Many homeowners across the United States choose to heat their homes with wood heat. Wood is readily available in many regions and a homeowner can harvest his own supply. Cost and energy efficient, wood provides a viable energy option. However, wood must be stored close to the home and protected from the elements. It is a fairly easy task for the experienced do-it-yourself homeowner to build a simple log pile or wood shed.
Choose a location for your shed near your home for ease in hauling wood. Remember that much of the time the shed will be accessed will be during inclement weather. Pick a spot with a path to the home that is easily maintained during snowy or rainy weather. Select an elevated site with good drainage. The shed does not have a floor, so make sure that water will not build up in the storage area.
Determine how much wood you wish to store. Residents in areas that experience severe cold for several months will use a lot of wood. Burning six to eight cords per winter is average for most homes.
Sketch out a plan for the dimensions of your shed.The simplest shed is built with a slanting metal roof to keep wood dry and open, slatted sides to allow air circulation as the wood dries. Air flow is of the utmost importance. Wood that is thoroughly dried burns hot and effectively.
Be creative with scrap building materials you may have on hand or can salvage (wood pallets can be used to build the side walls of a sturdy and workable shed). Pre-cut shed kits are also available from home and building supply centres. You may choose to build the support posts for your shed from harvested logs. Choose straight, dry standing trees with no evidence of dry rot. Using a chain saw, cut logs that are six to eight inches around at the base.
Build a foundation for the shed. The easiest way is to pour prepared concrete mix into a five-gallon plastic bucket. Stand a support log upright in the bucket and allow the concrete to dry. Repeat this procedure for each support post required. When dry, position the buckets, squared to form support for the roof and side walls. Another method is to use salvaged sleepers or timbers to lay out a foundation. Attach 2 x 6 inch pressure treated lumber to the ties with two-inch spiral shank nails to construct a frame.
Build a roof frame from 2 x 6 inch pressure treated boards set on 16 inch spacing. Cover the roof frame with 5/8-inch pressure treated plywood or fibre board. Cover the plywood with plastic sheeting or tar paper. Install metal or shingle roofing.
Build a "crib" or slatted walls from old lumber or logs cut in half. Place the slats four to six inches apart. Slats may be positioned vertically or horizontally, attached to the roof frame and foundation with two-inch spiral shank nails. The shed is now ready to store your wood, providing dry and accessible wood all winter.
Be careful. Wear ear and eye protection when working with chain saws and power tools.