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Holzhaufen: New Way To Store Firewood
Holzhaufen, which means "woodpile" in German, is a cylindrically-shaped stack of wood offering several advantages over conventional woodpiles. Wood can be stacked right where you split it - with a lot less effort and space taken up. And wood stacked in a Holzhaufen seems to dry a lot faster than wood in less organized piles. This is because of the "chimney effect" created within the center of the pile, which draws air in from the bottom of the Holzhaufen and releases it out the top.

To construct a Holzhaufen, which can range anywhere from 4' to 10' in height, there are several requisites. These are:

1. Have wood cut in lengths from 12" to 24". Wood shorter than 12" tends to bulge and tip the Holzhaufen.

2. Wood must be split. Split wood not only dries faster, but also interlocks - a necessary requisite for sturdy Holzhaufen construction.

3. Select a level piece of ground. Besides attractiveness, there are many advantages to the Holzhaufen. One is that the entire pile of wood-and one pile can contain as much as two and a half cords - can be built with a 6' diameter and 10' in height in just one hour. The Holzhaufen also takes up less space than conventional "wood stacking" - and shortens drying time, even during the dampest kinds of weather.

Here are a few pointers that help in the construction of the Holzhaufen:

Wood, once split, in most cases will have a narrow and wide end. So, to begin your Holzhaufen, wood is laid in a circle by placing the narrow edge towards the center and the wider edge to the outside. In building the "circles", pieces of wood of any thickness or length (though uniformity helps) are placed next to each other. They must form a circle on a predetermined diameter, which can range from 4' to 6: (This diameter must be kept regardless of the size or shape of the wood. And remember, the thinner end goes toward the middle, the wider end to the outside.)

Place a center pole (the indicator pole) into the ground, approximately the height the Holzhaufen is to be. (A good height to start with is ten feet.) If placed plumb, which it should be, it will assure that the pile is vertical. And by keeping the wood placed around it at equal distances, your Holzhaufen should remain in a perfect circle around the indicator pole.

During the initial construction o f the Holzhaufen, because of the shorter circumference on the inner end of the wood pieces, there will occasionally be a crossing over and soon a tendency f or the pieces o f wood to slope outward, instead of lying horizontal. Don't let this happen! Use wedges to continue maintaining a 1" inward slope (never more), by placing "cheaters" or wedges between wood sticks. This will raise the outer end o f the stick o f wood to continue its slope slanting inward and slightly downward.

The roof of the Holzhaufen is made by placing several pieces of wood, bark-side-up, in junction at the top' of the cone.

A Holzhaufen as high as 10' will stand as long as the wood will hold up, and - within a period of three months - will probably shrink to about 8'. This shrinkage will continue as moisture is lost from the wood. Thus, the center indicator pole can be used as a measure of dryness. When the Holzhaufen has shrunk between 20 to 25%, the wood is ready to be brought in and burned.

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1979 - Volume #3, Issue #2