I read an article the other day in the newly released 2018 Farmer's Almanac about building free-standing stone walls. The guy listed a lot of dos and don'ts that would ensure they last a long time. As anyone who has ever taken a stroll through the woods, stone walls can appear just about anywhere-mainly because believe it or not at one time there were much fewer wooded areas than there are today so farmers got stones out of there pastures or gardens by building walls.
I was reminded of this article while stacking recently split firewood. It seemed to me that many of the rules applying to building a solid stone wall applied to stacking wood.
Here are a few observations:
1. Began your stack on level ground. Nothing will bring a stack of firewood down faster than that last piece of wood tipping the balance in gravity's favor.
2. Rather than have to find a way to support the end of the stack, build a system of crissed-cross logs to create a column. Make sure it's composed of the right kind of logs, i.e. a good, even flat surface and no movement as you go up.
3. Like building a rock wall where there's a rock for every place in the wall, wood piles are the same. There's a piece of wood in the pile somewhere that will fit perfectly.
4. As you get higher, try to move the stack. There should be a minimum of movement.
5. When you're finally up to 4 feet which is the optimum height and you're done, cover the top only of the stack-not the sides. Contrary to popular belief, it's not the sun that seasons wood. It's air flow through the logs.
Follow these rules and you won't find yourself going in the house, sitting down with a glass of water and hearing a series of thumps on the ground outside. I know because it's happened to me and in fact everything I've listed was learned the hard way so don't feel bad if you don't succeed the first time.
In my view there are few things more satisfying than gazing upon a nicely constructed stack of fire wood waiting for the first nip of winter.