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Our First Holz Hausen

March 19th, 2013

A long time ago I pinned this article from Mother Earth News for Mr Chiots. I thought this European method of stacking firewood might be something he was interested in. As we were splitting and stacking wood last weekend, we decided our next stack of wood was going to be made using this method.
holz hausen 1
It’s a round stack with all the good pieces stacked around the exterior and all the gnarled pieces loaded in the middle. It’s really quite simple to construct. First, you build a circle on the ground out of pieces of firewood in the diameter you want your stack. Then you start stacking wood in the circle around it.  This first ring of pieces of wood will start you pile off with the pieces of wood slanting inward, this give the pile stability.
holz hausen 4
Every so often, if your pieces of firewood start to slope outward instead of inward, you add a horizontal piece across the stack, you can add one in just that area or all the way around. You can see a few of these in the photo below if you look. All the gnarly hard to stack pieces get thrown into the middle vertically.
holz hausen 2
Sunday, we spent the afternoon splitting wood and we worked on our very first one. It wasn’t difficult at all and it went up fairly quickly. After a couple hours of work it was about 5 feet high (ours is about 6 feet wide).
holz hausen 3
I rather like stacking wood this way, it is like putting together a puzzle. The interest it adds is also worth the effort of doing so. All-in-all, I think it’s actually quicker and easier than traditional stacking methods. We’ll see how the wood seasons in this pile. No doubt we’ll be building more of these, it’s always nice when you can find a more beautiful way to deal with something like firewood.

Have you ever seen one of these or another artistic way of stacking firewood? 

22 Comments to “Our First Holz Hausen”
  1. Crinia on March 19, 2013 at 5:26 am

    You could always get artistic, this is one of my favourites

    Reply to Crinia's comment

    • George on March 19, 2013 at 5:31 am

      Wow! That took a lot of planning and work. Certainly would not want to burn it.

      Reply to George's comment

    • daisy on March 19, 2013 at 7:58 am

      Wow! That’s amazing!

      Reply to daisy's comment

    • Jodiana on March 19, 2013 at 8:08 am

      I would hate to burn that! It’s amazing!!

      Reply to Jodiana's comment

    • Susy on March 19, 2013 at 8:26 am

      I think I have that pile pinned, along with a beautiful one that looks like a tree. If I had my druthers, our piles would look like this, but alas, sometimes there’s not quite enough time for that!

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • amy on March 19, 2013 at 9:44 am


      Reply to amy's comment

  2. George on March 19, 2013 at 5:34 am

    Very beautiful wood pile. That should be very stable without having to make extra support efforts. Would also make fantastic critter condos, which might be good or bad, depending on the critters.

    Reply to George's comment

  3. Jodiana on March 19, 2013 at 8:07 am

    I love this. As we have to stack our wood on the driveway in view of the road this would look so much better than the current stacking job!

    Reply to Jodiana's comment

  4. kristin @ going country on March 19, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Have you heard of the Swedish reality show that’s all about their obsession with firewood? It’s tempting to be snarky about it, but then my husband and I agreed that we’d rather watch a reality show about firewood than “Real Housewives” or whatever.

    Apparently we were meant to be Swedish.

    We got a delivery of sawmill scrap this year, which was cheap, really dry, and burned very well, but because of the irregular nature of it, was IMPOSSIBLE to stack. The resulting messy pile drove me crazy all winter.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on March 19, 2013 at 8:25 am

      Sounds like a reality show Mr Chiots and I might enjoy.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Mr. Chiots on March 19, 2013 at 8:47 am

      What is the name of this show and where can I watch it?!?!

      Reply to Mr. Chiots's comment

  5. Nita on March 19, 2013 at 9:20 am

    That’s beautiful!

    I fear here our wood would not cure well enough being outside, we are destined to keep stacking our wood in our woodshed in the same old way..

    Looking forward to seeing the next stacks you build.

    Reply to Nita's comment

  6. amy on March 19, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Very very cool! My only question is…..from the photos it looks to be some distance and downhill from the house….Wont that be a problem….later? Are you planning to reload it? Just curious. My husband built a rather large wood shed right out back of our house from reclaimed barn siding. Thankfully it is just a few steps from our mudroom…..Because I am the one who does the bulk of fire tending.

    Reply to amy's comment

    • Susy on March 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

      It is down the hill from the house, we’re stacking the wood in these piles right where we split it. Then we’ll move the whole pile of firewood into the basement before winter.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Miranda on March 19, 2013 at 11:55 am

        Very cool.
        Questions: how do you season it? – will you build a roof for it? Tarp?
        Second – what about pallets? Around here it is WET and you really have to get the wood up and OFF the soggy ground. Seems like you could do the same technique on a ‘foundation’ of pallets.
        Third – in response to the above reply – how in heaven’s name will you move a whole pile of wood????
        4th – basement? you can keep wood in a basement????
        Obviously i’m new to stacking firewood. We have plans to add on a shedrow to our barn and stack the wood there. As i said, you really have to keep wood out of the wet here in the soggy coastal range. Andy’s been splitting the wood fairly large, so there will be more splitting to do before we burn it. I’ve never stacked wood before and i’m sure there’s a technique. i dig this idea!

        to Miranda's comment

      • Susy on March 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm

        Yes, you can build them on pallets. We sacrificed a few pieces of wood for to build the initial ring, they might rot, but we’ll just throw in them in the compost pile. I think we used 10 pieces for the base, so it’s not too much of a loss. This particular design is supposed to help with air flow, especially for shorter season places. I’m guessing if they’ve been doing it in Europe for many years it probably works well. I’ll let you know how it works for us.

        As for a roof, yes, you stack some pieces bark up to create a roof of sorts. This keeps too much moisture from entering the pile. You could cover with a tarp if you want, just keep the sides open for good air flow or it will never dry. Keeping the wood in an area where it gets sun is also a good idea.

        We keep the wood in the basement one it is seasoned & dry, just for a few months while we’re burning it. You don’t want to move wet wood into the basement. You also don’t want to do this if you live in an area where there are termites (might be the case in Oregon).

        to Susy's comment

  7. DebbieB on March 19, 2013 at 11:55 am

    It’s like a wooden igloo!

    Reply to DebbieB's comment

  8. Donna B. on March 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I do! Pat over on Commonweeder actually made a post about this last year!
    I found the first one, made into an archway, to be the most beautiful thing I have ever saw! This makes me want to have a wood burning stove… so so so bad. ♥

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

  9. Deb on March 20, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Very nice. We stack in the garage to keep it dry. It might cure outdoors like this but think it would still be wet to some extent. If you have an outdoor stove it might be OK, but we have a stove in our dining room so wet wouldn’t do very well. I like what you have done, it’s very creative. Will it burn OK then when you need to use it since it could be very damp. My hubby stacks it from floor all the way into the rafters in the garage so we make good use of the space. Then we bring some indoors in a wooden sided wagon for use each time. Works good.

    Reply to Deb's comment

  10. Jessica on March 21, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I love this. I’d never heard of this before – it’s great. So much more interesting than your standard woodpile.

    You know, there are a lot of things about the U.S. that I think are great – but our television is not one of them. It’s terrible. And you don’t even realize just how terrible until you hear about something like a Norwegian reality show on firewood. And River Cottage. (Or, on a completely non-educational note, Sherlock. :-) )

    Reply to Jessica's comment

  11. Jessica on March 21, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Also, I love the story at the end of that New York Times article about the broken ax and the man at the store repairing or replacing it for free because even after a decade of use, “this sort of thing should not happen to our ax.”

    We don’t think that way here, for the most part. That man expected his handiwork to last a lifetime. Which is awesome.

    Reply to Jessica's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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