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Monday, December 7, 2015

How to Stack and Store Firewood

Experienced wood-burners have a few tried and tested methods for storing firewood that can prevent wood from rotting and dry it out efficiently. Choosing the right wood, and cutting, and splitting properly are also factors to take into consideration to prepare for the next season.

When cutting wood in the forest look for dead trees first before cutting down and good healthy tree. Make sure the tree has not rotted out, then cut into lengths appropriate for the fireplace or wood stove. Next, split larger logs in to pieces so that the interior wood is exposed to the air. Wood that has not been split will not dry out.  Spitting wood is good exercise, but there are hand mechanical, electric, and gas-powered wood splitters available from $150 to $1,000 to make the job easier.

The next step is to prepare a location for the stacked wood that is away from the house and open on both sides to allow for wind to blow through and dry the wood out. Place 2 x 4s or blocks on the ground lengthwise, then stack the wood loosely in rows. By not placing wood directly on the ground it won’t rot out.

Place rebar in the ground or other support at each end to hold the wood in place. Cover with a tarp or lean-to to keep weather off of the top of the wood while allowing air to circulate through the ends.  Let wood dry for at least 6 -12 months before burning.

Wet wood at more than 20% moisture content uses a lot of energy to dry the wood out before it will burn. For this reason, an inexpensive moisture meter is a good investment.

Bring pieces of wood indoors several days before burning and place a couple of feet away from the side of the wood stove to dry it out even further. To start a fire, place 2-3 large logs on the bottom, then 2-3 medium sized logs, then very small pieces of wood, and finally kindling. Add a couple of pieces of Fatwood to the top and light the fatwood with a match. This is the top-down burn method which has been proven to be cleaner burning and longer lasting. Fatwood is the center part of the pine tree and lights very easily.

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