Woodshed Rules

  • First, if you have a choice, build a woodshed near the back door

Log totes are a must if you heat with wood. See this one and more at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Don’t forget that you or someone will be struggling toward the kitchen door with an armload of wood in two feet of snow. If your woodshed isn’t or can’t be moved close to the back door, at least create a safe and direct route from one point to the other.

  • It’s never quite time to cut wood until it gets cold

It never seems so important as that first frosty morning when you realize that your woodpile is still soaking up sun and offering warm hiding places for mice while your house is frigid. The lesson is to cut and stack your wood before you’re ready to. When you’re finally ready to
tackle it, you’ll be glad that it’s all done and you can sit down near the stove, take off your shoes and enjoy the first cheerfully crackling, wonderfully smelling, contentment-inducing fire of the year.

  • Never stack wood higher than the shortest people in the family can reach

Stacking wood higher than whoever is going to unstack it can be dangerous. A dozen chunks of wood falling on your head and body can leave bruises and broken bones. Although it may seem funny, particularly to younger family members, it’s a real danger.

  • Wood splits much easier when it’s cold

Mauls and other top-quality wood splitting equipment can be found at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

It splits even better if it’s frozen. (You needed an excuse to not split it all right now, didn’t you?)

  • Leave enough room to walk into the woodshed!

It’s great to get enthused about getting in enough wood for the winter, but don’t forget that you have to get in and out of the woodshed. Keep the stacked wood away from the door to avoid having snow or rain blow in when you’re trying to load your arms. That means you
have to have room to actually step inside to load up.

  • Better an inch too short than an inch too long

What’s more frustrating than a stick of wood that’s one inch too long to fit in the firebox no matter how you turn it? I knew a man once who habitually cut the longest pieces of wood he thought he could get away with, to keep from making more cuts. More than once, the wood went back for a second cut when it didn’t fit. It would have been faster to do it right the first time.

Small and large ash carriers available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

  • Hard wood is harder to split but it lasts longer

A piece of good hardwood can be a real bear to split properly even with the best tools, but once you’ve got it split, you’ve got fire and heat for a long time. Soft wood splits easier but it burns up fast so you have to split at least twice as much. That means you’ll have to haul twice as much, store twice as much and carry in twice as much. Yes, and haul out twice as many ashes.

  • A good axe is worth more than its price, no matter what that is

Handmade by Swedish craftsmen, the Gransfors Bruks axe is available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron. See more axes in our Kidron location.

There are axes and then there are axes. While part of the right axe depends on you – your weight and height and muscle tone – the biggest part of a good axe is that it’s a good axe. I mean, it’s made well, it’s well balanced with quality materials. The handle is angled just right, the edge stays sharp and there’s a certain heft to it. If you go to the store to buy one, wave it around (not in people’s faces) a little bit so you can tell how it feels. If feels right, buy it even if you have to sell your baseball card collection to do it.

  • Two people stacking wood doesn’t necessarily mean twice as much wood gets stacked

Now and then people work perfectly together. Most of the time they do not. If you have to stack wood with someone else, be sure that someone else is the kind of person who looks before he swings around with an armload of wood and make sure he works in a consistent manner so you know where he is all the time. You don’t want to hit him accidentally and you don’t want to be hit accidentally either. A lot of time is wasted while you wait for the other one to finish dumping his load or when you have to stand back while he picks up another piece or two.

There’s beauty in a solid woodpile!

  • A beautiful woodstack looks like art.

But a good woodstack looks like work. That may not even need an explanation. Just because it looks pretty doesn’t mean it will work. A good woodstack is one where the wood is stacked more or less evenly, but not so shored up that when you pull a piece away, something is going to collapse beneath it. You can spend hours getting a woodstack balanced perfectly and the first time you grab an armload in a hurry, it may come undone.

About Pat Veretto

Pat is a frugal living expert with many published articles. She lives in Colorado and maintains her own Frugal Living Blog (which we love!).