A lot of thought goes into how to stack your firewood as, after all, it will be there for a long time while it is seasoning. So, you want it to maximize efficiency while also looking nice. Thankfully the perfect solution for this is stacking your firewood in round piles. Although, it gets a lot more technical than that.
Why stack firewood?
To quickly sum it up; stacking firewood is essential to the process of seasoning as it lets the wood dry a bit before being burnt. As you know, wood has a high moisture content which makes it smoke lots when burning unless it has been seasoned.
Stacking firewood lets it season while also taking up little space and being efficient in every sense of the word. This means quick seasoning, little space being taken up, convenience, and also not being too difficult to do.
Different stacking methods
There are lots of different methods when it comes to stacking firewood, and each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The main goal of this method is to make sure that you aren’t just piling the wood in one place. If you picture the inside of your pile, you don’t want it to be a solid mass, it needs gaps and space so that air can flow through with ease. To do this, you can use odd-shaped pieces to offset each row and create the necessary gaps.
To make it easier, you can stack the wood up against a fence. This adds support to your wood stack which means you can build it higher and denser without risking it falling.
Covering the top
Once you have a well-made firewood pile, there are a few things you can do to help optimize the process. This includes covering the top so that rain does not soak through the pile and undo any seasoning that has taken place.
The perfect thing for this is some tarpaulin as it allows the heat and sun to still help the wood dry, but is completely waterproof. Another way to help with this is to keep your bark facing upwards as water is less likely to absorb through the tough bark. This also helps the water naturally drain from the wood.
Keep your wood stacks elevated
It is essential to have a few inches of space between your wood and the ground. This is because the timber will absorb moisture from the ground which will ruin the first couple of rows. To stop this, use some pressure-treated wood, pallets, or anything else that is sturdy and non-absorbant. Wet wood is not ideal to burn, and it would be a waste to lose the first couple of rows of your firewood to something as easily preventable as this.
Round Wood Piles
American woodpiles are typically rectangular and make use of the previously described tips, but over in Europe, it is a lot more common for the firewood stacks to be round. Both Norway and Germany are famed for their round firewood stacks as they boast a high level of efficiency while still looking visually appealing.
Norwegian round stack
This stack is typically built on top of a pallet to avoid ground moisture ruining any firewood. The method consists of making a round wooden formation that is covered by barked wood at the top to avoid rain-absorbing into the pile itself. The round stack is initially built by standing in the middle of it and working your way upwards. Once the structure reaches a few feet in height, it is continued with you on the outside of it.
After completion, the hollow inside is filled with odd-sized pieces and smaller bits of wood. There is no special pattern to the top of this structure, it is as simple as just placing large bits of wood with the bark facing upwards on top of the Norwegian round stack.
The Holz Hausen is a german method of storing firewood that boasts impressive efficiency in drying and storage without taking up too much space. The Holz Hausen method also requires no rack or exterior support as it is entirely self-supporting.
How to build a Holz Hausen
Building a Holz Hausen can be quite difficult at first, but once you understand the pattern, it gets quite easy to replicate.
Start by driving your stake a foot deep into the ground. This will help mark the center of your Holz Hausen. Measure 5 and one half up from ground level and mark your stake at that level.
After this, start to lay your firewood around the stake with approximately one-foot width between the stake and your firewood. Assuming the firewood is roughly shaped like a long pyramid, you want to place the point facing towards the center. This will mean you have the larger and wider side of the firewood facing outwards.
Using a tape measure, or even a stick, go along the bottom layer and place each piece until the circle is complete. The pieces used here will want to be more controlled and neat however, the beauty of the Holz Hausen is that even the weird and ugly pieces are eventually used. So don’t throw them away!
After the lower layer is finished and is now a complete circle, you will want to start placing your firewood in the same manner but lengthways. With the thinner halves being on the inside, you will now want to continue stacking your firewood until you start to form a sturdy base.
If you notice that the angle of some pieces is starting to look off, readjust them by using thinner or thicker pieces. It is best to catch this early so it does not become a bigger issue.
A Holz Hausen is typically stacked to about 6-7 feet tall so when you reach the marking on your stake, it is time to change the method of how you stack the rest of your firewood.
Before building a roof for this, make sure to throw any loose bits of split wood or firewood inside the Holz Hausen, they will still season properly and will also help add support to the structure.
To make the roof of the structure, continue building as normal but reverse your technique. Place the firewood with the thinner bits on the outside with the thicker bits on the inside. This will create a slope forming in the opposite direction to the rest of your Holz Hausen.
Once your roof reaches a natural point, it can be covered with bark or any other covering to prevent moisture. If using a sheet of tarpaulin, make sure it is tied down so that it does not fall off due to prevailing winds. Covering the top layer of your Holz Hausen will help with the seasoning process as less moisture will find its way in.
What firewood is used for stacking?
Firewood stacking relies heavily on physics and if things go wrong, it may topple over or form the wrong shape. So it is important to know how to cut your firewood so you don’t use the wrong pieces and ruin something.
Firewood is just split wood or cut wood from a tree. It is typically triangular with the bark forming a natural curve on one side. Split firewood doesn’t have a designated size, so that is up to you. Obviously, the pieces will be a certain size depending on the tree you cut them from, but they can always be made smaller if needs be.
As mentioned when building a Holz Hausen, even the odd bits get used so it is worth keeping all of your firewood just in case it comes in handy.
While the idea of having big square piles of wood on your property may sound horrible, thankfully they can be made visually appealing and efficient. Round woodpiles are for sure going to make your secret passion of seasoning firewood a more enjoyable task. After this, you can sit back and witness your glorious firewood stack standing proudly.