Make Innovative Firewood Racks!

Is it possible to make a firewood rack for drying, stacking, and storing cord wood made from used warehouse pallet racking? Absolutely! It's a creative and useful way to repurpose industrial pallet racking, giving a whole new life and purpose after it's longer being use in the warehouse.   

The Wonderful Warmth of Wood Heat

There's nothing quite like the heat of a warming fire in the fireplace or wood stove to keep us cozy and warm when the weather turns cold!

Imagine coming in from outdoors where the frigid air has numbed your cheeks, fingers, and toes, into a room that radiates with the wonderful warmth of a wood fueled fire... It's a sensation that's challenging to describe.

Like an invisible comforter, the heat swaddles you, thawing your fingertips and penetrates your cold pours with a comfort that holds you in its thermal embrace...  There is nothing quite as soothing to the mind, body and heart as the warmth of cozy wood heat! But this doesn't happen unless the firewood has been properly dried and seasoned. That's where our nifty firewood rack, made out of repurposed pallet racking, enters the picture...

Our Firewood Rack
A Great Example of Pallet Rack Repurposing

Have a look at this innovative way to stack, dry, and store your firewood! This cleverly designed rack for drying firewood may not win a local beauty contest, but we certainly consider it a winner for other reasons! These racks are very practical, strong, durable, stackable, they measure your wood, and allow for great air and sun exposure for proper seasoning of the firewood. Since each firewood rack holds a face cord of wood, it's easy to see at a glance the amount of firewood that you have. 

Living here in Canada, we heat with wood which we harvest from dead trees in the surrounding area. With our cold winters, processing firewood is a necessity task every year. We needed to create a good, solid firewood rack that would hold one cord of processed firewood, that would be stackable, and that would last for several years. After designing and creating a prototype, we were pleased with the result! Now we await winter with our supply of seasoned hardwood stacked in 18 of these great firewood racks. 

After making each firewood rack we processed the wood and filled it. Since each rack holds a face cord of wood, it's easy for us to see how much we have and how many more racks we need to fill. Because of the way they are made the wood is exposed to the sun and wind so that it is well seasoned before winter. We'll mention below more about the importance of seasoning your wood properly.

The bottoms and sides of the racks are made of wire mesh decking. This holds the pieces of cut firewood securely in the rack while enabling plenty of exposure to ensure proper drying. Each firewood rack is designed to be stackable. Four U-shaped channels, two on each side, have been welded to the top of each rack to receive the bottom structure of the rack placed on top of it. You can see these orange U-shaped channels in the photo below. We were glad to see that these stacked racks have stayed upright in some fairly strong winds. 

These firewood racks are rather heavy, especially when loaded. Due to their weight, a tractor with 36" to 48" forks would be needed for moving, lifting, and stacking these racks.

Saved from the landfill, new life has been given to these pieces of industrial pallet racking! We used upright frames, beams and wire mesh decking and we're very satisfied with the result! Pallet rack repurposing is an excellent initiative which saves the environment by redirecting reusable steal that would have been buried in a dumpsite to become serviceable again for many years to come.

If our firewood rack would be of use to you, contact us for used industrial pallet racking to build them with. 

Many Wonderful Benefits of Heating with Wood

Among the many benefits of heating with wood, the environmental considerations are very important. 

The economic benefits of heating with wood is a major reason many people choose to use wood as their source of heat. They appreciate the lower utility costs. Wood is renewable, sustainable, as well as affordable. Whenever possible, it's best to harvesting dead hardwood trees and use them to supply heat for the winter.

Another benefit of heating with wood is that processing the firewood provides wonderful physical exercise. Classically, splitting firewood may be one of the manliest pastimes ever, but we know women who also enjoy a wood-splitting workout. Whether you use an ax or a log-splitter, cutting, splitting, and stacking put a lot of muscles to work. It's a great cardio workout as well. 

Compared to fossil fuel sourced heat, (propane, coal, natural gas, etc.), heating with wood is more environmentally friendly. Wood fuel is considered carbon-neutral, meaning that burning firewood doesn't add more carbon dioxide to the environment since it releases the same amount of carbon as leaving it to decay. Heating with wood utilizes a renewable resource. While the tree is alive and growing, it absorbs carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere. During combustion, a balance is maintained. 

If you've ever experienced power outages in the cold winter months, you know how valuable a heat source that doesn't depend on outside providers can be! When life comes to a grinding halt because of lack of power, a wonderful benefit of wood sourced heat is that you're able to keep your home warm. With many wood stoves, you're also able to heat water and prepare meals on the flat top of the wood stove. 

And most of us very much enjoy the quality of heat that wood produces. It has a wonderful way of cutting the chill, especially when it's damp and cold outside. There's nothing quite like the dry, permeating quality of good wood heat. And we're drawn to the cozy, relaxing ambiance created by the orange glow of the dancing flames, the soft crackling of the fire, and the woody scents that the burning firewood produces. 

Appreciating a Tree's Final Gift of Heat...

These beautifully penned words of Kathy Kaiser say it so well as she speaks of sitting in front of her wood stove:

"...Besides the ever-changing visual show, there’s the sound of the wood as it disintegrates—crackling and popping, sometimes sending embers onto the floor—and the quiet whoosh of the winds created by all that motion and energy, flowing upward into the chimney.

"...Each log has a beginning and end, and I’m watching the end of one story.  Although the specifics are different, the stories have the same trajectory:  each tree starts with a seed that is nurtured by a combination of nutrients from the earth and carbon dioxide from the air. Now, as the fire destroys the last material elements of these trees, the wood releases the carbon dioxide that helped it grow— helping another tree to thrive. 

"As I watch, in my small wood stove, the end of one cycle of life and death, I’m overwhelmed by an appreciation for how life works, and a tenderness and gratitude for the tree’s final gift of heat."

A Word of Caution:
Properly Seasoned Firewood is Crucial!

Identifying Seasoned and Unseasoned Wood

The quality of firewood that you use for heating your home is extremely important, both for your safety as well as for an efficient, well-burning fire. Just because you've made and filled your firewood rack does not mean that you're ready to enjoy a cozy, warm fire! 

Firewood that is freshly cut is called green, wet, or unseasoned wood. Unseasoned firewood contains up to 80% moisture. 

If you're not sure if your wood is sufficiently seasoned, have a look at the ends of your pieces of firewood. Green wood has very little to no cracks on the cut ends and the bark is usually firmly attached to the wood. Wet often feels damp and is heavier due to the weight of the moisture it holds. Unseasoned firewood produces a dull thud if you strike two pieces against each other. And take a sniff - you'll notice a stronger woody smell from green wood. You'll find that it's very difficult to start a fire. And If you place a piece of it into a hot fire, you'll see bubbling at the ends and edges and you'll hear the typical sizzling of unseasoned wood. These are warning signals! Also remember that unseasoned firewood should not be stored indoors because of the significant amount of moisture that it will introduce to the house, nor will the wood dry properly.

On the other hand, as shown in the photo above, seasoned wood tends to have obvious cracking on the end grains, usually extending from the center of the log and reaching out towards the edges. The bark will loosen or even fall off the logs. The logs will feel less heavy due to the decrease of their moisture content, and you won't detect as much of a moist, sappy smell. Properly seasoned wood makes a hollow sound when two pieces are knocked together. The dry firewood will be more difficult to split, but it will burn much quicker and hotter. 

Serious Danger of Using Unseasoned Firewood!

There are several reasons that green wood should never be used for fires in the home. Firstly, IF you are able to get a fire started with the green wood, your fire will definitely not burn hot enough. The fire will smolder and burn at a lower temperature because most of the fire’s energy is being used to reduce the high percentage of moisture in your when unseasoned firewood. 

When the fire is not burning hot enough, the smoke that it produces will quickly condense, forming a dangerous buildup of creosote, a flammable, tar-like substance, inside the chimney.  Buildup can also be caused when the stove is shut up too tightly, not allowing adequate airflow. When the conditions are right, this buildup of creosote can quickly ignite and can result in a chimney fire, that could destroy your home and precious lives. (*See Disclaimer below.)

So, you can see that the quality of the wood is tremendously important for clean, efficient wood burning. Wood should be seasoned at least six months to a full year, stored off the ground, and kept under cover after it is cut and split. This is why our firewood rack works perfectly for drying our yearly supply of firewood.

* Disclaimer: Every person who chooses to heat with wood 
must be careful to observe all safety 
Though we have shared benefits of heating with wood 
as well as this firewood rack, 
we will not be held responsible 
for any damage or harm that may transpire. 

Tell Us About the Different Ways You've Repurposed Industrial Pallet Racking!

Have you come up with some interesting, useful, creative ways to repurpose Pallet Racking? Please share your ideas and photos! We'd like to hear about them!

Whether it a hunting stand, a fort for your kids, a structure to hold rabbit cages, a storage solution for your garage, bunk beds, a small greenhouse or shed, a workbench, farmgate or a carryall tractor implement... Perhaps the things that you've created out of used Pallet Racking will give someone else the idea that they were looking for! And please don't forget to add your photos!

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