Winter is on it’s way again and the annual task of collecting wood starts in September. Storage has always been a problem chez nous. We tried storing it in the garage. This kept it good and dry but shifting meter lengths of wood from out of the garage to cut and
then reloading it back into the garage was hard work and made a big Mess!
Then we tried stacking the wood in a big pile on the grass next to the drive and covered it with plastic. It was a constant battle with the weather, preventing the cover from blowing off and battling with it in the pouring rain. Last year we had a disaster when the covering came off and the wood got soaking wet.
It was clear that we needed a better solution. The wood needed to be close to the house and kept dry with something more reliable. Although the garden is quite big there isn’t much scope for a large shed but we came up with an idea whilst clearing brambles between the conifers at the back of the house.
Meter lengths of wood can be kept dry by stacking as square as possible and placing something which covers the top only. It’s not necessary to completely cover the whole stack, in fact it’s more beneficial if you don’t, as air can cirulcate and continue drying the wood.
We decided to stack the wood between the conifer trees. It was dead space not being used for anything other than growing weeds and had the added benefit of the trunks supporting the wood either side. Each stack was covered by a piece of black polythene across the top
and planks to weigh it down.
So that was the storage solution for meter lengths but what about cut wood? Keeping cut wood covered with plastic is more of a battle as it’s difficult to stack squarely and if it blows off, you can’t burn it until it drys out – which is very difficult to do in the middle of winter.
So after considering forking out hundreds of euros for a fancy shed, I discovered a groovy blog about a couple from Nova Scotia who used old pallets to build their shed.
It hadn’t occured to me before. I’d used pallets for making compost bins but never considered making a structure out of them. We needed to store about 4 cubic meters of cut wood at a time so the shed didn’t need to be that big.
First then – get a shed load (no pun intended) of pallets. I often found the odd one or two at E LeClerc in St Junien and occassionally at Gamme Vert but I needed about 12 pallets. After putting a post on a French forum, I’d managed to get 8 roof tile pallets from a builder. Then I spotted a school being extended in the small village of St Cyr
about 20 minutes from us and asked the Mason if I could take some of his pallets.
Our chief engineer, designer and technician was Steve. The base was of course Pallets to keep the wood off the ground and air circulating all round. Using his trusty chainsaw, Steve cut small pieces off the pallets so that they would lock together at the corners to make the structure stronger. Pallets were put in place to start the structure.
Then he hammered 3 stakes in the ground, this would support each side and the back.
Once all the pallets were stacked into place, we used plastic zip ties to reinforce the joints and attach it to the stakes. Steve also fitted a piece of old Angle Iron across the front along the top for extra strength and also creating a handy hanger for my garlic!
Now for the roof – 2 sheets of corrugated sheeting from Roberts in Rochechouart – much cheaper than UPVC or other plastic stuff. After designing a makeshift roof rafter from an old plank of wood to give a good angle for water run off, the sheets were screwed into place and the roof fixed on.
This was a good opportunity for collecting rain water. So using an old piece of piping with a slit cut into it along it’s length, was pushed onto the roofing sheets and then a piece of old inner tube was attached to the end and dropped into a barrel.
Voila – the cheapest wood shed in France – €36 euros to be exact. The only adaptation we have made is to add a front using pallets again, so that cut wood and be thrown into it like a big bucket.