I have a wood burning stove and chop wood everyday. But....
The TV program, on the topic of firewood, consisted mostly of people in parkas chatting and chopping in the woods and then eight hours of a fire burning in a fireplace. Yet no sooner had it begun, on prime time on Friday night, than the angry responses came pouring in.
We received about 60 text messages from people complaining about the stacking in the program,” said Lars Mytting, whose best-selling book “Solid Wood: All About Chopping, Drying and Stacking Wood — and the Soul of Wood-Burning” inspired the broadcast. “Fifty percent complained that the bark was facing up, and the rest complained that the bark was facing down.”
He explained, “One thing that really divides Norway is bark.”
As this is a contentious issue with the potential to divide and unite people in important ways, I would like to know if conor dary -- a self-described chopper of wood -- is a "bark up" stacker or a "bark down" stacker. Let us not avoid taking a stand on the issues!
ps. The Things Not T&F forum continues to be an important source of my general education...not sure what that says about me, but thanks to all!
On whether the stack is indoors or out. If it's outdoors, how soon will the top of the stack be moved indoors, does the top course have to be dried quickly, will it be covered with a tarp or plastic, will the stack be exposed to rain and snow?
Indoors is bark down. Pull the top log out of the bin and knock the loose bark and bugs back into the bin, letting all the junk settle to the bottom. You probably want to avoid burning badly decayed bark. Burning bad bark and bugs can be bad for your eyes and lungs.
If the wood is outdoors and it's not rainy or snowy and you need to dry quickly, bark down for the top course. And if the stack is tarped, you can do bark down. Bark down will dry and age the wood more quickly as it's exposed to the sun. Bark down will also promote decaying bark to flake off and filter to the bottom of the pile.
But if the top course is exposed to rain and snow, it's bark up as you use the bad part of the split log to serve as a shield to keep the good wood dry.
Another important factor for the stack is to avoid packing it so tightly that the logs aren't exposed to the air. The stack has to breathe to allow the logs to dry and age. And when building the stack it's best to lay a pallet or skid at the bottom to keep the logs off the ground. If the logs are above the ground you can intersperse bark up with down. If the logs are directly on the ground, it's best to use your most rotten logs on the bottom, bark down, as insulation.
At least that's how I learned stacking from my father and several uncles, all of whom grew up in northern Minnesota, born to a father who was a logger for the better part of his life.
Thanks, dj, very interesting. The bark up or down I had no idea about, but it makes a lot of sense. The pallet under the wood is essential. Otherwise you just get a mess underneath. I built a wood shed a few years ago and keep a supply there. And the rest, 3 piles at the moment, I keep covered with tarps.
Logging has always been big in Northern Minnesota, but quite a bit less these days. My grandparents moved up there in the 1940's and one of the properties they bought was some land a logger had just cleared and didn't need, so he sold it, 40 acres, to my grandfather for $100. And not some isolated spot, but on a road and a half mile from Lake Vermillion.
My family had a large dedicated woodshed and stacked broader grained West Coast Douglas Fir and Red Cedar with the bark up. We preferred to grab the wood with a single overhand grip which also built up the wrists for baseball season.