Firewood Rack Using No Tools

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Introduction: Firewood Rack Using No Tools

Building a no-tools-needed firewood rack

A stable, strong, easily-movable, cheap firewood rack is a thought-provoking project. This is what i have used for years and it works extremely well.

It easily holds a face-cord of heavy, wet wood with no problem and is very stable.
This is what you need:
2 or 3 concrete blocks
2 landscape timbers
2 2x4s - 8 or 10 footers cut in half.
total material cost about 20 bucks

I think the pics say it all but some tips:
- place 2 concrete blocks holes up on a stable surface, 3 if support needed in center (not often).
- place timbers across outside edges of blocks with all width of each timber completely on block.
- place 2x4 uprights in holes in blocks. If on dirt put a few
small rocks or pebbles in holes first to help drain water from 2x4' ends.
- its designed so the 2x4's are leaning out at the top. it's
very strong like this. if you find the 2x4s are spread too wide, you
can tap them closer together on a full rack as there is not that much weight on them. the last pic shows my new double rack. one more block but 4 less 2x4 pieces and stronger because of center blocks. if you enlarge the last pic, you can really see how much weight this set-up will hold. and i could put a lot more on it but its over my head..hahah
If you have any doubts about whether or not this works like i say, just read a few comments from other members, real people just telling it like it is.

I cut a piece of plastic tarp about 4' wide and 10' long to cover wood... i take a couple of holed bricks and tie light 3' rope from one to the other and lay over tarped ends to keep tarp on in wind. all of this works really well together. rack gets stronger with more wood and is very stable. everything comes apart to move to another spot or put in storage (or use for other projects). Rack is high enough off ground to blow leaves from underneath or spray for bugs. Its nice to be able to easily move a woodrack as sometimes the ground under it becomes unstable and the rack will lean. Or sometimes you just find a better place and moving individual pieces is so much easier than moving the whole rack at once. One more thought: if you use 8' 2x4s, if you cut them in half at a 45 degree angle, you get more length and also the angle will help them drain at the top.

Anyway, once you have set this rack up and used it a bit, its one of those things that you just grin each time you look at it and wish other things you make would work as well. Enjoy

32 People Made This Project!

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2 Questions

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Thanks for this idea. My husband made this about 3 years ago, and we placed it in our backyard by the back fence. Unfortunately our yard has a slope and although my husband built the base to adjust for the slope, now it seems like the wood stack is leaning forward. We stacked the wood as far back as we could, but it doesn't seem stable. We have two little ones who love to run around in the backyard, so we're looking for advice on how we could stabilize it or if we should just remove the wood and build a new rack. Thanks!

Hi RadhaK28, glad you built it and have been enjoying it. yes, stability is the bane of any woodrack. i have to adjust my racks every couple of years as i have very sandy soil. there really is no way around getting the wood off and down to the base...maybe some small gravel under the blocks or a patio stone to help stabilize the ground. several people have built great racks on slopes but it takes a little work and engineering. but for safety i would say its time to start over and throw the wood in a pile and toughen up your base. then just put it back together as you have all the parts. good luck.

If set on a concrete slab, will the concrete blocks hold water, or does it somehow drain away after a rain?

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Hi LynnB110, any rainwater should easily drain away on concrete. the seal would not be perfect. hope you have fun with it. mine need restocking about now.

109 Comments

classof56, on the bottom, will 2x4s instead of timbers be strong enough? Can 4x4s be used in place of timbers? My helper balks at changing from 2x4s at foundation, says they are support enough & will be laid on sides, not flat. If 2x4s are unsatisfsctory support, would nailing a 2x4 to each 2x4 to build 4x4s, be satisfactory? A commenter I believe used 4x4s. Lastly, have you noted any rotting of the ends of your upright 2x4s (ground level)? I'm mid60 age, I extend a project's age-out if possible. The cut ends of lumber are untreated--I noted the legs of my sawhorses rotted at ground after unknown years. Would spar varnishing the ends of the upright 2x4s be an extra step that would add to wood longevity, e.g., avoid wood rot at the ground ends? We have a Minwax can that Lowe's sold off of its discount rack for $3, so it's in hand.

2 replies

P.S. Re endrot, I see now that you have walk stones or such under your blocks, excellent protection from endrot at ground level I imagine. Thank you.

hi chipaway, 2x4's on bottom layed tall side up might work ok but wont be near as stable. cost of a landscape timber and 2x4 are about the same so why not go with what works for sure. 2-2x4\s on each side would be better but twice the cost of landscape timbers. its silly to debate about a buck or two. what i show is from years of use. dont end up making an unstable rack. the end pieces i have used for years and show no rot...a few pebbles in cement block hole will help drain. these racks are dirt cheap and last for many years....why not make them right.

and yes, 4x4\s work great also...just more pricey. good luck

So how much wood does one of these set-ups hold? I'm laying out for 9 because we're planning to start with 2-4 cords of wood this winter (may get 3 to start and then 1 or 2 later on). It "sounds" like a cord, but the dimensions are off. Wouldn't you need 3 for a cord of 16" wood pieces?

I am looking to stack 1.5 cord of wood. Will it hold that much as designed or should I build double-width? Also, you have any pictures of tarp tie-down - where you tie the rope? This is great design - so sick of dealing with pallets that split or that do not have ends to support wood! Thx!

1 reply

hi JohnR703, 1.5 cords is a tad much for one rack. i would rather have a double length rack rather than a double width. less material needed to build and easier to use. for tie downs i just use bricks with holes in them. tie a short rope from one to the other, about three feet long, then just put tarp over top of rack and drape rope over tarp with brick on each side....one set on each end. makes an easy, last-forever tie down...easy on, easy off.

I made this but instead of "landscape timbers" I used a 2x4 turned up on their side. the 2x4's cost less and up on end dont sag much across 8 feet when the rack is full

1 reply

well, wood is heavy and on a full rack i just dont think a 2x4 is tough enough. but you probably saved two bucks so your choice. my landscape timbers have lasted 5 years now and going strong and straight.

Just had an old fisher wood stove put in. Love the wood rack! Question the 2x4 the goes in the block is the bottom straight cut and just the top angled? Also best wood to burn in order of preference. Thank you so much.

1 reply

hi bobbi13820, your question: bottom of 2x4s in block is straight. best wood? for me its what i can find but i prefer oak, maybe with a little red cedar ...maple is nice also. hard woods burn long and without a lot of flame but lots of heat. i just went thru a hurricane here in florida and never lost a piece of wood from my racks. just had a rope over the wood and hooked to a nail pounded into the bottom wood on each end...worked great.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this great idea! Love the idea of putting ropes through brick holes to hold down tarps as well. I am going to start building these racks today!

Just one question...when you say "landscape timbers" can you clarify exactly what you mean. I live in Canada, and I've never heard that term, but maybe we call them something different! Are they 2" x 6"? 4" x 6"? or something completely different?

I have TONS of wood that I would like to make use of rather than having to purchase anything, but if I don't have anything suitable that matches what you describe to me, where would I be likely to find them if they are something specific? (ie, any retailer that sells lumber, Home Depot, landscaping supply stores??) Thanks so much! Look forward to your reply!

1 reply

hi patti24, glad you liked the idea...it works for sure. landscape timbers are commonly sold at big box stores, home depot and lowes and the like, in their garden centers. they are a cheaper alternative to 4"x4" timbers. but anything that is about 4x4 x10' long should work. others that have posted here have used different sized timbers with good luck. but try what you have...always good to use it up, right! i havent found any altenative better than concrete blocks and yes, the holed bricks work great and dont wear out..hahah when you get one done, take a pic and post it here.....always fun to see how people have done with the project.

well, after 5 years, i have not replaced any part of this setup. timbers are solid, blocks are the same, 2x4's are just more seasoned. the only thing i have had to do is every couple of years i need to straighten it a bit as the earth underneath sinks a tad...a few handfuls of dirt and back in business.

I'm experiencing an issue with the outside concrete blocks cracking from either the weight of the stacks or the tension that the upright timbers possibly put on the blocks. Has anyone that has used this technique across seasons experienced this? Any remedies? Thanks.

I still love this stack, especially since it is easy to break down when not in use but replacing the blocks is a bummer.

2 replies

Don't use regular cinder blocks, use "real" concrete blocks from the plant, sometimes Lowes or Home Depot will carry them, they are much heavier and stronger.

i have been using this sytem for many years and have never had any blocks crack or break. no idea what your problem is but i think its yours. i have stacked very high at times with great weight and never any problems like you describe. maybe you got some too-fresh blocks where the concrete was not cured or they used not enough concrete in the mix.

Hey, we made one of these...and it works and looks GREAT!! Be sure to use the "wood-colored," brown or "rust" pressure-treated wood, looks quite nice.

1 reply

hi james, thanks for the honest comment. glad you are enjoying the rack.

Looks awesome. Hey this might be a dumb question but do the 2x4's on the bottom move around a lot while stacking? How sturdy is this thing? I'd probbaly want to make one 16' long.

1 reply

What lies across the bottom are not 2x4's. They are landscaping timbers. They are cheaper than (for me they were) or really close to the same price, but much more sturdy. If you use a 2x4, I would not trust it.