Saturday, October 31, 2009

Repurposing Wooden Shipping Pallets

I was able to get some wooden pallets from work this week for the new compost bin. I drove our old suv to work and a coworker helped me load them in the back. We were able to fit six pallets:

Three of the pallets will be used for the new woodpile leaving three for the new compost bin. I will add another two to the compost bin in the next couple weeks for a two-bin system similar to these bins at Digitalseed. I can always add on later.

We received our delivery of wood this week:

Now we have the pleasant task of stacking it. For those who don’t burn wood, I have learned that there is an art to wood stacking. It should be stacked in a way to allow air to continue to dry out the wood.

I also found an interesting article at Mother Earth News, “The Science of Wood Stacking” by Ceylon Monroe. Below is an excerpt:
A woodpile is a public thing — as much of a "statement" as your garden or your mailbox or the vehicle you park out front. In my up-country Maine town, they say that a reliable, hardworking man will stack his wood square and straight, while a slacker stacks sloppily. If a pile weaves, wavers, or leans out of plumb, its builder is suspected of a need for eyeglasses, of tippling, or worse. Know those old wives whose tales are famous? Well, when their daughters reach courting age, they gauge the marital prospects of a man by the way he stacks wood. Weak and insecure men (too timid to get far) build a low stack arranged by log size — heavy logs on the bottom, little stuff on top. The socially or politically ambitious (they're all crooks) stack high and show-offish with big logs on top. The lazy (who never will amount to nothin') leave their wood in a heap or start a pile but never finish. And the sly and mercenary (watch yer virtue and yer pocketbook) stack ground-fall tree limbs and apple tree prunings in with the wood. If you want to keep your psyche to yourself, stack as the sticks come out of the pile.

Can you imagine being judged by your wood pile? As I look around the neighborhood, I see one very lazy neighbor (in a heap with a tarp covering held down by old tires) and most are hardworking (square and straight stacks). I wonder what ours will be?


  1. I grew up in Maine, and agree there was always some discussion about people's woodpile!

    The pallets work great for compost. We also use them. We hold ours together mostly with self-tapping deck screws and inexpensive metal fence posts. The fewer screws, the easier it is to move. We also hold the front on with a combination of posts and rubber bungee cord. Our new bins are full already, so adding another is on the list....

  2. I grew up in Colorado. Maybe people had wood burning stoves up in the mountains, but I never heard anything about people woodpiles. Maybe I was too busy grumbling about having to haul wood and stack it. I guess I was lucky in a way, my brother had to cut and split the wood. I only had to haul.

  3. Goodness me, the article is 5 pages long. Who know wood stacking was such a science ! The excerpt made me laugh, I see some truth in it ! I think I haven't stacked wood in 15 years. I ditched the fireplace shortly after moving into my present home. (It was a prefab model, very inefficient, stinky and messy).

    Good luck with your pile ! (no matter how you stack it ! :))

  4. Our stack is dense and square. I cannot take credit for it though - my teenage daughter took on the responsibility of stacking the firewood this year. She did a brilliant job of it.

  5. Maybe I should read this whole article! My woodpiles always lean and/or wave out of plumb. I always have at least one incident of being indoors at night after many hours spent stacking and hearing that ominous wood avalanche sound of a section of woodpile collapsing. (If you run out of wood to stack while you're still finding the job pleasant, you're welcome to come over and help me with mine :-)) -Jean

  6. I guess my father had a good way of not being judged on his wood stacking - build a shed & make the kids stack the wood.

    We heated the house with wood when I was a kid. We 3 kids had to stack & haul it. I hated that chore. I always think it's funny that about the time we started to grow up and move out, they converted to propane...

  7. Yes, you could always judge your children by your woodstack. Repurposing pallets is a great thing.

  8. Looks like you're off to an organized stack! Looking forward to seeing your compost pile!

  9. You're really gonna enjoy those new compost bins. Alot of labor involved in the turning process, but very effective....

  10. Henbogle: The woodpile judgment thing seems so amusing to me, but I think I can agree with my observations so far. Thanks for your tips on how to hold the compost bins together. I haven't quite figured out how to do this yet.

    Daphne: I grew up in northern NH, but no one in my neighborhood burned wood. So this is a new concept for me. K had to do a lot of cutting, splitting, and hauling in his youth, so he wasn’t too enthused with doing it again.

    Miss m: I never thought wood stacking was such a science either! You just have to love google. Whenever I need to know how to do something, there is always articles, videos, etc. K didn’t like that I though I was an expert at wood stacking after only reading though ;)

    kitsapFG: Your daughter is obviously reliable and hardworking. I am not surprised :)

    Jean: I am not sure you would want us to help you with woodstacking. We have some iffy sections. Time will tell if our pile will stand much longer.

    Amy: Your father seemed to have a good thing going. I don’t blame your parents for converting to propane when the labor force was gone :). The neighbors across the street always work as a family when it comes to mowing and cleaning the yard. I think it’s nice to see the boys take pride in their yard. Although I don’t know if they think of it that way.

    Stefaneener: I didn’t even think of judging your children by the way they stack the woodpile! LOL!

    Toni: I learned quickly that reading about woodstacking and actually doing it are very different.

    EG: Turning from one bin to another will be much easier and efficient than trying to mix it up in one bin. Plus I will be locating the bins closer to the garden making it easier to use too.

  11. Dog gone it Grafix now you have me worrying about another chore I have to do before winter. John