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stacked firewood
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How to Stack Firewood Like a Pro

A good woodpile should offer protection from the elements, airflow, ease of retrieval, and no chance of toppling over.

By Katy Kelleher
Illustrations by Kelsey Grass
From our January 2023 issue

Esoteric Approaches

For some, an unstacked cord is a call from the muse to make site-specific art. A good woodpile should offer protection from the elements, airflow, ease of retrieval, and no chance of toppling over, even under the weight of heavy snow. With that accomplished, almost anything goes. Portland potter Ayumi Horie once ran a woodpile-appreciation Facebook group that collected and posted photos of woodpile labyrinths, grand pyramids, and archways, along with stacks shaped like wild animals or fallen trees. “It’s the simple pleasure of putting together a puzzle with no instructions,” Horie says. “Once the rules are learned, any form
can take shape.”

The Pillar Method

In Maine, the simple rack of wood reigns supreme. Straightforward and classic, this method involves laying split logs atop each other, ends facing outwards, until they form a roughly eight-foot line of wood, buttressed on each end by pillars of logs arranged in crisscross formation. It’s easy, fairly stable, and allows decent airflow between the rows.

In the Round

The Norwegians and Germans, among others, are fond of this attractive approach. Arrange layers of wood in a circle at a consistent radius around a central point (ideally atop a ground cloth), creating a circular wall with a hollow core (imagine a grain silo with stacked-wood walls). Into the well-ventilated center, toss irregular logs and scrap wood. The Germans call it a holz hausen and stack flatter, shingle-like pieces on top to create a peaked roof. Horie is a fan of this style for how it “brings us back to being a kid again.” She adds a little door to each of hers. “It has no real function,” she says — just a dose of whimsy.

Read Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Heating With Wood for more woodstove tips.


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