The Firewood Box System

A new firewood box design minimizes the time it takes to fill and stack wood from forest to stove.

| January/February 1975

What takes so long about getting in firewood? Cutting? Hauling? No. When you think about it, the tedious part of the job is the stacking and restacking, right?

Let's say you get your fuel directly out of the woods, in the form of logs. That means you've got to [1] load the firewood on a truck, take it home and [2] stack it again in a pile. Then you cut it in stove-length pieces, [3] pile these in a wheelbarrow or other conveyance and transport them to the woodshed where they're [4] stacked yet another time. Finally, you [5] bring the sticks as needed to the firewood box by the stove.

That's five handlings in all! Even if your "stacking" is really more like tossing the chunks in a heap, it still requires moving all that wood bit by bit, one or two lengths per toss. THIS TAKES TIME . . . and the messier the pile, the longer you work to dislodge each unit on the next go-round.

There has to be a less time-consuming way to move firewood from the forest to the stove. After all, the important thing is having that overflowing firewood box in the kitchen where you need it . . . so why not just take the box itself to the woods and fill it on the spot? Then you can transport the whole business straight to the house (forget the intermediate loading and unloading) and — when it's empty — replace it with a full container.

That, in fact, is more or less how I manage the job. I do my cutting and splitting in the woods where the sawdust and chips don't make a mess. Then I load the stove-length pieces — for the first and only time — into an empty wooden crate specially made for the purpose. The box sits on the rear end of the truck, and when it's full I move it forward and put a fresh container on behind.

I still keep fuel in the woodshed until I need it, and I still move the wood around as much as ever . . . but instead of handling loose pieces, I work with loaded crates. When my indoor supply runs low, I put a full box on a dolly — which need be nothing more than a piece of plywood equipped with wheels — and trundle the container into a cabinet by the stove.

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