Keeping your home fires burning this Winter is much easier when your firewood is stored properly. A rewarding 1-2 day DIY challenge, you’ve gone to the effort of cutting your firewood, so why not go that extra yard and create a place for storing, stacking and seasoning it as well?
LOCATING YOUR FIREWOOD SHELTER
Before beginning, you’ll need to consider the best location for your shelter and confirm if any planning permit is required.
Key to choosing an optimum location is identifying where the wind typically comes from. The prevailing wind in Australia is generally north-easterly, so the open side of your shelter should ideally face north / north-west to protect your woodpile. This is especially important if you don’t want a back wall in the shelter you build.
Locating the shelter on the north side of the house is ideal, as warmth from the northern sun will draw the most moisture from your wood. If building your shelter against a fence or wall, be sure to leave at least a 10 cm gap for air circulation. And, to ensure that the rain runs off the front of the shelter and keeps the wood dry, the roof needs to slope forward instead of back.
STIHL tip: Make your future trips to the woodpile a breeze. Before building, check that you have access for a trolley or wheelbarrow from the site of your shelter to your house.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
6 pre-cast concrete decking blocks with recess for 50 mm beams
Wood for the foundation (spruce), 3 m of 100 x 50 mm
Construction timber (spruce/pine), 23 m of 76 x 50 mm
Wooden boards, 51 metres of 69 x 22 mm
Square wooden lengths, 7.5 metres of 22 x 22 mm
Corrugated metal sheet, 2200 x 1300 mm (plus necessary screws, washers, and spacers)
Countersunk chipboard screws 4.5 x 50 mm, 3.5 x 40 mm and 6 x 100 mm
Crushed stone chippings
If you would rather pour concrete pile foundations yourself, instead of decking blocks you’ll need: 6 angle brackets 7 x 7 x 5 cm with rib reinforcement, and 12 concrete anchor bolts with screws.
STAY SAFE When using power tools such as the GTA 26 battery garden pruner and the STIHL MSA 140 cordless chainsaw, always wear protective goggles and work gloves, and follow all safety manual instructions. Protective goggles should also be worn when cutting metal or drilling.
STEP 1: PREPARING TO BUILD Ensure you create a solid foundation for your shelter and woodpile. To begin, level the ground where your shelter will stand. Using stakes and string, mark out the perimeter of your planned build – the more precise you are in doing this, the easier your base coming together will be. Dig holes to sit the decking blocks in, digging 30 cm deep plus the height of the decking blocks, to set the blocks into.
STEP 2: LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS Compact the earth at the bottom of the newly dug holes. Add 20 cm of gravel to each hole, topping that again with 10 cm of crushed stone chippings. Set the decking blocks into the holes so that they don’t protrude more than 1 cm from the ground. Use gravel and chippings to fill any gaps around the blocks.
STEP 3: LAYING THE BASE JOISTS To keep your wood free from ground moisture, the frame you’re building needs to maintain a gap between your woodpile and the ground. Using your chainsaw, cut three 1-metre beams from the 50 x 100 mm timber and place the beams into the decking blocks.
STIHL professional tip: Not using concrete blocks with grooves? Fasten the joists to the concrete using angle brackets and a suitable concrete drill bit.
Build a rectangular frame, with the three long pieces running between the shorter lengths. Where the pieces meet at a 90° angle use butt joints, inserting a screw at an angle just less than 90°. Pre-drill the screw holes to make things easier. For those times where a butt joint isn’t practicable, as example the roof frame crossbeam in Step 9, screw through both pieces of wood at a 45° angle.
Lay the completed frame onto the base joists, securing it in place using 6 x 100 mm screws.
STEP 5: INSTALLING THE UPRIGHTS Cut 76 x 50 mm construction timber, using a chainsaw, to the following lengths:
2 x 1350 mm for the front uprights, cut to an 8° angle at the top
2 x 1225 mm for the rear uprights, cut to an 8° angle at the top
Note: To ensure the roof pitch is correct, the front uprights should be 12.5 cm taller than the rear ones. Fit the uprights to the inside corners of the floor frame, screwing them in place. Note, if your firewood shelter is located against the wall of your house, the roof needs to slope down towards the front.
STEP 6: ADDING THE FLOOR It’s now time to create a plank floor to stack the logs on. Cut 23 1-metre lengths from the 69 x 22 mm boards, and screw them to the wood frame, spacing them out evenly across the length of the shelter. When fitting the outermost boards around the uprights you’ll need to cut notches.
STEP 7: MAKING THE SIDE WALLS Made from the same boards as the floor, for each of the two sidewalls cut 8 boards to approximately 740 mm so that they fit comfortably between the uprights. To do this, cut the 22 x 22 mm square timbers to lengths of 1300 mm for the front and 1200 mm for the rear frame. Space the boards out at intervals of around 6.5 cm, using 4.5 x 50 mm screws to fix them to the square timbers. Attach the finished wall panels to the uprights.
STEP 8: CONSTRUCTING THE BACK WALL The back wall is made in the same way as the side walls, it’s better – but not necessary – for your firewood shelter to have a back wall. So it’s your call if you want to skip this step!
First cut 8 boards to 1780 mm so that they fit comfortably between the uprights. Space the boards apart at intervals of around 6.5 cm, using 4.5 x 50 mm screws to fix them to 1200 mm lengths of 22 x 22 square timber. Fit this panel in place on the back.
Create a reinforcing centre upright by cutting another 69 x 22 timber to 1225 mm, fixing it to the back wall using 3.5 x 40 mm screws.
STEP 9: BUILDING THE ROOF Using your chainsaw, take the 76 x 50 mm construction timber and cut the roof bars and cross struts to length. Adjust the side boards to the angle of the roof pitch.
2x 1900 mm 1x 900 mm 2x 1000 mm 2x 925 mm
Attach the roof frame to the supporting posts and secure the cross struts.
STEP 10: MAKING THE ROOF With your GTA 26 battery garden pruner, cut two 400 mm support braces from the 76 x 50 mm timber so they fit at 45° and attach them both to the front. You are now ready to attach the corrugated sheet onto the beams from above.
And there you have it – your completed firewood shelter, ready to load up with wood for the cold winters ahead!
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