Wednesday 10 August 2022

Making weights

This is about keeping a stack of wood dry in Winter.   You stack the wood up in a row, about 4 feet deep and 5 feet high, and as long as you like.   You cover it with a long tarpaulin, and the challenge is to make sure that the tarp stays on the wood and keeps it dry, during whatever storms and rains the weather might throw at it, and however much wood you take away to burn.

The tarp is wider than the stack of wood, so it has skirts that hang down on both sides.   We started by putting rocks on top of the tarp, but unless they are very heavy, the wind has no trouble lifting the skirts and flicking the rocks off.  There is another difficulty, in that when wood is removed from the heap, the tarp no longer fits snugly, so rain gets in unless you continually adjust things to take into account the wood you have removed.

I am trying a new solution, that is tying weights to the edges of the tarp to keep the skirts from lifting up, and to this end, I am making concrete weights.   After trying various techniques I have settled on what I think is an effective method.  For gîte customers, we sometimes buy fruit salad that comes in a plastic pot that is just the right size.   I make two opposite cuts in the sides from top to bottom.   This makes it possible to separate the pot from the concrete once it has set.  I use sticky tape to hold the two sides of the pot together while I fill it with concrete that I mix with water in the pot.  For the handle I bend iron rebar using a plumbing pipe bender, and I push the U-shaped bar into the concrete and let it set.

I use elastic cord and hooks to attach the weight to the tarp.  This gives flexibility in the arrangement of the wood, and the cord can be easily detatched to give access to the wood at any point.   We'll see if this cunning plan survives the Winter.   The Winter that is, apparently, coming.

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