How To Keep Firewood Dry – Without A Woodshed

Anyone who stores an abundance of split wood for heating purposes knows how important it is to keep the wood aired and dry. Now, it’s great if you have a purpose built woodshed to store all of your wood. Whether you buy it in pre-cut or do the cutting and splitting yourself. But maybe you have several locations around your property and a single woodshed doesn’t make sense.

Or perhaps you just want to keep costs down as much as possible. What you need is a more practical approach to keeping your firewood dry – without a woodshed.

How NOT to dry your firewood

For years I piled up my wood on a patch of ground in a (kind of) orderly pile and threw a tarpaulin over it. I’d then place some blocks down to stop the tarp flying away. This definitely kept the rain off.

The problem with this method is that although it is protected from rain, when the wood starts to release moisture it has nowhere to go. It just condensates on the inside of the tarp and rains back down onto the wood. It’s actually a perfect system for keeping the moisture IN the wood. Freshly cut wood can contain nearly half its weight in water so that needs to be allowed out to make good firewood.

To add to this, there is no way for the air to flow underneath the woodpile. The ground moisture is just sucked up into the wood. To create the perfect environment for drying wood, we need the air to circulate freely around and underneath the woodpile.

The perfect environment for drying wood

The base

When I say environment I simply mean the way in which we are going to store our woodpile to ensure adequate protection from the elements and maximum airflow around the whole thing.

First you need pallets. This is the simplest and easiest way to get your logs off the ground to prevent moisture ingress, mould and insects. A simple pallet base will provide ample room for air to flow underneath your woodpile.

If you have a full cord of split logs for example, you’re going to need enough pallets to cover an 8ft x 4ft footprint. Standard pallet size is 48in x 40in so you’ll be fine with 4 – it just depends what size of pallets you can get. Obviously with more wood say for 2 – 4 cords you need to have a bigger base.

Ideally if these bases are going to be situated for a long time, its best to have the pallets sitting on some pressure treated lumber to avoid the pallets rotting over time due to the contact with the ground.

Stacking the wood

Just throwing your wood onto the pallets is not what we want. To achieve the best results and to maximise space we need to STACK the wood. You need to do this on two sides in order to contain the rest of the wood. Remember Sheldon and the giant Jenga?

Properly stacked woodpile
Perfect!

This is what we want to do with our wood. 3 pieces one way, the 3 above go the other way and so on until we have a neat stack about 4 feet high. Do this until you’ve essentially built walls on two sides of your base then just fill up the center with tightly packed logs.

This allows the air to penetrate deep into the center pile and you have a solid STACK of logs rather than a pile. Well done you! Now for the roof.

The roof

Now, to keep the rain off our stack of logs all we need is a simple tarp to form a tent. This is far more effective than just throwing one over the stack because it allows the air to circulate all around and any moisture released from the wood will simply run down the sides away from the wood.

Ideally you want a couple of adjacent trees to fix the tarp to, to ensure the tent clears the stack without touching any of the wood. This is SO important to avoid any condensation run-off making its way back into the wood. If you don’t have the trees, a couple of tall posts either side with a cross-beam will be required. Any way you can find to keep the tent away from your wood is desirable.

Peg it down with some tent stakes and there we have it… The perfect, simple and ideal environment for your firewood.

Full video – The inexpensive solution to dry wood

Many thanks to Charles Long for making this video. I keep all my newly-cut firewood this way and for me there is no better way to ensure it is thoroughly dried and ready to burn. Take a look at his method below… How to keep firewood dry – Without a woodshed:

Conclusion

There is so much advice online for the ‘best’ way to keep your logs dry. Its really quite simple:

1. Keep it off the ground

2. Stack it in a way that the air can circulate around, above and below

3. Cover it so the wood is protected from rain and snow

4. Any moisture released from the wood is diverted away from the pile

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