Before you learn how to stack firewood, you may want to decide whether you really want to stack it in the first place. What is the purpose of stacking firewood?
Stacking your wood creates a pile with a smaller footprint, requiring less storage area, and a neatly stack pile looks nicer than a random pile. Stacked firewood also keeps more of the wood off the ground so it can get better air circulation, which helps to keep the wood dry and clean. Many people choose to simply leave the wood in a random heap. It’s up to you to decide whether the extra labor is worth the benefits of stacking firewood.
After choosing where to store your firewood, starting with a foundation is the first step. A well built firewood rack is ideal, but not necessary. I don’t have one myself. It is best if you can stack the wood off the ground. Something as simple as a couple 2×4’s or other similar material laid down parallel on the ground is good. These should be spaced apart to accommodate the length of the pieces of firewood to be stacked perpendicular on top of them.
The purpose of this is to keep the wood off the ground. This helps keep the wood dry and clean and allows air to circulate under the wood. And with the wood being supported at the ends of the pieces, instead of the middle, helps to create a more stable stack, especially when you have uneven and crooked pieces. It’s the same concept of tires on a car being placed on the edge of the car, and not in the middle. If the tires were placed in the middle, the car would easily tip over.
After that, stacking the wood is simple. Taking a little extra care to stack the wood with the ends as even with each other and fitting the pieces together tightly will help to create a more stable stack. It is easy to not pay attention and stack the wood to where it starts to lean. If this starts to happen, you can sometimes push the leaning stack to where it is straight, but better to do it right in the first place. Too much lean and the stack could fall over.
If you don’t have a firewood rack, you can simple slope the ends of the stack. Or there are ways to make nice vertical ends if you would like. A common way is to criss cross the ends of the stack. I have done this many times and it works well, but is not always the most stable option. There are many ways to use a post or other object at the ends of the stack to make a vertical end. But that is another article for another day.
If your wood needs to be dried, a helpful technique is to leave some space between parallel stacks or between stacks and any wall or other surface. Just a few inches allows for better air circulation to help with drying.
If the wood is green, keep in mind that wood shrinks as it dries. As it shrinks, there will be some shifting. If one side is exposed to the sun or open air more than the other, that end of the individual pieces will dry and shrink faster than the other. This will cause the stack to lean in that direction. I have had many stacks fall over for that reason. One solution is to plan in advance and stack the wood with a lean in the opposite direction. And sometimes you have to keep an eye on it and push it back upright when it starts to lean too much.
And of course, think safety. Stacks of wood can and do fall over sometimes. So be sure to place them so they won’t damage anything important if they do. Check with local safety officials and do not let children climb on stacks.