4 Reasons Why Your Firewood Stack Keeps Falling Over

Processing firewood takes time. As if all that bucking and splitting wasn’t tedious enough, you have to stack it too.

But you know what’s even worse? Having to stack the wood twice, because it fell for some odd reason.

The good thing is that there is rarely an “odd reason” – your pile did that because you failed to follow the rules. And that’s what I’m talking about on this article.

You are probably going too high

In my experience, the most usual reason why wood stacks fall over, and keep doing so (leaving you only scratching your head on why that’s going on), is because you go too high.

The best height for firewood piles is 4 feet, not much more than that.

You can certainly go up to 6 feet all you want to, if not more, though the problem is it’s hard to keep the stacks stable at that size.

Once they go that much up, they are more prone to swaying – wait for a windier day, and you have a stack that either tips over and falls, or rolls over to the side.

4 feet is really the standard in the wood burner community; at the end of the day, a cord of wood is essentially 4 feet high, 8 feet long and 4 feet deep, so I guess it makes sense where that number could be coming from.

How well do you stack?

Stacking firewood properly is not as easy as it may seem at first, and anyone who might say otherwise probably never done such a thing in their life. There is an art to it, that’s for sure.

You can’t rush it. You’ll be able to do it quicker in future, but such expertise only comes with time.

As they say, what you put in is what you get out in the end, and if you stack your firewood sloppy and wonder why it keeps falling over, well, that’s how it’s meant to be.

When I want to see wood being stacked like it should be, I always come back to this video by Outdoors With The Morgans:

Just like the guy says, every piece of wood is different. No wonder why it’s hard to get it right, at least in the beginning!

Notice how meticulously he stacks each and every split – no rush just calculated, even on camera! The preparation is key here, too.

See those 2x4s laid on the ground where the wood is being placed? Putting something underneath, be it pallets, limbs or what have you is very important.

Doing so ensures the stacks stay level. If the spot where you want to season the wood is sloped, you have to be sure the pile is stacked there as level as possible, if the goal here is to prevent future fall-overs.

(Even if the ground in your property is generally level, you still must place something underneath the wood. Otherwise it’ll simply bury deeper into the soil as time goes, rot and eventually crumble the stack).

How are the ends made?

Do you build the end supports using the same firewood, by cribbing it like in the video? You may be doing that wrong…

By wrong I mean using incorrect pieces of wood, that is, splits. Note how the person has them made in the video above.

He uses not just any piece that comes to hand, but purposefully split small rounds. Laying them on the flat side provides a straight base for other pieces that’ll go on top.

If you use those common triangle pieces you get by splitting firewood, you’ll have a harder time keeping those ends level. Just a bit of sway is all that’s needed for the stack to collapse eventually.

Square splits also work here wonderfully. The problem is, you rarely get pieces like that by splitting firewood as it is.

You’ll have to remember to set aside some rounds and work them in a shape like that. A log splitter is best for this type of thing.

Alternative ways of doing the same thing

If criss-crossing those ends sounds like too much work for you, there are many other methods of achieving the same result (albeit not as attractive).


Readily available at most home improvement stores, t-posts are great things to use, at least when it comes to keeping your stacks standing.

Just stake them in at both sides of your pile during stacking, and that’s all there is to it.

Firewood stack” by Tsvetkov A. A. is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 / Added the arrow, text from the original

Pallets not only make great bases on where to stack the wood, but also as a good solution to keeping those sides as vertical as possible.

You can lean and prop them up, or screw in if that’s possible. This forum thread on Firewood Hoarders Club has many great photos and ideas about this exact same thing.

Is the wood cut to the same size?

I probably should have mentioned this right in the beginning. The rounds (logs which are later split into wood pieces) should always be cut (bucked) to the same length.

If you don’t do so, it becomes that much harder to build a stack that’ll stand the test of time – you’ll be spending more time cherry-picking just the right pieces to place, instead of grabbing what’s in front of you and putting it up.

Seriously, this is that important. I’ve written a blog post on various ways of doing this task.

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One Comment

  1. I enjoyed watching te video, but he should have his camera at a more downward angle so we could actually watch how he stacked it. Thanks

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