chopping wood

How To Split, Stack and Store Firewood

This Fall we’ve had some trees on our property come down and so I’ve been busy cutting and stacking the wood. Although it’s labour intensive, I also find it satisfying to watch that stack of wood get higher and higher.

The boys are old enough to help out with the smaller wood splitting jobs and they use this good quality 36 inch splitting axe by Fiskars (7630-234 $84.99).  It’s a nice weight and basically “one-strike splits.” Visit us in store to purchase your own.

But when it comes splitting larger chunks of wood, an axe won’t do the job and a maul becomes the tool of choice. A maul has a much fatter, blunter head and a wider wedge to “split” through the wood and its weight gives you a lot more power.

chopping wood

TIP:  Avoid chopping wood directly on the ground because this softer surface can damage the edge of your axe or maul. My preferred chopping surface is a tree stump but a large block of wood, short and wide, will also absorb the blow nicely.

splitting wood with benchmark

I’m getting a bit older (and wiser!) so when I considered the number of cords I’d be splitting and stacking this year, I invested in this Benchmark gas log splitter (Reg. $1199.99, on Sale $999.97 until Oct 20th, 2021). It has made the task a lot easier and faster!

We also carry electric log splitters including the Benchmark brand (Reg. $549.99 Sale $399.97 until Oct 20th, 2021) and Radley brand (Reg. $299.99).

benchmark gas splitter
benchmark electric log splitter
radley electric log splitter

DID YOU KNOW?:  Firewood is sold in measurements called cords and half-cords. A cord of stacked firewood measures 8 feet long by 4 feet high by 4 feet deep, or 128 cubic feet. A half-cord is half as long (so 4 feet × 4 feet × 4 feet), or 64 cubic feet.

To make the job of stacking easier, I highly recommend a log stacker like this one by MD Building Products (5515-781 $18.49) . It keeps my firewood neatly stacked and easily accessible. It can stack up to one face cord and it keeps the logs off the ground so they stay dry.

log stacker


TIP:  When stacking wood try using a crisscross pattern - alternate between vertical and horizontal directions as you pile. It will result in not only a more stable woodpile but also let the wood breathe so it stays dry.

My wife Rose likes everything around the house “look nice” including the wood (sigh!), so she recently brought home this black mission-style log rack that’s both functional and attractive. We also carry these 4 foot and 8 foot deluxe log racks (5515-776 and 5515-777) as well as their covers (5515-778 5515-779).

vertical log bin
log racks

Patience is a virtue when it comes to being able to burn your woodpile. The rule of thumb is that firewood should be stored for a minimum of 6 months, ideally in a location it will get a lot of sun and wind, so it dries out adequately. You don’t want it to get rained on consistently so cover the top of it (but not the sides) with a tarp or invest in a cover. 

How to tell if it’s ready to burn?  I check to see if it has lightened in colour to a light grey or tan. I hit two pieces together and want to hear a solid cracking noise and not a dull thud. Another promising sign is if some of the bark has started to fall off. 

chopping wood with dad

It may end up taking me many hours of hard work to finish this chore but I always find the warmth and crackle of a roaring fire on a cold day to more than make up for it! Stay warm! ~ Roger

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