9 tips to building a good wood stack

Gathering firewood is one of those jobs best done year-round, so you always have a dry, well-seasoned supply.

Words: Nadene Hall

If you’re lucky, you’ll have a dry shed where you can store it. If you’re thinking of just throwing it in the door, it’s important to know that it can take up to 25% more space than wood that is neatly stacked.

If it’s going to be outside, there’s an art and a science to stacking so it will dry out to become good quality firewood.

1. Cut and split wood into the smallest possible size. This way, it fits easily in the firebox, and more surface area is exposed, allowing it to dry faster.

2. Firewood needs sunlight and air to dry. With an outdoor stack, face cut ends into the prevailing wind, so there’s always airflow down the length of the wood; if you live in a valley, stack wood partway up a slope, so it gets more exposure to natural airflow.

3. Build a stack on a base rather than directly on the ground. Lengths of old corrugated iron or wooden pallets work well.

4. A post or tree at each end of a stack will help to support a pile, and you can tie a cover to them.

5. As you stack, keep the wood as level as possible, with a random mix of different-sized pieces, so you create natural passages for air to move through.

6. Place wood with the bark side facing up, so if any rain gets through an overhead cover, it provides protection.

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7. Round wood needs to be staggered – the row above sitting in the gap of the row below – for good stability.

8. Create a roof with a tarpaulin or, better yet, a sheet of black plastic which helps moisture to evaporate out of wood faster.

9. Dry wood means fewer bugs living in it. However, it can attract wood-eating wasps. Take care moving around or taking wood from a stack in autumn when they may still be nesting.


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NZ Lifestyle Block This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
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