Stacking Firewood

Drying your firewood before use is essential for energy efficiency.

stacked firewood
coniferconifer / Flickr (Creative Commons)

If conditions are optimal for drying, plan on stacking for a minimum of two seasons. But if it’s hard wood or wet conditions are present, plan on stacking your wood for four seasons minimum. Since you must look at the stack for that long, why not become artistic?

The World’s Most Amazing Stacked Wood Piles

david-reed-theenduringgardener-comA simple metal framework surrounded by logs of varying size at the Malvern Show, UK.


Firewood fireplace. Stacking your wood in alternating directions allows for better circulation. Image by Jaedde & Sis:

cordwood shed
Green Roof on a log walled woodshed by Wildwood Landscapes

sakonet-garden-cropWoodpile Gate at Sakonnet Garden in Little Compton, Rhode Island.


Woodpile sculpture on Waiheke Island, New Zealand.

alex-scott-porterdesignFirewood wall. Design by the super talented:

woodpile art
Cord wood spiral, Woodstock, Vermont by Ken Woodhead, 12 feet high at center.

woodpile-4Assorted wood. Image via:

Round woodstack, Erlen-Kugeln, 2007 by Urs P. Twellmann:

woodpile art
A felled tree. By Alastair Heseltine, Vancouver, BC.

Woodpile with leaf in New Zealand. Stack wood bark side up, bark keeps water out of both living trees and dead. Photo : Lyn/Neale,


A woodpile that will be hard to utilize.


Cordwood wall by expert Olle Hagman of Sweden.


Cordwood wall with flowers. Via: LaBioguia

An addition to an ancient farmhouse utilizes a wood stack along the north wall.

Cordwood wall on north side of house, south wall is completely glass.

cordwood construction
cordwood house
Stone Creek Camp, Flat Head Lake, Montana. Architect Anderrsson-Wise:

stacked firewood
Stone Creek Camp, Flat Head Lake, Montana. Architect Anderrsson-Wise:

cordwood building
cordwood house
Stone Creek Camp, Flat Head Lake, Montana. Seasoned firewood is dry and free of insects. Architects:

cordwood construction
cordwood house
Stone Creek Camp, Flat Head Lake, Montana. Stone wall on left, wood wall to right. Architects:

cordwood house
Cordwood Home of Armin Blasbichler. Cordwood and clocks are sandwiched between glass.

stacked firewood
Crates and logs. After wood has seasoned outside for a year, the wildlife has moved out and the dampness is gone. Swedish designers, Studio St Paul.

firewood-wall-interiorFirewood wall at Parliament Design Offices.

Firewood alcove. Via:

wallmount-sculptural-firewoodFirewood holder by Olle Lundberg, California.

woodpile art
Perfectly stacked firewood.

firewood wall
The Cambrian Hotel by Peter Silling & Associates, Switerland.

firewood art
Firewood faced fireplace.

cordwood wall
Cordwood in the bathroom. Must be stacked in clear resin.

woodpile art
Birch wood panelled wall. How-to:
Another similar wall here:

firewood art
Cordwood in an insect hotel.

stacked firewood
Lean-to covered woodpile in Poland.

firewood art
Create woodpile homes. Bark side up for roof shingles to deter rain. Don’t forget to build houses for the occupant’s pets as well!

firewood art
Adding flowers to your woodpile is a nice touch.

woodpile art
Woodpile in Italy. The metal roof is a good idea. Lots more photos:

olle-hagmanCordwood wall by cordwood expert Olle Hagman of Sweden.

See more Cordwood Houses & Cordwood Construction.

Wood Heats Twice

“Wood heats twice” as you work up a sweat choping, spliting and stacking, and again when you burn it. Actually your wood will dry fastest exposed to direct sunlight, but in wet environments it is best to cover it.

How To Tell If Wood Is Dry

The efficiency losses from burning wet wood (30-50% moisure content) vs dry wood (15-20%) is about 30%.

  • Dry wood is lighter in weight.
  • Dry wood has cracks in its end grain.
  • If you bang two pieces of dry wood together, the sound is hollow, whereas wet wood makes a dull thud.
  • Firewood darkens with age, from white or cream to gray or yellow.
  • The exposed face of a freshly split piece of seasoned wood feels warm and dry, but green wood feels cool and damp.
  • Wet wood hisses and sizzles when burned and dry wood doesn’t.

Or buy a wood moisture meter (around $25) to test your wood.

Wood Stacking Resources

Written by Keiren

Keiren is an artist who lives in New York City. A lover of animals, nature, science & green building. Keiren originally founded Inspiration Green in 2007, which merged with Insteading in 2016.


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  1. Inspiring creativity – both beauty and utility. But some wood boring pests are hard to detect, any easy and safe means to prevent (or remove) them from making home inside (or outside)?

  2. Lovely art in utility. My piles are much more utilitarian.

    A trick is to harvest just dead trees, to leave trees standing and to cut trees and then live full log piles for a few years if you don’t have time to cut it all. We burn cull wood from our forest and tend to collect it in spurts every few years, leaving the logs to dry. They would dry faster cut and split but we don’t always have the time to do that during the warm seasons. If we have gathered logs when we can then we block and split as time allows at random times in the year, often during the winter. Frozen wood splits nicely. Wackity-wack.

    Fortunately we only burn three quarters cord of wood a year to heat our tiny cottage so it’s easy to put up several years quickly just from dead wood.

  3. Hello!

    interested me much information that went up.

    I could send everything related to natural building, ecology, whatever is useful for sustainable living ..

    Regards, Luciana

    Ah … I trducido the Spanish -. Thanks!

  4. As a child in the 50s we would cut up our firewood throughout the year. By summers end we would have a huge pile on the sunny side of our woodshed. Our dad would show us how to make designs as we stacked the wood in the shed. He would have loved these pictures.

  5. has anyone seen tree rounds used as fence posts? I would love to see pictures of fence posts made of tree rounds, ones preferably 2 feet were thicker. I would think that Cedar would be preferred, perhaps they could be stacked by themselves or they could possibly have a course steak and them to hold them up in place. My thoughts were too staple 20 foot sections of hardwire to them. Otherwise I bolts could be screwed into them and they could be wait with carabiners.

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