Our primary source of heat in the house is a wood stove. It works well, and the cost of firewood is pretty reasonable (about $300 per cord split and delivered.) The old insulation and windows in the house make it slightly challenging to keep warm, though, and last winter it took almost three full cords of wood to heat the house. I didn’t really like the firewood stacked next to the garage building, so I decided to build a firewood rack. And, since I am who I am, I wanted one large enough to hold an entire winter’s worth of wood AND strong enough to park a truck on…because hey, you never know.
I started out by picking the location in the back yard. I wanted it close to the house for easy access, with three separate sections for rotating newer/wetter wood and older/drier wood. To hold three cords it would have to be about 24 feet long, so I decided to put it in as a divider between the parking spot behind the house and the garage. For the material I decided on steel, and I liked the look of the oilfield pipe fence my neighbor had installed around his property. If you aren’t familiar with it, oilfield pipe is used by oil companies in drilling operations and old pipe is often used for fences and animal corrals. It is strong, fairly cheap, and has a nice rusty finish that doesn’t require paint or maintenance.
After some designing and measuring I got the first two pipe uprights in the ground. These are about 45 inches tall and about 2 feet in the ground with 240 pounds of concrete per post. This thing is never going anywhere:
More measuring, stringlines, re-measuring, and a demolition hammer to assist in digging some of the holes (in three of the eight holes I had to dig for the upright supports I encountered rather large rocks. Instead of digging them out or moving the hole I used the demolition hammer to break the rocks up into manageable pieces.) This part of the process took about two weeks, including the time to let the concrete cure. Here are the eight completed uprights, with a couple of the horizontal supports welded in place (my neighbor Brian is an excellent welder and kindly agreed to do the welding, a skill I do not have but should probably figure out some day):
And the rest of the horizontal supports welded:
I used wood 2×6’s on 2×4″ frames as a base for the bottom, with the steel pipe supporting all the actual weight. I started by building a simple wood frame:
This wood frame sits inside the pipe sections, and the 2×6’s are screwed down to it. Essentially these frames just keep the 2×6’s from moving around, and each wood frame can be lifted up in case access is needed underneath. Here is the first frame and 2×6’s in place:
A token bit of firewood in the first section, just to feel like I was actually making progress on this project:
Even though it’s only February it was getting a bit hot working on this, so I screwed the roof on the firewood rack for a little bit of shade. For the roof I used thick galvanized steel roofing sections. The roofing sections are stiff enough that they easily span the 45″ width of the rack without sagging or bending. Drilling holes into the oilfield pipe for the roofing screws burned through two drill bits (the pipe is almost a 1/4″ thick and very tough), but eventually I got the roof attached. Here are the other two wood frames and some of the 2×6’s in place:
And the (mostly) finished project. The final measurements of the firewood rack are 24 feet long, 45″ wide, and 45″ tall. The rack holds two back-to-back rows of firewood with a log length of up to 24″. The steel uprights on the back side of the rack are 1″ shorter than the front uprights to allow the roof to slope a little. The steel mesh on each end still needs to be welded on but that is minor and will be done next week:
Overall the rack turned out pretty close to what I had planned. When completely filled with firewood it will look good and be functional at the same time. There is enough room between it and the fence line to park a car, and it serves to visually break up the space. Now we have to go get two more cords of wood to fill the rack up, but I’m calling this project