Constructing a Firewood Shelter

By making your own firewood shelter, you can keep your firewood dry during snowy or rainy days.

| January 2015

By rediscovering the everyday tasks that were the hallmarks of American life centuries ago, we are able to take more control over the resources we need. Chris Peterson and Philip Schmidt provide 30 projects that can help you get started with these everyday tasks and begin to lead a more self-reliant lifestyle in Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency. This excerpt, which provides instructions for building a firewood shelter to keep your supply, is from Section 2, “Homestead Amenities.”

Buy this book from the GRIT store: Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency.

What Is a Firewood Shelter Good For?

Everyone knows that wood burns best when it’s dry. But properly dried, or “seasoned,” firewood isn’t just about making fires easy to start and keep burning. Seasoned wood burns hotter and cleaner than unseasoned (“green”) firewood, resulting in more heat for your home, reduced creosote buildup in your chimney, and lower levels of smoke pollution going into the air.

Seasoning freshly split wood takes at least six months in most areas, but the longer you can dry it the better. The best plan is to buy firewood (or cut and split your own) as early as possible and stack it in a well-ventilated shelter with a good roof. This shelter will keep your wood covered through snow and rain while providing ample ventilation and easy access to the stack. It also looks better than any prefab shelter and is easy to modify with different materials or dimensions.

An optional feature is a storage locker at either end of the structure, perfect for storing your axe, gloves, and other tools and supplies. A simple bin or locker at the other end can hold kindling or provide more protected storage space. The roof trusses add some custom detailing and actually simplify the construction. You can top the roof with fiberglass panels, as shown, or any other type of roofing material. The shelter is sized to hold a half-cord of split firewood cut to 16-inch lengths, and stacked two deep. If you use shorter logs, you can stack them two or three deep. For longer logs or to accommodate a whole cord of wood, you can easily modify the shelter dimensions to fit (see Resizing Your Firewood Shelter).

Tools and Materials

• Hammer
• Tape measure
• Carpenter’s square
• 4-ft. level
• Circular saw with wood- and metal-cutting blades
• Reciprocating saw or handsaw
• Cordless drill and bits
• Clamps
• Socket wrench
• Miter saw (optional)
• 8d galvanized siding nails
• Deck screws, 2 inches, 2-1⁄2 inches, 3-1⁄2 inches
• (16) 6 x 3/8-inch carriage bolts with washers and nuts
• 7/8-inch roofing screws with neoprene washers
• Joist hangers (for 2 x 8) with recommended fasteners (2)
• Joist hanger nails
• Rafter ties
• 16d galvanized common nails
• Fiberglass roofing panels

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