Three years ago I had a wood burner fitted in the living room. It has proved to be the best thing I’ve invested in for the house. There is now something to look forward to about winter.
For the first few years I kept my logs stored in the open shed at the back of the garden. Although it’s an ideal place to keep fire wood dry, it’s not the most practical location: loading the basket involves a trek up a sometimes slippery path, with an awkward gate to negotiate, and other items of shed clutter to clamber over in order to reach the wood. Disorganisation means I usually perform this task at night with a torch gripped between my teeth.
This winter, things will be different. I’ve got a small wood store close to the house providing me with easy access to dry wood just a few steps from the back door.
Putting up a log store is a fairly straightforward activity, so long as you follow a few simple rules, outlined below. To make matters even easier for me, the good folk at gardensite.co.uk have provided me with the perfect Rowlinson log store to demonstrate how it’s done – all I had to do was assemble it with a few nails and screws.
How to build a log store
Choose your site
When deciding on where to set up your wood store there are a few considerations to make. Not only is it preferable to have easy access, it should also be on level ground. If your new construction is going to sit on the lawn or bare earth then you’ll also want to make sure the base is raised off the ground to avoid damp seeping in to the bottom row of logs. Three narrow wood battens fixed beneath the base on my shed give it a suitable lift; a few well placed bricks make a good alternative.
It’s more than likely you’ll be putting your store against a wall or fence. If this is the case then make sure you leave a small gap between the back of your store and any other structure to allow air to pass between the two, again helping to ward off the damp.
Build the frame
For easy access, a log store with an open front is preferable, so you’ll be wanting to build a three-sided structure with a base and roof. It’s crucial that air is allowed circulate through the wood, so leave gaps between the slatted sides and back of your store. My Rowlinson store is made up of slats measuring 100mm x 18mm, with 35mm gaps between each one. These have created a good, solid and sturdy structure and keep all but the most persistently horizontal rain drops out while allowing for good air circulation. There’s no need to leave gaps in the roof, just make sure it slopes away from the front and overhangs the back and sides to allow water to run off. And as with all exterior timber structures, make sure the wood you use to build it has been treated for outdoor use.
Stacking the logs
With a three-sided structure, stacking the logs should be straightforward. It’s worth doing this with some tidiness in mind – lazily lobbing the logs in will likely cause jenga-style collapses when you come to remove them. But don’t be so thorough as to fill every last gap with perfectly shaped bits of wood as it’s important that the air can flow between the logs. My store has a handy shelf for kindling towards the roof. Again this has been slatted with gaps. Some of you may notice that my kindling shelf is sloping. This is entirely down to my slackness and is in no way a design feature.
Using the logs
It’s advisable that you bring your basket load of logs into the house 24 hours before burning them, just to give them a chance to thoroughly dry overnight. Any rain that does hit the logs will only cause the surface to be wet. Providing you’re using well-seasoned wood the core will be perfectly dry.
If you’ve managed to site your logs in a location where the wind and rain conspire to pummel against the open-fronted area of your store then you can protect it further with a tarp curtain. Pin this to the top of the wood store and weigh down the bottom with a timber batton or secure with hooks fixed to the base of the store (or tent pegs if it’s on grass). But do keep the curtain raised as often as possible – an open front is much preferable.
Tech specs of the Rowlinson Small Log Store
(borrow these if you wish to build your own store from scratch)
- Log capacity: 0.66 cubic metres
- Height: 1550mm (5ft 1in)
- Width: 1170mm (3ft 10ins)
- Depth: 560mm (1ft 10ins)
- Sides and back are each made from 11 pieces of 100mm x 18mm wood
- Made using pressure treated timber
To get the full lowdown of our Rowlinson Small Log Store visit gardensite.co.uk