning and all I have to lift is my hands to the keyboard. If you are going to all that trouble to stack the wood you might as well make sure it’s done properly! You amaze me.

  29. maggie van sickle says:

    Kudos to you Karen a feeling of accomplishment I am sure and Kudos to your neighbours, it made them feel good as well. A pizza party is in store me thinks!

  30. Erin says:

    Great neighbours make all the difference.
    Beautiful stacking.

  31. Isabel says:

    lovely and moving story.

  32. Fred Barrett says:

    I have stacked 4 bush cords of wood that way for 17 years. Never had any fall down. It’s the only way to go. Wish I had neighbours as nice as yours. Nearest neighbour is a half mile away, sigh!

  33. Roxy says:

    We stacked 10 cords this weekend. My wood guy and his wife helped. It went fast. I can’t believe you piled all that wood yourself. Awesome and in a white shirt no less!

    • Karen says:

      I’m guessing you had 10 face cords Roxy. Which is still the equivalent of a little over 2 bush cords. Which in turn, is a LOT of wood, lol. ~ karen!

    • Debbie says:

      Finally, someone mentioned the white in the sweater. That is what impressed me most in the whole post. It takes a lot of guts to wear a white sweater to stack wood.

      I’ll stick with the light switch type control for our gas fire place. One finger turns it on (and turns it off). No scent of the outdoors or crackling wood, but no hassle either – just warmth. I do remember the wood fireplace we had when I was a child. My parents did the lugging and I was okay with that.

  34. Ev Wilcox says:

    Eons ago, when I was growing up, we had that kind of neighbors too. Not so much now. If there was an extreme emergency, I THINK they would be there to help, but would not count on it. WE would help them, as that is how we were raised. Anyway, the stacks look great and are something to be proud of. Enjoy!

  35. Lisa says:

    Wow, I did ONE face cord, two weeks ago. And my back complained about it for 3 days. Next year, this is going to be me, because I’m out of my own wood now, from the storms of 2012. I’ll need a delivery too!

  36. Debbie from Illinois says:

    Wow!!!

  37. Deb J. says:

    I remember your wood stacking post. That was the first-ever time I commented on any blog. Was always a lurker before that. Well done with the wood pile. I can sympathize – this spring we had 8 large ash tress removed (emerald ash borer:( ) and I accepted all the chippings. Filled our driveway and took me 5 weekends to move. Nobody offered to help. My body complained; impressed yours didn’t. And I ADORE themaple leaf sweater!!

  38. Lori Hall says:

    You really are something else Karen. And so are your neighbors! There goes my mascara!

  39. Mary Werner says:

    Smart to stack it so close to where you will use it – pizza over and back door. Or maybe you don’t have any place left. I was thinking you must have been VERY tired and sore the next day and what did you use to ease that when I read your comments (always do) and saw you felt fine. WOW now there is a testimony to hard work never hurt anyone (as long as you do it regularly). You are in amazingly good shape. Congrats! I use and old cement wheelbarrow. It carries a huge load and has one giant wheel that turns anywhere even when fully loaded. 35 years ago my husband got it used. He replaced the wood handles, aired up the tire and it is still a great tool. Your stacks must give you a great feeling of accomplishment like a cupboard full of homemade jelly. I would want to sit out there drinking hot coffee just looking at all that wonderful wood and smelling it too!

  40. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    That’s a lot of firewood! Thanks for the stacking tips. I, too, am touched by your neighbors kindness. God bless ’em!

  41. kate-v says:

    Good post

  42. Connie S. says:

    Karen, You never cease to amaze me with what you accomplish in a day! And you have amazing neighbours 🙂
    It’s wonderful to see and experience the Good in people . (It’s ” a good thing” as Martha would say )
    thanks for sharing

  43. Marion says:

    Sounds like you have awesome neighbors!

  44. JeannieB says:

    If you lived down east in N.B., you’d be using your wood today, to keep the house warm while the power is out. And you’d be outside, shovelling the snow that has fallen.
    Your stacked wood looks excellent Karen. A lot of work, but at the ready for when the winter settles in here. I’m glad that you have such thoughtful, kind neighbours. They look out for you.
    Years ago, I remember looking into the side yard of a big, treed estate down on the lake. They had a row of big wooden ” cribs”, with a rustic , wooden roof overtop and each ” crib” was filled with firewood labelled with the species of tree that it came from. I wish I had taken a picture.

  45. Valerie says:

    You have completed this task. Well done!
    You are now a woman that is really “stacked.”
    Getting the wood ready for burning:
    If you would like to make this part of wood burning really exciting and fun you could invest in a wood splitter available at Canadian Tire. This gadget helps to prevent rotator cuff problems caused from that circular arm motion which sometimes occurs when splitting with a maul. Once you get good with the splitter you can even make kindling with it.
    *Someone needs to create waterproof tarps not made from plastic that can be used to cover the top of wood piles. Tarps that don’t crack and split in freezing winter weather.

  46. I love your Bogs! I think I might get a short pair for next year. I pretty much wear my Bogs for three seasons…my feet get a little too hot to wear them all summer. We are in the process of cleaning up our wooded area with enough firewood to last us a lifetime and I have to say I am impressed with your wood stacking capabilities!

  47. Brenda says:

    so I dont have a wood burning anything and was about to just skip the post but I thought, “Karen’s always funny so I’ll just click on this anyway”. I had to hold back a tear at the end…..
    what great neighbors and, once again, what great writing. Thanks Karen

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Brenda! My goal is, if you aren’t interested in the topic you should at least be entertained by the writing. ~ karen!

      • Jan In Waterdown says:

        Did you steal that line from Red Green? (If the women don’t find ya handsome, they should at least find ya handy!) hmmmm . . . or maybe he stole it from you! hah!

  48. Elen Grey says:

    Geez Louise! That’s some fine stacking. And some major cuteness factor in that toque. 🙂

  49. Julie says:

    Karen – My husband is obsessed with his wood pile and chopping wood as well as procuring it. Well, he happens to be working from home today and I said “you have got to read this post from a blogger I read”. He did and he was not only impressed with your wood stacking talents but your reference to your hooch still.

    I said to him, yeah, Karen is the kind of woman you wish you were married too! I then told him about your heated kitchen tile floor that you busted and layed. Needless to say he was impressed!

  50. Laura Bee says:

    Memories of stacking wood as a kid. We had a big woodshed attached to the house. You had to go from the shed through the summer kitchen, into the kitchen and then the livingroom. One of our chores was bringing in wood. Usually Gilligan’s Island was on – I remember walking really slow through the living room but going as fast as we could to the shed-load up & rush back to catch another minute of it.
    We have great neighbours too. moving this week, hope we find some more. 🙂

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