10 Tricks for a Winter-Worthy Wood Stack

Money in the bank is great, but a perfectly arranged stack of wood, ready for a long winter ahead, is perhaps the ultimate feeling of security. Follow these tips to make sure you’ll have plenty of dry, seasoned wood to keep you warm, no matter how long the winter lingers.

Tip 1: Size Right
Consider the size of your stove before you start splitting your wood. Log lengths of 16 to 18 inches will fit in most stoves and fireplaces (although our Explorer III will accommodate logs 22 inches in length). The size of your logs, in turn, will help shape the size of your stack: For shorter logs (under 14 inches) keep your pile low, moving higher with longer logs.

Tip 2: Split Smart
Splitting will expose wood to air, helping it dry. Split firewood is also easier to handle and fits into fireplaces and stoves better than un-split logs.

Tip 3: Quick Dry
Your wood should be exposed to circulating air and sunshine, with as much wind blowing on it as possible. Provide cover overhead to protect it from the elements. Place logs so that so that cut ends face the direction of prevailing winds. You can toss a tarp over the wood if it’s raining, but remove it on clear, sunny days to ensure speedier drying.

Tip 4: Elevation Matters
Firewood will stay dry and avoid decomposition if it’s properly elevated. You can use cinder blocks, discarded pallets, wooden skids or simply the floor of your shed, but make sure the wood is not touching bare ground or it will begin to rot.

Tip 5: Proper Location
If all your wood is stacked against your house, you might fall prey to pests that hide there during a long, hungry winter. Keep your wood stack far enough way to protect yourself against an invasion, but close enough to make that walk to the wood pile a short stroll, not a hike.

Tip 6: Loose Stacking
While a tight stack may initially look trim and tidy, it’s not the best solution for the long haul. In his book Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way, Lars Mytting mentions an old adage that wood should be stacked loosely enough so that a mouse can run through the tunnels.

Alaska journalist Dick Callahan, in an article for the Juneau Empire newspaper, follows up with the thought that while the spaces between logs must indeed be small enough for a mouse, they should not be large enough for “a cat can follow.” Another of Callahan’s rules of thumb: Even though they’re stacked loosely, the piled logs should still be sturdy enough for a small child to run across without causing a collapse.

Tip 7: The Old Criss-Cross
In her classic Mother Earth News article, “The Science of Stacking Firewood,” Ceylon Monroe a criss-cross building pattern like that of a stone wall: one-over-two, two-over-one. This helps avoid vertical seams that could lead to collapse. As you’re stacking, remember that the volume of a wood stack will shrink anywhere from seven to 20 percent as it dries, depending on the kind of tree from which it was harvested.

Tip 8: Take Your Time
If you don’t take your time to do the job right, you could end up with rotten, soggy wood— or a complete collapse of the whole structure into a hard-to-manage mess. As with so many other jobs, this one requires patience and foresight.

Tip 9: Selfies Encouraged
“Every man looks at his wood-pile with a kind of affection,” Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden. Once all the hard work is done, take a moment to step back and admire the beauty and significance of wood well-stacked and ready for winter. If you share your wood stack photos on Facebook or Instagram, be sure to tag us (#quadrafire) and including the hashtag #woodstackskills for a chance to be featured on our page.

Tip 10: Burn it Right
Now that you’ve got that beautiful stack of wood, you’ll want to get the most out of it. Quadra-Fire wood stoves are a top seller for those who want efficient, EPA-certified stoves outfitted with the latest technologies. With Quadra-Fire, one load of wood will burn strong and produce heat for many hours, making your well-stacked wood pile last longer. And because Quadra-Fire stoves, inserts and fireplaces burn so efficiently, they produce low outside air emissions and very little ash to clean up. They are an investment that will bring you warmth, ambiance and comfort for many years to come.

To connect with a Quadra-Fire dealer near you, head here.