Tom here today guest posting on my wife’s blog.
I’m constantly seeking out free burnable wood. I even look on Facebook marketplace and Craigslist for chunked wood that I can pick up in a trailer and take home to split.
Why? Because we live in Buffalo, NY where it’s cold most of the year. Heat is expensive. During the day we heat our home almost exclusively from our wood burner.
But you don’t just want to split wood and burn it. Too fresh, too green.
It’s best to let the wood sit for at least a year to season if not two years before you burn it.
This makes the wood dryer which allows it to burn hotter which ultimately prevents creosote which is toxic and can cause a fire in the chimney or on the roof. Bad!
Therefore it was time to build more racks to allow the wood to season properly. For our family’s safety if nothing else!
Question. Why not just buy a rack? The main reason is that this rack can be built exactly to the size you need plus it will last you longer than those cheap metal racks that rust.
And I wanted two racks right now and over time will likely make a third. Three racks are pricey!
So here’s how I built an easy DIY log rack. If you burn wood or know anyone who does, this is the post to read.
Supplies needed to build an easy DIY log rack to season wood
- Mitre saw or circular saw or jigsaw (or any saw that you can cut a 2 x 4 with
- Treated 2 x 4’s. Height (4) recommended 8′ or less, length (3) recommend 10′ or less, and depth (4) recommended 14″ or less.
- Drill or screw driver
- Exterior wood screws (only a handful needed per stack a few more if the provided screws with bracket kit aren’t quality)
- Log storage wood bracket kit (should be four in a pack) I bought one at Home Depot for $15.
Prepare the area to build easy DIY log rack to season wood
You will want to elevate your wood rack unless it is being placed directly on stone or cement.
Unfortunately critters like mice and rats are attracted to wood piles that are in direct contact with the ground.
I used cement blocks. You can see based on the pictures below that you need to have your base level in both directions.
If you are propping your wood stacker up against your house or other structure like a shed, make sure you come out from the wall about 5-6 inches.
This gives you ample room for your logs on both sides of the stacker.
Depth of log rack to season & store firewood
Cut your 2 x 4’s to desired depth. Most recommend 14″ or less.
Your top two can be shorter than your bottom or you can make them all the same like I did.
Slip two log brackets onto the opposite ends of the pre cut 2 x 4’s. Thread screws through pre-drilled log brackets and secure to 2 x 4.
Repeat steps for the other side
Slip two pre-cut 2 x 4’s into the log brackets as shown.
Thread one screw through each pre-drilled hole in log brackets and secure to the 2 x 4.
I used the full length of a 2 x 4 x 8. Be advised that most people would find this too high and you’d likely go shorter when building yours. Unless you don’t mind using a ladder. Being tall, this doesn’t bother me. Just a warning the taller your stack is the less secure it can become.
Repeat for the other side
Add your length 2 x 4’s
Add depth support
The manufacturer of the bracket kit recommends staying under 4 feet in height. I like going bigger so I can store more wood.
If you decide to go bigger you need to add support 2 x 4’s for depth and length.
Add length support
Use your outdoor wood screws to secure 2 x 4’s.
You can use the same dimensions as the base.
At this point it’s much easier to tip wood stacker on it’s side to complete this step.
Where to place your DIY log rack
Do your best to keep the rack protected from the elements like snow, ice and rain.
Try not to overload the racks and stack and distribute the wood evenly.
If you notice you’re 2 x 4’s wear out over time replace them.
If you notice it leaning forward, readjust your stacker before it falls. The taller the stack the more picky you need to be choosing wood that is even and doesn’t have any knots..
And obviously, this stacker propped up against a wall is probably best. Then you can lean the logs slightly back towards the structure.
You could place this stacker in between two trees, too.
Or any spot where you have the space, but you don’t want to build it too high as there’s no structure to give it support.
Do as I say not as I do…
The weight here was not evenly distributed and it’s best to use wood that doesn’t have knots.
Make a separate smaller stack for uneven wood.
Some people put a lose tarp on top of the wood to protect the wood from rain, sleet and snow.
The tarp will also help season the wood keeping it dryer.
Why cut wood in summer?
So why are we so wood focused now when we have months again before hardcore wood burning? For one, we make lots of outdoor fires in our fire pit making s’mores.
Also, if you wait to long, wood becomes high demand and you’ll struggle to find free wood even on Facebook Marketplace.
But in late summer…..lots of people are taking down trees, chunking them and loading them curbside. Yours for the taking.
Plus, once you split the wood, it can start the seasoning process. The sooner, the better!