USING ROUND FIREWOOD PILES: How to Get Wood Out As You Use Wood

A subscriber asks . . . “What’s the best way to get wood out of the round firewood piles you’ve written about? Do you just reverse the building operation? Does the tarp get crusted with snow and ice? I really love the round woodpile concept.”

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Round wood piles really do offer advantages. As far as getting to the wood during winter, I don’t just reverse the build. Since the top of the piles are protected by a tarp, it pays to keep that protection in place as long as possible.

In practice this means sneaking out pieces of wood from under the tarp as much, and from all sides evenly. You can only take this so far, of course, but I like to think of it like a big Kerplunk game. Did you ever play Kerplunk as a kid? That’s a home-made version of the game below. The idea is to pull out the sticks without causing an avalanche of balls. When it comes to firewood, we want things to stay stable.

Pulling wood from round wood piles is a little bit like playing with this Kerplunk game. The idea is to take wood off the pile without causing a collapse.

Pull pieces here and there, choosing pieces that are least likely to cause a collapse. Keep doing this until you work your way down far enough that there’s no more of the original roof structure. The idea is to take wood out evenly so the tarp just settles downwards, offering protection all the way down.

Eventually every round wood pile is reduced to nothing more than a heap of wood on the ground, but even when this happens it’s worthwhile keeping that pile covered with a tarp that’s weighted down around the perimeter. I like to use a short pickaroon to pull pieces of wood out from the middle of the pile so the level of wood goes down evenly.

Here my oldest son, Robert, splits wood and stacks it in one of our early round wood piles. Since then we’ve learned to make them larger in diameter and we use cross pieces to stabilize the pile long term.

Round wood piles aren’t as effective as a woodshed at keeping wood dry, but they work better than any other kind of tarp-based piling technique. I’ve tried them all. For a detailed look see my video of building round wood piles.

Will you be piling wood in the round? If you handle firewood, give it a try. Please consider helping me cover the cost of producing and publishing content like this. Click the “buy me a coffee” button below and it’ll take you to a safe and simple way to make a contribution. Thank you very much!

– Steve Maxwell