If there’s one truism out there in regards to the process of burning firewood, it’s that things are going to be messy. I think many people don’t realize this fact before they purchase and install their wood stoves, but quickly learn their first season. As a matter of fact, I’ve heard on a number of occasions, after an individual abandons wood for another source of heat, that the mess was one of the primary factors that turned them off. I’m sure the collection of wood and the labor that goes along with storing and transporting it is right up their too. But the mess is what I hear about the most. The wood chips and little chunks of bark that leave a trail from the firewood rack all the way to the stove. No matter how much you sweep or vacuum, the issue seems to persist.
Firewood Crumbs Left On Floor
Over this past summer, as I was in a frenzy trying to gather as much wood as I could, I found the time to build myself a firewood rack. It’s a pretty good rack too. A few months into season number one, it’s still holding strong. I must say that I’m fairly gentle with it, but there have been times that I just dumped my arm full of logs on top of the existing logs. The rack frame hasn’t budged and what I built back in September pretty much looks like what is sitting here today.
I gathered the lumber to make the rack from our good friend up the road. He’s got a wood mill and sometimes it’s easier to drive a mile for some nice cedar boards than it is to drive fourteen miles for similar boards that cost twice as much. Anyway, as I was picking through Chad’s lumber, he asked me what I was building. I told him that I intended to make a firewood rack, to which he replied, “Why not build a box?” Since I had no idea what a firewood box was, and told him so, he brought me into his house, where he showed me his. Basically, a box is a box. It’s about two and a half feet tall by the same dimension wide. It’s made from three quarter inch plywood and, according to Chad, is better than a rack because it keeps all the wood crumbs from getting all over the place. When you dump your wood in, the crumbs shake off and fall to the bottom of the box.
Since I already had a rack on my mind, I ignored what Chad told me, paid for the wood and went on my merry way. The thing is, I want a box now. Firewood is very messy. We’ve got little chunks of wood from here all the way to Timbuktu.
I’ll go through exactly what happens and how the mess comes about. It’s not so bad bringing the wood inside. I carry about five or six pieces in my arm and leave very little trace of where the wood came from. I do notice though that before I pick the wood up from the outside pile, it’s got crumbs on it. It’s not all too easy to shake each piece off as I’m stacking them on my arm because things are getting heavier and heavier. As I make my way through the door and up the stairs to the log cabin room, everything is still fine, although I do take notice of all those little wood chunks I just brought inside. The issue arises when I let go of the wood to place it in the rack. One chunk here and another crumb there. After about two minutes, I’ve got myself a mess. Taking the wood from the rack and carrying it to the stove – same problem. I trail wood all along the path. I amuse myself as I carry piece after piece as still as possible, just so nothing falls off onto the floor.
I believe a firewood box would cure my problem. Since there’s nothing wrong with my trip from the garage to the upstairs room, I’m not concerned with it. If I could dump the dirty wood into a nice big box and let the residual wood pieces fall to the bottom of the box only to shovel into the stove at a later date, I’d be happy. Also, if I could give a minor shake and a tap to each log before I carry it over to the stove, all the better.
If you burn wood, what are your thoughts on this? How do you deal with the mess?