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Skill of the Week: Store and Stack Firewood

An important part of manhood has always been about having the competence to be effective in the world — having the breadth of skills, the savoir-faire, to handle any situation you find yourself in. With that in mind, each Sunday we’ll be republishing one of the illustrated guides from our archives, so you can hone your manly know-how week by week.

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.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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