I own a mountain cabin at 7500' elevation. It rains and snows quite a bit
We currently have our firewood stored under the deck. But, it is a pain,
and we want to move it to another location.
I had some roofing panels and metal left over from a reroof. I was
planning on making a lean to shaped structure kind of like a pole barn with
a steep roof pitch. I want to do this so that the wood would be accessible
on the high north side opening, and the south side opening would be lower,
protecting from the side that the snow and rain usually comes from. I will
make steel rails to keep the wood about a foot off the ground.
I need to store about a cord or two under this. I really don't have many
questions about the construction of the lean to, but in other areas, I do:
How long should you let wood sit before burning?
How big in cross section should you split down to?
If rain gets on sitting aged wood, how long does it take to dry out good
enough to burn?
Should I make my structure more weather tight? ( I don't want to make it an
invitation to critters and spiders)
If I spray insecticide on the wood, will it be given off in harmful vapors
when I burn?
Or should I just spray AROUND the wood, but not directly on it?
Any other suggestions?
Help appreciated by this newbie woodsman.
Depends upon the wood, but assuing you cut a green tree, not an alraeady
dead tree r deadfall, you want at least 6 mos., better a year.
Again, depends a lot on what you are going to burn it in. The big
fireplace in the "new lodge at Timberline on Mt. Hood takes wood both longer
and larger caliber than my wood stove. Rough rule of thub is 2 inches
shorter than the longest dimension ( crosswise dimension) in your burning
device. To me, nothing more than a 5 - 6 inch caliber piece after
splitting. Thats a triangle wedge shape, with to sides bare dried wood,
one side bark.
In a hot fire fueled by a lot a dry kindling, rainwater is gone in two -
three minutes. If you wood is sitting immersed in water and gets
waterlogged, 2 - 3 months.
You will always have spiders. Always handle wood with gloves. Brown
reculse is found nationwide, loves woodpiles, and is very dangerous.
GOOD GOD NO!. Dont ever put insecticde on firewood.
You need your wood about 6 inches off the ground for good air flow
underneath to dry it.
How / where are you going to obtain and store kindling?
If split and stacked out of the weather, one year is considered good
enough. Two years even better, three years is quite enough.
I think this depend on species used, type of stove, including size of
firebox and opening. A big stove and poor firewood (pine, aspen, fir
and the like) means you can split your wood little if at all. A small
stove and good firewood (oak) would mean the opposite. Do you have
How long has it been uncovered? If it has been rained on only a bit
then it wil only be wet on the surface. It wil burn in an existing
fire or could be split if needed.
Most wood sheds have four open sides. Ventilation is the key to drying
Why do yu think you need insecticide? Because of a few spiders??
Insecticides should only be used in a thougtful and careful manner, if
at all. It is certainly worth avoiding especially aroung your
dwelling where you are as likely to poison your self as you are the
Best is to have the weather side fully closed but with ventilation,
i.e., you don't want a fully open weather side but a wall going down
mostof the way with the bottom open is good.
Best is to cut one year, burn the next. This does require double the
amount of storage space though. Minimum if cutting green is 6 months.
Split it down to whatever size your stove/fireplace or whatever takes.
Very quick unless it is totally immersed. Wood takes in and loses
water through the end, not the sides. If you carry in a small armfull
and put it by the stove, it will be dry by the time yo need to feed the
A wood pile is _going_ to have 'critters and spiders' . If you have
firewood, you learn to live with them. I heat my house almost solely
with wood and rarely have a bug problem other than an overwintering
moth or two.
Yes, and no matter how much you spray, there will still be bugs in the
Do some reading on burning/heating with wood. There are a lot of
sources out there and Google is your friend.
Others have responded but here's my .02 (actually worth less than that).
Ever hear of the term "seasoned wood"? A season. Catchy huh?
Don't bring wood in from outside and let it sit all pretty inside,
ESPECIALLY in winter. Had one bud do this and suddenly had a bizillion
ants wake up! Bring it in, toss it right in the fire. The ants sometimes
Don't keep the ash can anywhere in or near the house. They do not burn
out in a matter of hours. Ashes grey and cool on the outside? Stick your
hand in the middle of the bucket for a convincing lesson. I personally
saw a neighbor burn their garage down including minivan. Lucky. Only
"stuff" got burned. Not heartbeats.
Good point. Every year Spokane WA can count on at least one numbnuts
who burns down his garage or house doing it. Some have done it by
putting the ashes in paper bags!. Ash goes two places, either spread
instanty on the lawn (over the snow/ice if you hae it) or in a METAL
bucket that is set somewhere non-flammable - not in a buildint or on a
I put mine in a metal bucket, and let it sit for two or three days or longer
with the lid on it, then spread it on the forest floor.
I recently burned for a couple of days in a 55 gallon barrel. Cleaning out
around the cabin for fire safety. I thought I had made a good barrel,
putting in a row of rebar about 1/3 the way up from the bottom, and drilling
lots of air holes in the sides.
I burned and burned and burned. The can filled up with ash, which I thought
would just compact down. Wrong. It packed until the barrel was full. I
left it for a week. When I went to empty it, it was still HOT in the
middle. I rolled out the contents, and sprayed them. Lots of steam. I was
surprised that it stayed hot that long.
Yes, ashes are dangerous, and they burn for a surprisingly long time.
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