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

Ok, this is some years later and just a couple comments:

Its great to see a lot of people have built the rack and are having success. Its like any basic project. You can add your ideas to it to make it work better for you. Nothing is set in stone...its just an easy, inexpensive way to make a solid, long-lasting rack that you will appreciate. One thought on how i cover the wood. I take a piece of standard 8x10 plastic tarp and cut it longwise into two strips...the wood still needs to get ventilation and this only covers the top and a bit on each side. then i take holed bricks...you know the cheap bricks with three holes in them...and tie a light rope from one brick to another...about 4 feet apart...and just drape one of these "bolas" over each end of the tarp...i use three on a double length rack..the tarps overlap in the middle and the brick holdown works great and they last forever with no maintenance...my kind of tool..hahah.. and they are plenty heavy enough to keep the tarp on in a wind or rain...and no ties to make or adjust or remove.
Make sure when building the rack that the end upright 2x4's are facing right...you get more strength if the wood is on end and you dont need the width there. If you have the room and the need, build a double length rack..you use less than twice the material. And it gives you lots more room to separate different kinds of wood or dryness or sizes..its very handy having a longer rack and you will appreciate it. so then you can stroll along your long woodpile on that chilly night and pick just the right piece for that beautiful fireplace. hahah, i love the sound and smell of a wood fire. My best to all. Clas

46 People Made This Project!

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121 Comments

0
RandyPerson
RandyPerson

8 weeks ago

What a great design! I don’t think I’ve seen so many builds on any other Instructable. Reading comments, I sense some lingering questions. Maybe I can help.

Measuring wood – a cord of wood is a tight stack 4’ wide, 4’ high, and 8’ long, containing 128 cubic feet (4x4x8). A “face cord” is a single stack of wood 4’ high, 8’ long, and as deep as the length of your wood. Say your wood is cut 16” long (1.33’). A face cord would contain 4x8x1.33=42.56 cubic feet, or about 1/3 of a full cord (42.56/128). To determine how much your rack will hold, multiply the height of your wood stack times the average length (average the top and bottom lengths) times the length of your wood (in feet). Divide the result by 128 to get the number of full cords you can store. For example, say you make your rack of 8’ long timbers, the distance between the tops of the ends is 10’, and you cut your wood 18” long. Your 4’ long ends let you stack about 3 ½’ high. With an average length of 9’, you can store 9x3.5x1.5=47.5 cubic feet, or about 0.37 full cords – roughly a third of a cord.
Three racks like that would handle a full cord of delivered firewood.

Blocks – one response noted that you should use concrete blocks. Commonly available cinder blocks are smaller aggregate, weigh less, and are less strong than true concrete blocks. Also, concrete is relatively weak, especially in tension – pulling apart – when it’s fresh. Concrete takes a full 30 days to reach specified strength, and will continue to get a little stronger over time. If you get a cinder block fresh from the plant, you may have the cracking problem one respondent described. If all you have are cinder blocks, use older ones if possible. For a sure thing, find true concrete.

Treating the uprights – in a pressure treated 2x4, the treatment penetrates the end grain well. If you place them factory end in the blocks, rot should not be an issue. If you cut a treated 2x4, you can see the treatment does not get into the middle of the wood. If you do this, or if you have untreated material you’d like to use, treat the ends yourself. The best way is to use a wood preservative, typically a water based copper solution, often green or brown. Using a disposable container like the bottom of a gallon milk jug, pour some preservative in, and then stand the cut ends in the liquid. Go do something else for at least 10 minutes, no harm if you forget them. The wood will draw in the treatment, and it will remain there after it dries. I treated the ends of my
greenhouse shelf legs 10 years ago, and they are doing fine on an often-wet gravel floor.

Hope this helps you use this nice design.

0
clasof56
clasof56

Reply 8 weeks ago

Hi Randy, nice comment...some thought went into it. and its appreciated. i fought for years trying to figure out something to hold my firewood...everything ended up collapsing...until this setup. its been a long time with it now and zero problems. i was looking at your calculations...if we are figuring a face cord..which is what most people buy...then this setup would hold the whole thing...right? the rack is easily over 8'long with 10' landscape timbers. it can easily hold a 2' long piece even though we dont usually burn logs that long and can easily be stacked over 4'high. it would probably hold a full 128 cf cord if you could balance the logs and put one block in the middle of the rack. thanks again, great comments Clasof56

0
RandyPerson
RandyPerson

Reply 8 weeks ago

Glad I could help, Clas. I live in western Washington. Out here, the most common firewoods are Douglas-fir and bigleaf maple. Both have about the same heat value. The fir burns cleaner, leaving little ash, and is great in a stove where you can control rate of burn. The maple burns slower in open air, making it great for open fireplaces. Both woods are sold around here in full cords - you seldom see a face cord advertised. I felt it important your followers know the difference, so they understand what they are actually buying. A face cord of 16" wood, for instance, is only 1/3 of a full cord, and will likely cost around half the full cord price. The vendor still has to cover his time and expenses for the delivery.

It's also worth noting that a full cord of green wood weighs around 3,300 pounds. Seasoned, it can drop to around 2,000. Anyone selling you a pickup load of wood and claiming it's a full cord is either badly mistreating their truck or stretching the truth a little. Best to just measure it and calculate volume, when it's neatly stacked. Wood tossed loosely in a truck or trailer cannot be measured in cords. At the price of good firewood today, those folks building your rack will want to get full value for their purchase.

PS - just edited my original post. Noticed I had the decimal wrong. Numbers make better sense now.

0
KevinB566
KevinB566

Question 1 year ago

Very Curious. What supplies would be needed to hold 2 cords of split wood? Thank you for your time.

0
clasof56
clasof56

Answer 1 year ago

I have done these and, if you have the room, you may try a double length. you use less materials than two singles and the extra length is nice to separate sizes or types or when added, etc. if you look at some pics that were from people who built it, you can see that some stack to the moon....so hard to say on two cords...but i would think about a face cord 2'x4'x8' so a double or 2 single racks should do it.

0
RadhaK28
RadhaK28

Question 2 years ago

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!

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clasof56
clasof56

Answer 2 years ago

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.

0
ata1anta
ata1anta

Reply 2 years ago

We too have the slope problem. If you look at my picture, you can see I had to do all sorts of shims to get it to be level. Did have it fall over a couple times, but it's only going to fall onto bushes so no harm. We're going to dig out the area and make it more level and then pour concrete to make it a more permanant structure. However, this is a great instructable and held the wood we got great!!!

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clasof56
clasof56

Reply 2 years ago

yeah, slopes are tough to deal with for sure. i spend some time setting the racks up, a little dirt or gravel here and there or a shim. but time and the elements eat away at the base. your idea of a concrete base is great. probably gravel would work as well but not forever. anyway, appreciate the comments and glad the basic set up works well for you...now come the improvements!! good luck and drop an updated pic when you finish.

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LynnB110
LynnB110

Question 2 years ago on Introduction

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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clasof56
clasof56

Answer 2 years ago

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.

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Chipaway
Chipaway

3 years ago

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.

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Chipaway
Chipaway

Reply 3 years ago

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.

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clasof56
clasof56

Reply 3 years ago

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

0
ata1anta
ata1anta

3 years ago

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?

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JohnR703
JohnR703

3 years ago

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!

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clasof56
clasof56

Reply 3 years ago

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.

0
lanoke
lanoke

3 years ago

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

0
clasof56
clasof56

Reply 3 years ago

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.