How to Stack Firewood (The Top 3 Methods for You to Try)

How to Stack Firewood (The Top 3 Methods for You to Try)

Are you thinking of cutting down your own trees to produce your own batch of firewood?

Or perhaps you’re getting a cord (or more) of firewood delivered to your house and need to know how to arrange it once it’s been dropped off.

Either way, the same thing is true — you need to know how to stack firewood.

And that’s what this guide is going to teach you.

Below, you’ll find out what’s the best way to stack firewood using three popular methods.

By following this advice, you can guarantee that your firewood is properly seasoned and will burn well when it’s time to start a fire.

Do You Have a Chainsaw to Cut Firewood?

If you’re still chopping your firewood with an axe, I encourage you to upgrade to a chainsaw.

Chainsaws make the process of splitting firewood so much easier and faster.

To find out what size chainsaw you need for firewood, and the top models that are available, check out my post on the best chainsaw for firewood. It reviews the best chainsaws for cutting firewood in gas, electric, and battery-powered models.

I also have a post with the highest rated chainsaws you can buy. It includes the top 10 models for all sorts of cutting work — tree trimming, tree felling, firewood splitting, and more.

Why is Stacking Firewood Important?

Before we jump into the best firewood stacking methods, it’s important for you to know why we stack firewood in the first place.

And why we don’t just toss firewood into one big pile and call it a day.

You see, in order for firewood to burn properly, it must be seasoned. Seasoning simply means that the firewood has been dried to a point that it’s lost a lot of its moisture.

A properly seasoned piece of firewood contains about 20% moisture content.

If the firewood has more than 20% moisture, then it will be hard to light and will produce a lot of smoke. And if the firewood has less than 20% moisture, then it will burn way too fast and require a larger quantity of wood to stay warm.

To season firewood, it must be left outside and exposed to the sun and air. The sun and air will naturally dry out the wood over a several month period.

That’s why it’s important to stack your firewood the right way because if you don’t the wood won’t season properly and it may end up being too “wet” or too “dry” for it to burn well.

Now, let’s find out how to season firewood the “right” way.

3 Ways for How to Stack Firewood

Method 1: Stacking Firewood Between Pillars

This first method for how to stack firewood is the most common.

Note: Choose a site with plenty of sun exposure and no long periods of shade during the day. Also, it’s best to stack your firewood so the cut ends are facing east and west. That position allows the sun and wind to more freely around the woodpile.

Lay three or four parallel rows of pressure treated 2×4’s down on the ground to act as your stacking base. This base also helps to prevent moisture from seeping up out of the ground and into your firewood.

To create the pillars, build a stack of firewood at one end of the 2×4’s in the following arrangement:

  • Lay 3-4 pieces of firewood down side-by-side to each other.
  • Lay 3-4 pieces of firewood on top of that first layer in the perpendicular direction.
  • Repeat this alternating stacking method until your stack is 12 rows high.

Once your first pillar is stacked, repeat the process at the other end of your 2×4 row.

These pillars will act as supports for the firewood that you’ll now stack in between them.

Next, stack a row of split firewood between the pillars.

Then, stack the second row of firewood but don’t fit each piece in tightly with the first row. You want some gaps between the wood pieces so air can flow freely.

After you finish the second row, continue stacking firewood until it’s as high as your two pillars.

During the stacking process, try to lay as many pieces as possible so the bark side is up. This will help protect the inner parts of the wood from collecting rain and moisture.

Method 2: Pillar Only Firewood Stacks

This method of firewood stacking takes the act of building pillars and repeats it over and over again until all of your wood is stacked.

To perform this method, first lay three or four parallel rows of pressure treated 2×4’s down on the ground to act as your stacking base. This base also helps to prevent moisture from seeping up out of the ground and into your firewood.

Then, create the first pillar by following the steps outlined in the first method:

  • Lay 3-4 pieces of firewood down side-by-side to each other.
  • Lay 3-4 pieces of firewood on top of that first layer in the perpendicular direction.
  • Repeat this alternating stacking method until your stack is 12 rows high.

The only difference between method one and method two is that you’re going to repeat this pillar building process over and over again with each pillar next to previous one.

Just keep a few inches of space in between each pillar so air can flow between the individual stacks.

Method 3: Holz Hausen Firewood Stacking

What’s the best way to stack firewood without taking up rows and rows of space?

It’s called the “Holz Hausen” method of firewood stacking, and in the end, produces circular piles of firewood that don’t take up much space.

This method was originally used in Europe and is now becoming popular in the United States.

Note: It’s crucial to build this firewood stack in a sunny location because the sun’s rays won’t hit every inch of the wood. Therefore, you need the convection current of the summer heat to push air through the base and out the top of the pile.

To use this method for stacking firewood, do the following:

  1. Build a ring on the ground using pressured treated 2×4’s. Depending on the length of the 2×4’s, you may need to cut them in half (or smaller) in order to form a ring with these pieces. This base will protect your firewood from absorbing moisture from the ground.
  2. Lay a ring of firewood with the bark side out on top of your 2×4’s.
  3. Lay one piece of firewood on top of the ring so that one end of it is touching the ring and the other end is sloped down to the ground.
  4. Repeat the laying of firewood around the ring until the first row is complete.
  5. Stack your next layer of firewood on top of the first layer by pacing them around the ring in the downward sloping angle as the first row.
  6. Continue this circular stacking of firewood until you get six rows high. Then, stack a ring on top and around the sixth layer just like you did in step 2 with the bark side out. This layer will act as structural support.
  7. Repeat the stacking process outlined in steps 3 to 6 until the pile is three levels high (or 18 rows tall with 3 bark-side-out layers for support.)
  8. If there is a gap in the middle of the ring, place firewood on its end to fill in the space.

The beauty of this firewood stacking method is that if rain does get inside, it will quickly drain out through the center of the pile.

What’s the Best Way to Stack Firewood?

In all honesty, the best way to stack firewood is the method you prefer to use yourself.

All three of the methods outlined above are excellent ways for how to stack firewood.

As a reminder, if you’re still using an axe to split your firewood, you may want to consider upgrading to a chainsaw. It will make the process go much faster and save your muscles from getting taxed.

Take a look at my post on the best chainsaw for firewood to read my reviews on the top chainsaws for cutting firewood and how to get the proper size for this task.

Also, I have another post with the highest rated chainsaws you can buy if you’re curious about adding more than one chainsaw to your toolshed for other common jobs around the house.

I hope this guide helped.

Happy stacking!

Your pal,
Chainsaw Larry