Introduction: Firewood Rack Using No Tools

Picture of 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


Chipaway (author)2018-01-06

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.

Chipaway (author)Chipaway2018-01-06

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.

clasof56 (author)Chipaway2018-01-06

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

ata1anta made it! (author)2017-12-26

Work in progress. Just put together a third rack for the 2 cords we got recently. We live on a hill. It may look severely canted but my level says otherwise. I have parts for 2 more racks, we'll see how many we need. The guys at Home Depot cut the 2x4s for me.

ata1anta (author)2017-11-28

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?

JohnR703 (author)2017-10-10

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!

clasof56 (author)JohnR7032017-10-11

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 set on each end. makes an easy, last-forever tie down...easy on, easy off.

lanoke (author)2017-09-13

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

clasof56 (author)lanoke2017-10-10

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.

bobbi13820 (author)2017-10-04

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.

clasof56 (author)bobbi138202017-10-04

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.

patti24 (author)2017-08-18

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!

clasof56 (author)patti242017-08-18

hi patti24, glad you liked the 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.

GingerN7 made it! (author)2017-06-10

Thanks for the brilliant idea. I need a rack that wouldn't dig into the ground (utility wires under the spot). This was so easy. Made six eight footers. Used a center block for stability, spray painted the blocks brown to blend in with the rest of the yard and dug a few inches under each block and laid a sand foundation for stability and easy leveling. Neighbor stopped by with sincere compliments on how good they looked.

clasof56 (author)GingerN72017-06-12

Hi GingerN7, good job, and i am just another neighbor saying the same.

KurtL21 made it! (author)2017-05-12

Thanks for this idea! I used what I had laying around so it was "free"!

LGTWHIT made it! (author)2017-03-05

Super easy design, even a caveman can do it. I couldn't find the base timbers so opted for 4 4x4x8's which imo are stronger. I had quite a slope I was building on so took some time to level but came out perfect and a cord of wood fits perfectly!!

clasof56 (author)LGTWHIT 2017-03-06

wow, good one. it amazes me how crafty people can continue to improve on a basic idea and make changes that are really impressive. nice work!!

LenT9 made it! (author)2017-02-28

I am clueless with home projects but I was able to put this 16 foot rack together without a problem. Cost about $35. Thanks for the tips

zmazur made it! (author)2017-02-12

I went a little nuts with it. There are three 16ft 4x4's on the bottom and the whole thing is stuck together with 4" deck screws.

clasof56 (author)zmazur2017-02-13

hahah, amazing!! I guess there is virtually no limit on how big you can make! really big stuff for sure. nice job.

clasof56 (author)2017-02-04

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.

sh0wn (author)2016-11-17

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.

bozzman43 (author)sh0wn2016-12-26

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.

clasof56 (author)sh0wn2016-11-18

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.

phreon made it! (author)2016-11-13

I made three of these. I used to store my split wood on what was essentially a wood ladder rack. But no matter what I did, the rack would always sink, tilt and eventually fall over. And I had to spend a fair amount of time criss-cross stacking the wood to keep everything stable.

These racks work as advertised. You just can't beat 'em for the price. If I did the math right, each one holds a bit over 1/3 of a cord if your wood is cut to 16".

DYI student made it! (author)2016-09-18

This was awesome! My husband and I put this together in 15 min. We just bought our house so money is tight. We were online looking at some that average price were 2-3 hundred. This design is not only frugal but brilliantly engineered! Thanks for sharing, we are waiting for our wood to be delivered!

clasof56 (author)DYI student2016-09-19

looks to me like a project well done. and you will like how solid it is once you get some wood on it. and what a nice woodsy setting you have.

JamesR227 (author)2016-08-28

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.

clasof56 (author)JamesR2272016-08-31

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

Dkl22 made it! (author)2016-08-14

Made another version with a rope in top to prevent the walls to tilt.

clasof56 (author)Dkl222016-08-15

ah, i see you didnt use the parts list or put it together using instructions. landscape timbers work best as the base and they should be resting on the cement blocks for whole-rack stability. its a simple set up and works really good ....but good luck.

Dkl22 (author)clasof562016-08-15

Yes, You're right. I did mine before I spotted Yours. I wasn't smart enough to figure that out from beginning :) So instead of taking all wood out again, I solved it with the rope

tgiraud made it! (author)2016-08-05

In hindsight I should have built longer and taller. I ended up with 3x 4'tall by 8' wide. Will stretch it next year. Now I need to find an easy way to cover. Suggestions?

clasof56 (author)tgiraud2016-08-09

hi tgiraud, i have found the easiest way to cover is with some blue or
silver tarp, using holed bricks with a cord tied between two of
them...drape over ends of tarp to keep on in wind and rain. cheap, heavy enough, easy,
and works very well. you really dont need to cover completely...just
the top and a foot over the sides is plenty. gives it air. good luck.

AndrewW220 (author)2016-06-21

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.

JasonM149 (author)AndrewW2202016-06-25

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.

clasof56 (author)JasonM1492016-06-25

hi jason, you are absolutely correct. the bottom wood is a couple of landscape timbers...nice and solid. and little tweaks like you did with stones is always fun to hear about. no project is ever perfect from the get-go and hearing about changes is always good. thanks and enjoy!

JasonM149 (author)clasof562016-06-25

Yeah, I filled the holes with stones so the 2x4's would have less give when there wouldn't be a lot of wood stacked on top. Also, this stacks probably about 1.2 chords of wood, when doing a diaganal cut.. My picture, no on this post, but another, is a whole chord.

clasof56 (author)AndrewW2202016-06-21

hi andrew...the 2x4's on the ends are just loose until you start stacking wood up against them. the more you stack, the stronger the ends get. on a full rack the ends are really tough and strong, but you can still tap them narrower or wider if you need to move them. if you build this on a stable base, its as strong and stable as any woodrack i have ever seen. i have found that length is no problem at all, in fact i like longer ones and i have a double that works perfectly.
the bottom pieces dont move at all.

JasonM149 made it! (author)2016-06-25

Super easy and quick. After I put the 2x4's in I also put stones all around them . Thanks. You saved me hours.

chelyos (author)2016-05-22

This design saved the day! I had one day to build a firewood stacker at my mom's cabin, an argument with her about the shed she wanted, a half hour before the lumber yard closed by the time we sorted it out, and no tools. Now all the wood I split is is safe - thanks so much!

clasof56 (author)chelyos2016-05-22

hi chelyos, so glad you are finding the rack useful for mom. its a fast and permanent solution for sure. thanks for the comment on your experience.

iplus10 (author)2016-05-03

This is absolutely brilliant! I bought all the parts from Lowes yesterday and will assemble it today. However, I have a silly question. First off, I'm a new firewood collector, so apologies in advance lol. If I have pieces of wood that are pretty small in diameter, do I still need to split them before burning them in a fireplace?

They are as big as the small ones shown in the pic uploaded in this post:

clasof56 (author)iplus102016-05-03

i, you dont have to split to burn. i used to work hard
splitting but with age have learned. if you look at my stacks you wont
see anything that is split. just give it time to dry. i use
pinelighter...the heart of a pine tree, split into small pieces to start
an oak fire with ease. three or four pieces the size of fat pencils
will start large oak pieces easily. when you stack your wood, its good
to keep one end small stuff and the rest big. then you will have easy
access instead of having the small stuff buried. i cant tell what kind of wood you have you know?

iplus10 (author)clasof562016-05-03

I believe that this wood came from a maple tree. It has been sitting outside since November. I was going to move this batch inside the garage today to make room for some more fresh cut wood from my neighbor to put in its place. Is 6-months time enough to season it? I figure it can season some more in the garage over the summer.

clasof56 (author)iplus102016-05-04

hi, if its maple then its nice to burn but hard to split. remember, that to dry and season, the wood needs air circulation. inside a garage might not be the best place for that. there are places online that will tell you how good or bad different woods are for the fireplace. oaks are my favorite but i grab maple when i can as its so hard and does make a nice fire. good luck.

iplus10 (author)iplus102016-05-03

Sorry, not sure why the link didn't work. Here's a picture of my stack.

lovinlocust made it! (author)2016-05-01

It took me some time to get this project started but I found all of the material at my home and on the farm, I also found and cut my own pieces to put vertical to help with support. Thanks again for the awesome idea and look forward to adding onto my stack

clasof56 (author)lovinlocust2016-05-02

yeah man, nice start for sure. glad you like it. i will be out chainsawing today.

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