When we moved into our house in 2011, one of the things I loved the most about it was our open fire. It’s such a cosy feature and we love to sit round it in the winter; we sometimes even toast marshmallows on it. Most of our friends have had log burners or open fires put into their homes, so talking about how to store logs and season them is a surprisingly regular topic of conversation.
Our open fire is a relatively cheap source of heat. We get most of our logs from a gardener friend and all we need to do is season them before they’re put on the fire. Seasoning wood just means you need to dry it out. You don’t need to do anything more exciting to it than chop it up into the size you need, stack it up somewhere to dry out and then leave it for around two years. The amount of time you need to leave it depends on the kind of wood it is, but two years is a decent length of time.
For the last seven years our wood has been stacked up in a small shed which came with the house. About a year ago the roof collapsed and the sides rotted and so it was time for a new place to store logs while they dried. We were keen to get something specifically designed to store logs, something which would allow the air to circulate around the wood and dry it out, whilst looking neat and tidy too.
When you’re buying a log store of your own, it’s important to make sure it has slatted sides and a raised slatted floor to allow the air to flow freely through the log pile. Good dry wood will give you a higher heat output and the wood will leave less tar and residue in your stove or chimney. We get our chimney swept every year and our sweep always compliments us on the lack of tar build up. If you burn wood which isn’t dry enough, the build up of tar could be a fire hazard. The tar could also make your chimney or log burner smoke inside the house, which isn’t great either.
We’ve replaced our rotten old shed with a lovely solidly built log store. It’s from Gardensite and is made in Dorset from Swedish Redwood. The log store is guaranteed against rot for 15 years. We opted for the Melbury log store, it’s a nice classic design which would look unobtrusive in the garden. You can choose to have it delivered ready made, or flat-packed. We chose the flat-pack option and it took less than half an hour to put together.
We’ve put ours in our side yard and it takes up less space than the old shed, but somehow manages to hold more wood. We have given the log store a couple of treatments with creosote; we will make sure to treat it regularly to keep the wood in good condition. I am so pleased with the quality of the log store, we’ve already filled it with logs to dry out for this winter.
Once our wood has been seasoned for at least two years, it is ready to burn. What we do is we have two baskets for wood in the house; one by the fire ready for burning and one in the pantry, so it gets to dry out inside the house a little more before burning. We know this two basket arrangement isn’t really necessary, but it does mean that if it’s raining there is extra wood in the house and no-one needs to get rained on to fill a basket.
How to store logs and keep them dry for winter
- Stack logs neatly making sure they are raised off the ground a little.
- Make sure air can flow in and out of your log pile, a log store with slatted sides is ideal for this.
- Locate your log store in a sheltered spot, somewhere out of the wind and sheltered from the elements a little.
- Think ahead. You can either buy seasoned or unseasoned wood. If you’re buying unseasoned wood, you will need to store it and season it yourself for a couple of years. Seasoned wood will still need to be stored appropriately to stop it getting too wet again.
If you’ve got a log burner or an open fire, it’s important to put some thought into where and how you will store and season your logs ready for winter. Where do you store your logs and kindling?