Years ago when I was a kid, my parents installed a wood stove in our house. We always had a fireplace but this was just a bit different. For one, it actually heated the house. I’m sure it offset our heating bill in some way, but I was too young to care about that. What I cared about was all the wood. My dad would bring it home in the trunk of his car or we would have some logs dumped on the lawn if they were trimming trees in the area. From the first strike of the sledge hammer onto the wedge I was hooked. There was something about splitting wood that called to me. Even when we were at my grandmother’s house in the country for the summer, I would look for opportunities to split wood.
When I finally bought my own home I knew I wanted to heat with wood. It took me a few years, but I finally found my opening to get our first wood stove. We had a very cold, snowy winter one year and the power went out often and when the power was out, our furnace didn’t work. The very next winter my wife was pregnant and I suggested that we get a wood stove in case the power goes out to keep the baby warm. Our first stove was an old oval barrel stove with a top that opened to load it. We bought split wood and stacked it on our porch, but this did not feed my desire to cut my own wood. The next year, I ordered my first tri-axle load of logs which is around 8 cords of wood, give or take. I was in wood heaven.
I even got to buy a chainsaw, talk about awesome! I enjoyed it so much that I would order two tri-axle loads of wood a year, burn one, and sell the other. It helped us heat the house basically for free, except my labor. I eventually bought a better saw, a Husqvarna 365 special. I was in love. Oddly, splitting wood to clears my mind. After several years, even I got tired of splitting so much wood, but I refused to own a wood splitter and still don’t. I eventually scaled back to one tri-axle load per year, but this left me with some free time and led to my new obsession the Holzhaufen. The Holzhaufen or Holz for short is a way that they stack wood in Germany. It literally means “woodpile”. It dries wood much faster and there is no need for a tarp or shed, plus they are beautiful.
Whenever you can make this pile of wood look like the pictures below you know you are onto something.
They are made by stacking wood in a circle, and once the circle is complete you fill the center with wood stacked vertically. This creates a chimney effect and dries the wood quickly. The top is stacked with the bark out to shed rain. They are most beautiful in the winter with a fresh coating of snow on them.
They make stacking firewood seem like an artistic pursuit, as opposed to a chore. Each one holds about 1.5 cords of wood so its easy to tell if you have enough for winter. The first year that I built them, they were the talk of the town, and people would stop and take pictures. Now they are just a landmark when people give directions. I think I will always stack wood this way. Constructing one is like doing a puzzle. Your mind is totally engaged with what you are doing. Every knot must be stacked to the outside. I believe it is a perfect way to give tribute to the firewood that I love so much.