Things to think about when building your log store

Are you storing logs that are already ready to burn or are you storing logs you need to season?

For logs that are already ready to burn (moisture content less than 20%) you need a log store that’s in a convenient place for refilling your log basket. On a cold and wet winter’s evening, having to go down to the bottom of the garden in the dark to fetch logs is no fun, so you will probably want somewhere that’s fairly close to the house. You might also want to think about who in your household will be bringing in logs. Can you all reach the logs easily? Is there somewhere to put the log basket while you’re filling it? If there’s a door, is it easy to open and close? You also need to have a log store that you know will keep your logs dry. Unless the floor is completely dry all the time and under permanent cover (eg in a garage), you need to keep the logs off the ground and completely covered so that they don’t get wet.

If you have logs that need drying, then there are very different things to think about. Drying logs is in some ways the same as drying the washing: lots of sun and wind is best. Ideally, have your log store facing South, exposed to the wind and with an overhanging roof to keep the rain off. Make sure the logs are off the ground and that the sides (and back of the log store if there is one) allow lots of ventilation. Slatted sides work best to allow maximum air circulation; don’t stack the logs too deep or too tightly.

How big does the store need to be?

4-5 cubic metre log store
Picture shows a 4-5 cubic metre store

If you only buy logs that are ready to be burnt immediately, this can be straightforward to work out. Take the usual volume of logs you buy and reduce it by a third (neatly stacked logs take up 60% to 70% of the volume of loose fill logs). If you need to store kindling or briquettes as well, don’t forget to add space for them. Think about at what point you usually reorder. Do you like to have a good supply of logs always in store or do you only reorder when you’ve nearly run out? Adjust the size of your store accordingly. (And just in case it’s been far too long since those maths lessons at school, the volume of the store is calculated by multiplying width x depth x height 🙂 )

If you’re drying logs, then it depends on what volume of logs you burn each year and how long your logs will need to dry. This will depend mainly on how wet they are to start off with. And there’s a range of things which influence that:

– What tree species are the logs? Less dense species like softwoods dry a lot quicker than hardwoods, particularly oak
– How big are the logs? Small logs dry quicker than large logs, rounds dry slowly and unsplit cordwood just doesn’t dry at all

What time of year was the tree felled? Trees are dormant in the winter with little sap but are full of sap in the spring. More sap means more drying time.

Whatever the state of your logs, you will need one store which has enough space for all the logs to be used for the the winter coming and an equally large store for logs to be used the following winter. Maybe even a third store for logs to be used in 2 winters’ time, particularly if you are storing large, hardwood logs.

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