Drying in 4-row stacks

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,767
Philadelphia
I’ve been stacking in 2-row formation for, well.. forever. It has always dried well, but taken up too much space for my 30 cords. It would also not favor storing under a roof, which is my latest plan.

e290d650b0cfc71554b3cc0a0fae8a34.jpg

As you can see, I have a lot of empty racks right now, so it’s my chance to reconfigure. I have 20 cords in logs staged to be processed this fall.

I’m thinking of building six 6’W x 16’L sheds, which are accessible from both sides, and would allow me to stack in quadruple row form with my 18” length splits down the length of each shed. In other words, four 18” wide rows of 16’ length each.

I’m doing all dense hardwoods, most often red oak, so drying is a concern. Who has experience with drying wood this way? Will 2-3 summers under roof in four rows still get the job done?
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,767
Philadelphia
Oh, and I guess it would be possible to hang some plastic down each side as a curtain, to turn each into a backyard kiln.
 

Sawset

Feeling the Heat
Feb 14, 2015
471
Palmyra, WI
Everything here is in 3 rows of 23". Mostly oak and cherry. 3yr (summer) rotation. Uncovered, SE Wisc. Full sun, open to the wind, stacks run east-west. So far everything dries down, lights easy, burns clean.
3x23 would be close to 4x18.
Winter supply is brought in under cover mid august.
This summer I did cover some with tarpaper just as insurance against rain before being brought in. Usually we get a pretty good mid summer drought, not so much this year. The tarpaper was cheap and easy, and didn't blow around, kind of softened and molded into place.
Permanent structures would be nice, but at least here not necessary. Also, 2yr rotation might be an issue with oak, not sure, I have not tried it. I know the rain situation in philly, and bet your itching to end all that. I'm thinking under cover, 4 rows would do ok.
 

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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,081
NE Ohio
If it can get the better part of 3 years drying time you will be fine IMO. Many people do as you are suggesting, only by top covering instead of an actual roof...I think your roof plan will flow air even better, sooo...
 

Bushels20

Feeling the Heat
May 20, 2018
342
OH
I do rows of 3 (not 4) with about 3-4 inches in between each row on pallets. 16” splits. 3 years of seasoning backed up to an open 100 acre crop field. No sun until mid afternoon but a steady breeze almost every day off the field.

I top cover the current years splits about this time of year. Do not top cover anything until then.

I think adding one extra row (making it 4) in my case like you propose would have no effect on drying. I simply don’t because pallets only hold 3 rows of 16 inch splits for me.

Added some photos of 2021’s splits and this years. Been stacking this way for 8 years now with good success. I think airflow in between each row is key.

I saw on a thread the other day someone mentioned using pallets as separators for each row. A very good idea I think I will start using when I start stacking this winter.
 

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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,767
Philadelphia
I saw on a thread the other day someone mentioned using pallets as separators for each row. A very good idea I think I will start using when I start stacking this winter.
Actually, that just settled it, for me. I can do 2 rows + pallet + 2 rows, which will give me good airflow up the center of the stack.

Now we just need to debate the orientation of the pallets. >>
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,081
NE Ohio
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Sawset

Feeling the Heat
Feb 14, 2015
471
Palmyra, WI
When us kids would be messing around in the corn cribs, and get cobs down in the center air shafts, dad would threaten to make us clean them back out. We never had to, but we sure stopped screwing around. Cobs would rot without air, bad deal.
Just that it gets some air. I leave 6 or so inches between stacks. Keeps the air moving it seems.
 
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Bushels20

Feeling the Heat
May 20, 2018
342
OH
Actually, that just settled it, for me. I can do 2 rows + pallet + 2 rows, which will give me good airflow up the center of the stack.

Now we just need to debate the orientation of the pallets. >>
I wish I could orient mine from west to east to allow the air to pass through more effectively. But that would run the stacks way out into the yard since our lot runs east to west. So I have to run north to south. Stacking along the back yard (long ways).

If possible, I would try and capitalize on the direction of the prevailing wind and let it pass through the stacks.

Ultimately, I still have great firewood. But maybe i could do it in 2 years instead of 3 if I could run west/east.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
10,492
Southern IN
Now we just need to debate the orientation of the pallets. >>
Funny you should mention that. These cheesy non-Oak pallets I've been scrounging don't last long. I've been thinking that orienting the pallets with the 2x4s perpendicular, they might hold up better. Plus, I'd have a full 48" width to stack three rows wide. I found out that a guy I know works at a pallet place, and I'm thinking maybe I can get some better pallets, Oak or something. Or even plastic..although I abhor plastic from an environmental standpoint..
A shed is definitely in my future though..
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,767
Philadelphia
Sketch of shed plan coming in next day or two, but in the meantime, what do you guys think of placing this on a leveled gravel base? I’ve been stacking on pallets elevated on pavers, and they always just sink into the dirt and rot, even the treated ones.

Since I’ll be stacking on the base of these portable sheds, to keep a hurricane or winter storm from taking them away, I want them to be well-supported. Ground is not presently level, but could be easily leveled with 2 yards = 16’ x 6’ x 6” + perimeter of crushed stone beneath each.

Only remaining question is keeping a base that deep of gravel in place, but I suspect 3/4” modified may compact well enough to mostly hold together. If not, I need to think about a form or wire.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,081
NE Ohio
Get #304 crushed stone mix from your local stone/aggregate supplier...it will compact well and eventually turn hard almost like concrete. If the hill is steep and you need it to be deep on one side, maybe consider digging out the high side a bit, or yeah, may have to make a "retention wall" out of treated 2x material...or something...
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,767
Philadelphia
Land is actually reasonably flat, but there is one low spot at the end of the row. I may do a little leveling of the dirt in that area, before bringing in gravel.

In any case, here's the shed concept. Haven't added any cross-bracing to the model yet, will get to that tomorrow. Will be building one prototype to make final adjustments, then at least a half dozen of these. Footprint is 16' x 6', with 14.5' x 6' of that usable for wood. Roof is 16' x 7' 2", for 7" - 9" overhang all-around.

2019 wood shed 16x6 4cord roof off.jpg
 
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mar13

Member
Nov 5, 2018
160
Humboldt coast, California
Would it be floating or would you have beams connected to earth either by cemented in ground orlag bolted to cemented braces? (A question I can't seem to decide on for my own future shed)
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,767
Philadelphia
Needs to be portable, since I’m infringing on a few zoning ordinances. Even the gravel base is causing me some concern.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,081
NE Ohio
So I assume when you say portable, you mean that you will be able to hook on with your truck or tractor and just drag it to a new location?
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,767
Philadelphia
So I assume when you say portable, you mean that you will be able to hook on with your truck or tractor and just drag it to a new location?
You got it. I figure if it’s portable, like that, I can argue it’s not even technically a building. It’s just a large “cupboard”.

For the base, I’m leaning toward making my own custom-thickness pavers to go under this thing. Four-foot spacing of 16” diameter, so five across and three deep. I’d make them by cutting sonotubes to the length required, and setting them in the desired locations. Pour up to level depth, and voila... custom thickness “paver” footings.

The key is that they’re floating on surface, not dug to any depth. Yes, they will seasonally heave and sink, but I think that’s likely okay, just as a gravel bed would do. The point is that I can always drag the shed off them, and pick them up, if I have to prove it’s portable.
 
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Bushels20

Feeling the Heat
May 20, 2018
342
OH
Get #304 crushed stone mix from your local stone/aggregate supplier...it will compact well and eventually turn hard almost like concrete. If the hill is steep and you need it to be deep on one side, maybe consider digging out the high side a bit, or yeah, may have to make a "retention wall" out of treated 2x material...or something...

+1 on the 304. I have used this many times both on the farm as a kid and also now at my own home. If tamped down, it sets very hard.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,767
Philadelphia
Okay guys, decision time. Ordering some lumber. Base and uprights will be in direct contact with firewood, and will be pressure-treated, but the rest is up for debate. The ridge and other eight 2x6x16' beams, the rafters, and the roof sheathing are all non-contact. Reducing weight up high would be attractive, and not having to figure out what rafter connectors can stand up to PT contact would also be nice. I'm thinking of going with non-treated lumber for all or several of those overhead components.

Thoughts?

View attachment 247625
 

Bushels20

Feeling the Heat
May 20, 2018
342
OH
Okay guys, decision time. Ordering some lumber. Base and uprights will be in direct contact with firewood, and will be pressure-treated, but the rest is up for debate. The ridge and other eight 2x6x16' beams, the rafters, and the roof sheathing are all non-contact. Reducing weight up high would be attractive, and not having to figure out what rafter connectors can stand up to PT contact would also be nice. I'm thinking of going with non-treated lumber for all or several of those overhead components.

Thoughts?

View attachment 247625
I may have missed a post on the type of roofing you will be using. But ultimately, if you’re using a “real” roofing system that won’t leak, pressure treated lumber aside from what you already plan on using would be a waste of funds and would make the structure very heavy, which you elude to.

I did just re-roof my 3 seasons room this month and would say (although it contradicts making the structure light) that using 3/4 CDX plywood for your sheathing will make a big difference over 1/2 inch. I had to remove 1/2 inch off my roof and upgraded to 3/4 and the “sturdiness” I feel afterwards is so much more reassuring.
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
9,879
Nova Scotia
I would orient the stacks so prevailing winds blow at the ends of the stacks, rather than at the side of the stacks.

The wind going across the ends of the splits will pull moisture out of the stacks. And when the wind carries rain, it won't drive that into the sides of your stacks. I can look out the window when its raining and most times I can see dry ends of splits.

Due to my yard layout, I have two rows, at 90° to each other. The one with its end facing prevailing winds always seems to do better. In my case, prevailing wind comes from the south, so I also get sun exposure on each side of that stack.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,081
NE Ohio
I'm thinking of going with non-treated lumber for all or several of those overhead components.
That's what I would do...
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,767
Philadelphia
Thanks, guys. I think we all agree, treated below, non-treated above.

Those uprights are up for debate. My thinking was to go PT, because I want them to last 20+ years, they are exposed to weather, and in contact with potentially-infested wood. But you’re free to tell me I’m wrong!
 
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