After you split firewood, you want to stack it up and store it to begin the seasoning process and prepare it for burning. Firewood should be stored for a minimum of 6 months, and during that time you want to ensure it loses as much moisture as possible by exposing it to ample sunlight and air circulation. As noted above, while both elements are important, sun exposure should be prioritized over wind direction. If your backyard or property has inconsistent wind patterns, the stack should be aligned so that it catches the west-to-east winds which are common in North America.
You’ll know when your wood is ready for stove or fireplace by sight and sound: Check the ends of your firewood for hairline cracks that spiderweb across the grain, and bang the wood together; a low thud sound means you’re good to go, but a sharp clap means it still needs time.
If you’ve waited six months and your wood still doesn’t seem ready, your stack may be out of whack; check the guidelines above for tips on how it might be improved.
1. Choose a site with sun exposure and plan on orienting your stack so its length runs perpendicular to the direction of the prevailing wind. If wind is less consistent in your area, align your stack north to south to catch west-east wind.
2. Lay pressure-treated 2x4s down as a base to set your firewood on so that ground moisture does not seep up into the wood.
3. Build a tower at one end of your stack, laying 2-4 pieces of split wood down parallel to each other and then topping them with 2-4 more pieces, laid perpendicular. Stack until your tower is 6 levels high.
4. Build another tower at the other end of your base. These towers will serve as supports to hold the firewood stacked between them.
5. Start stacking your split wood between the towers, maximizing air movement (which helps dry the wood), rather than fitting wood to stack tightly.
6. Continue stacking up to the height of your end towers. If necessary, use poles or trimmed branches to prop up your stack from falling. Use a tarp to cover.