I once tried my hand at making a firewood rack. Obviously, I got it backward because after being stacked only half-full, it collapsed at my feet with a terrific groan.
Many homeowners have shifted from firewood to gas or electric heating in their homes. The truth being said, firewood has always been connected with classiness and style. It gives rise to the idiom, home and hearth invoking a picture of warmth and security.
The crackling of the fire, the occasional hisses, and pops, the visual pleasantness of a fireplace, it all adds up to a stress-busting experience. It is therefore still high on popularity. It is relatively inexpensive but cannot be just left in the backyard to rot. Furthermore, it is preferably covered to keep out the elements in inclement weather. It is best though uncovered, as it stays well-dried and moisture-free to get that perfect fire going.
We have pieced together our product list of the top 10 firewood racks available in the market after exercising due diligence in our reviewing process. Our goal is to help you make a good pick. The reviews and shopping tips will we hope direct your choice of the best firewood rack for your needs.
The Science of Firewood
Cord of Wood
Some interesting trivia. In around 1610, firewood was tied with a cord and sold in bundles. Hence the term ‘a cord of wood’.
The term ‘cord of wood’ is descriptive of a double stack of wood that measures around 4 feet high and deep having a length of 8 feet. The total volume is 128 cubic feet or if you prefer metric figures, it works out to 3.62 cubic meters.
This is a term coined and used by firewood sellers and is not a term sanctioned by the Government. It is general and ambiguous. The National Insitute of Standards and Technology has a document that explains what a ‘cord’ is.
Another term that indicates the volume of firewood. It is only 2 feet deep. Or half a cord of wood. This is totally meaningless and used along with other equally ambivalent terms like rick cord, standing cord or stove cord.
Length of Firewood
18” to 24’ lengths are what firewood is cut to mainly so that a standard fireplace or wood stove can accommodate these lengths only. Before you go out purchasing firewood, save yourself the toil of having to saw them to size yourself by measuring the interior of your fireplace or woodstove.
The green weight of wood is the weight it possesses when freshly cut. It has a considerable amount of moisture in it, as high as 50% of the total weight.
The dry weight is self-explanatory. It is the weight after the moisture in the wood has been released.
How does that affect us?
Let us have a closer look. Greenwood is undesirable for the fireplace as is evident.
Heat is produced when the wood is burnt. A large amount of this energy goes into boiling off the water from the greenwood. This happens even before the combustion process starts with the result that greenwood is inferior in providing warmth.
More importantly, greenwood produces a lot of smoke which by itself is a bother, but it also transports a good deal of creosote, a tarry substance, which coats your chimney uptake and by itself is a fire hazard.
Firewood Rack – A Comprehensive Buying Guide
1. Rack Size
The choice of rack size is governed by its intended purpose. An outdoor firewood rack would be much larger than one intended for the fireplace, living room or den. Firewood racks come in all shapes and sizes with some being adjustable too. The main idea is that the outdoor rack should be large enough to contain enough firewood to see you through the cold months.
When you go looking for an outdoor firewood rack, an important consideration is the size of the rack. Of course, this is a reflection of the quantity of wood you need to store, the right idea would be to go in for one of a larger capacity space permitting. You don’t want to keep stacking wood in the rack repeatedly in case it runs out. Overloading a rack may cause it to topple over leaving your firewood muddy and damp.
Since the rack would necessarily be stored outside, it would need to withstand the rigors of the weather. In other words, it should be long-lasting. You have the option of choosing a rack fashioned of a rust-resistant metal such as aluminum. A more sensible idea is to choose one which is powder-coated.
4. Indoor Racks Versus Outdoor Racks
You need to weigh your decision carefully about whether you are going in for an indoor rack or an outdoor one.
The first point to pay attention to is the location for the rack. If an outdoor rack is to be positioned on a deck, patio or porch, wooden beams will have to be positioned at the base. If the rack is to sit directly on the ground, a metal base is a prerequisite. Racks should be sufficiently off the ground to prevent insects and other vermin from taking refuge.
Indoor racks need to be aesthetic. Here too, the location and space available should be pre-measured before making a purchase. It can be in the den or the living room. Careful heed should be paid that the weight is spread out by placing planks or else the point loads exerted by the legs will damage the tiling.
- Classic Firewood Rack- Classic frames are fabricated of steel and are of steel. Longevity is their strong point. To reinforce that, they are constructed in flat, straight sections, not unlike a fence line. These are usually placed outside the home with ample ground clearance for keeping the woodpile dry and free of pests. They are of a larger capacity.
- Log Hoop-Hoop racks are more for indoor storage, are funky and add that extra elegance to your living room.
6. Construction and Durability
The construction of the firewood rack should be durable and strong enough to see you through many years. A solid steel rack makes good sense but it is not only the material that determines the overall durability. The craftmanship is another aspect that should pass scrutiny. The welding of the joints, the connection of the different pieces and the finish should all pass muster as they all chip in towards the ultimate strength and sturdiness of the product.
7. Decorative Appeal and Style
You may have the need for positioning the rack in such a place which is a high visibility area such as your living room. Three things matter here- the wood can’t be stacked pell-mell, the rack needs to look sharp and please no creepy crawlies. Take care of these three counts and you are in the super league.
Some accessories are necessary both for the protection of the firewood as well as the rack. Covers are important add-ons you should consider. Preferably they should be waterproof. The covers sold by the makers are the best option as they will fit your woodpile like a glove.
In case you prefer a tarp or any other covering, fasten the tarp or cover with rope or weigh it down so that it doesn’t take off in the wind.
The need for a firewood rack in your home is undisputed. You do not need to spend a fortune to buy one. By and large, the bigger and higher quality racks will cost you more. If you invest in getting one, it is advisable to go in for quality.
You can build your own firewood rack with minimal investment. There are plenty of DIY projects that you can choose online.
Firewood Storing Tips
1. Firewood should always be stowed and stacked properly.
Tossing wood haphazardly into a pile makes for improper ventilation, increase the void spaces for vermin and other malicious elements. Stacking should be staggered like in building a wall; the bricks are never positioned one upon another.
Importantly it should be stacked loosely. This encourages the much-needed circulation of air which removes moisture and promotes curing.
2. Firewood should be above the ground always
In a nutshell, this promotes airflow. Greenwood cures faster, moisture in the woodpile is soaked up, termites are kept at bay, not to speak of other infestations.
3. There is no substitute for dry wood
Dry wood combusts better and faster. That is why greenwood and moisture-laden wood are to be guarded against.
4. Storing firewood indoors is not advised
This applies to have a large stash of firewood in the basement or indoors, wherever. Indoor firewood racks are out of the reckoning here. Just bring in enough for the night. However, ensure that the firewood is dry. A word of caution; spiders and even mice find woodpiles a cozy nesting area. Make sure you don’t introduce them indoors.
5. Dog runs and play areas should be segregated from firewood storage
Dogs and children will bring in a bit of rough play. A toppling woodpile is an impediment we can circumvent.
6. Keep the firewood stack away from home walls
This is an oft-repeated trait. Firewood is a fire risk; it is home to pests and most importantly you are blocking off one side thereby hindering ventilation with the consequences.
7. Keep the storage area clean.
In the summer months, the woodpile suffers neglect. Weeds grow around and in general, nobody gives it a second thought. Oops. Serious mistake- without circulation, your wood will rot and more unpleasant surprises are in store. So do invest some time in house-keeping around your woodpile.
A firewood rack is not as inconsequential as some may feel. Firewood may not be very expensive but the use of wood, we feel is not being environmentally friendly. But after calculating the carbon footprints of using either gas or electricity, it scores a great deal higher.
We on our part, have attempted to do our best to place before you a level field. There are great deals which we have presented in our Top 10 list. As far as practical we have presented all the relevant information. It is our desire that the consumer gets the best firewood rack for your money.
1. What width is suggested for a firewood rack?
This is entirely dictated by the amount you wish to keep and of course the size of rack your home or need requires. There are no dictates as far as the width of a firewood rack. However, the rule-of-thumb is that the width should measure 40 ½ inches wide give or take.
2. What is the price of a cord of wood?
A cord of hardwood can range from $ 120 to $180 depending on the location. There is the question of how well seasoned it is, and importantly when you choose to buy it.
3. Is it necessary to cover firewood?
There is no argument here. Firewood if not covered will turn into brushwood, rot and perish. Ensure firewood is covered always and well ventilated.
4. How is Firewood seasoned?
Exposed to sunlight and well ventilated to enhance drying and curing.
5. Why is it called a cord of wood?
This has a historical background to it. Dating back to the 1600s, the wood used to be sold in humanly carriable bundles tied up by a cord. That was the standard then and has been carried for.
6. A 4-foot rack would hold how much wood?
A cord of wood is 4 x 4 x 8 feet when evenly stacked. It amounts to 128 cubic feet.
There is an adder here; there are void spaces between the stashed logs that could be as much as 12% less.
7. Bad firewood could present what syndromes?
Bad firewood is bad for a huge variety of short term lung ailments. Burning eyes, throat irritation, and bronchitis.