August DIY Update:
In the Western states, our summer dry season is approaching its end. (Sometimes in a fiery burst of heat. Our sympathy to the folks currently threatened by active wild fires; we're feeling very lucky NOT to be fighting big wildfires yet in the Okanogan County this year, for once.)
|Our wood shed - already stocked|
with about 1 winter's supply
for our rocket mass heater
If you need a woodshed, or a bigger or better woodshed, to hold all that lovely wood you've harvested and split this spring, it would be a REALLY good end-of-August project for this week.
Properly dried and stored fire wood can provide more than double the same heating energy as damp or green wood. (Soaking-wet wood can act as a fire extinguisher, meaning dry wood is infinitely more effective as a heating fuel.)
A good woodshed is not just storage out of the rain – it's a clever wood-drying machine. The shape and structure promote great ventilation, often using slatted sides or racks, and sometimes featuring dividers so you can run two years' supply side-by-side with ventilation between each row. Good wood sheds keep not just rain but groundwater and evaporating moisture from remaining anywhere near your precious fuel stores.
A good wood shed should be so well-ventilated it's almost windy inside. If your climate is very humid and foggy, you might need to consider a design with some heating function to dry the air - perhaps an enclosed shed whose metal or clear plastic roof helps it functions like a solar dehydrator, or a storage attached to your heated space such as a mud-room, lean-to, or the back corner of a shop or barn.
(In most climates, these heated spaces are not necessary to achieve dry wood, and the risk of bringing wood-eating bugs into a large wooden building may outweigh the convenience and drying speed associated with heated spaces.)
Common structures that can double as wood-drying storage include a well-ventilated greenhouse, barn, daylight basement, or a temporary fabric structure such as a canopy tent or suspended rain-fly tarp.
Bad ideas for wood sheds include almost all tarped-over woodpiles on the ground. Unfortunately, these often act more as moisture-trapping mushroom farms than as dry storage. Basements are another location that may be useable for storing already-dried wood, but may be too damp or lack the necessary ventilation for a reasonably fast initial drying and curing process.
If you would not leave books or linens in your wood storage, for fear of damp and mold, consider improving it.
|Assembling a 24-foot-wide bow shed carport|
(yes, it's taller than our 24x36 cabin)
We are also in the middle of building an extra-big carport, using the largest approved size of “bow-truss” from some university extension service barn plans we found online.
The main motive for this project is actually ice-free access to our vehicles while Ernie recovers from an elective surgery this fall. But I'm definitely looking forward to stacking a little bit of extra firewood in here for convenient access this winter. (and possibly to creating an entryway/greenhouse....)
Here are some great resources for building an inexpensive, spacious woodshed:
Simple shed roof with tilt-up walls:
A bow-shed greenhouse much like ours (this company does sell plans and accessories, but similar plans are also available elsewhere for free).
Barn construction details for those with loftier ambitions - MANY designs and details free to download from North Dakota extension service, well-adapted for snow and wind loads:
Many barn and shed (and other ag building) plans from Tennesee extension service– try #6100 for a nice simple shed, or #6298 for a gothic-arch bow-shed, greenhouse, or carport:
If you already have a woodshed you love, please send a picture, or share pictures or links in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!
Erica and Ernie