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DIY Fire Pit Log Stump Stools

featured--fire-pit-log-stum

If you burn wood in your fire pit, you have the makings of DIY fire pit log stump stool – the firewood logs themselves. From the most basic to the most clever, fire pit log stump stools capture the essence and simplicity of gathering around a fire. Here are directions for making a variety of DIY fire pit log stump stools.

Tips for Log Stump Stools

  • Use well-dried, seasoned logs to avoid seating with sticky sap.
  • A comfortable seating height for adults is 18 inches. Children’s log stump stools can  be shorter.
  • When you place your stump seating around the fire pit, consider whether you want it close enough to reach the edges of the fire when roasting marshmallows or hot dogs.

The Most Basic Fire Pit Log Stump Stools

Take a log  at least 12 inches in diameter. Stools 14 to 16 inches in diameter are more comfortable. Chainsaw it at a 90 degree angle at both ends to create an 18 inches tall stump stool. Sand to remove any splinters on the seating top. That’s it! Make more and circle your fire pit area. Instant fire pit log seats!

fire pit log seats - stumps in fire circle

 

If you want log stools without any of the work, you can purchase them ready-made:

log s

 

Painted Fire Pit Log Stump Stools

Turn the most basic of log stump seats into WOW stump seats with the addition of glow-in-the-dark paints.  Paint the tops with at least two coats of self-luminous (not black light) paint.  The seats will need to be in sunlight during the day to recharge the paint. At night they will look almost like the Tree Ring lights below by Justin Beaumont for Straight Line Designs.

Tree Rings

 

Bark-Free Log Stump Stools

Do you prefer the look – or the feel –  of smooth, bark-free log stump stools? The Art of Doing Stuff shared how to remove bark from logs to create stump seating or a log table:

 

How to remove bark from logs

 

 

Derriere Care with Log Stump Stools

Now let’s consider comfort. There are two basic ways to make a log stump seat more fanny friendly. One way is to sand out a scooped area in the middle of the top of the log that more or less matches our seated anatomy. The Hug by Emo uses this concept. Note that they have also drilled a hole all the way through the log and added a nifty carrying rope handle.

Emo Hug seat scoops out top for comfort

A second way to add comfort is to add a softer top, something to cushion your fire pit log seat. The 15 3/4 inch diameter, 2 3/4 inch high tree soft plush seat cushion is ideal. Attach it to the stump with sticky back Velcro so it doesn’t slip off the stump. Your stump will need to be at least 16 inches wide for these tree-ring like cushions.

 

tree ring plush cushion

 

Or you can create and attach your own cushion with an outdoor, waterproof fabric in a solid or print and a foam cushion.

fire pit log stool with cushioned seat

Attach it with sticky back Velcro, staple gun  or  upholstery tacks.

upholstery tacks

 

Here are instructions by HaHappenings for a cushioned log stool seat:

cushioned log stool

Or cut out a circle of waterproof fabric larger than the diameter of your stump stool. Add elastic toward the edge of the circle so it looks like a large shower cap. Place a round foam cushion on the stump stool, and cover the whole top including the cushion with the elasticized circle.

elastized-top

 

 

More Complex Fire Pit Log Stump Stools

Here’s a way to make a log stool with more than one log: Collect smaller diameter, straight logs that are all the same length. They should be about 18 inches long. Birch logs make especially visually pleasing log stools.

birch logs

Completely fill a square or rectangular container such as a large milk crate with the logs, all the log ends sticking up.

large square container such as milk crate

Experiment with the logs you have to get the tightest fit. Then remove one log at a time, and use a glue gun to glue it to the adjoining ones until they are all one mass. It will look somewhat like the one below from Michael Scott.

multi

Alternatively, you can purchase these teak cubes already made and use them as stools or end tables:

teak-cube

Other ready-to-order log or log-look stools include the following:

 

 

 

Fire pit log stump stools can also be used, of course, as end tables or individual dining tables!

 

 

 

Posted in Decorating, Using Your Fireplace Tagged with: ,

How to Roast Corn in a Fire

How to Roast Corn in a Fire Pit or Fireplace

Learn how to roast corn in a fire pit or fireplace, with or without foil. Each how to roast corn in a fire method has its advantages and disadvantages. But both are simple and delicious.

How to Roast Corn in a Fire with Perfect Results

Whether you are using a fireplace or an outdoor fire, the basic procedure is the same: Roast your ears of in a bed of coals, not in the flames of a fire. After your fire is well established and you have coals, use a shovel to move the coals to one side of the fireplace or fire pit.  Continue your fire on the other side of the fire pit or fireplace.

When serving the cooked corn,  wooden, disposable corn on the cob holders can be tossed into the fire after use!

how to roast corn in a fire - disposable corn on the cob holders

 Method #1 How to Roast Corn in a Fire Pit or Fireplace using Foil

Shuck your ears of corn.  You have your choice of completely removing the outer husks and silks or just pulling them down to the bottom of the ears. If you pull them down, the husks will serve as your handle for each ear, so don’t wrap the husks in aluminum foil and leave the husk-handles sticking out of the coals.

Roast the foil wrapped ears of corn in the coal bed for about 10 minutes. Poke an ear with a fork to confirm whether they are ready for butter, salt, pepper and eating.

How to roast corn in a fire pit or fireplace with foilAdvantages:

          • You can prepare the ears ahead of time.
          • With the husks pulled back, you have a ready-made handle for removing the ears from the coal bed.
          • If you’ll be eating outdoors, the foil wrapper provides a convenient “plate”.
          • Before wrapping the corn in foil, you can season it with butter, salt, and pepper or you can wrap a slice of bacon around each ear for added flavor.
          • This method results in ears that more closely resemble corn that has been cooked inside. Particularly with children, familiarity matters.

Disadvantages:

          • Getting all of the silk off is a bit of a nuisance, but a corn brush desilker helps significantly.
          • You cannot dispose of the aluminum foil in the fire – it can give off toxic fumes when burned. 

 

Method #2 How to Roast Corn in a Fire Pit or Fireplace without Foil

There’s something very satisfying about roasting an un-husked ear of corn directly in the coals of a fire, just the way our ancestor did long ago.

Hot to roast corn in a fire pit or fireplace in husks

First, completely submerge the un-husked ears of corn into a bucket or tub of water for an hour or more before cooking time. You will probably need to weight them down to keep them completely submerged.  (On a summer evening, a watermelon often makes a handy weight.)

Remove the ears from the water and shake off excess water (you don’t want the water to extinguish the heat in your coals.) Put the ears into a bed of coals. Using long, outdoor tongs, rotate the ears at least once to promote more even cooking. The outside husk will darken, even turn black. Due to the water, they will take longer to cook, about 15 minutes, than foil wrapped cobs.

Remove from the fire’s coals and the husks and silk will fall right off the cob! Season and eat.

Advantages:

  • Because they have been soaked in water, they almost never burn.
  • This method makes removing the husks and silk a piece of cake.
  • Corn on the cob cooked this way will have a unique, slightly smoky flavor.
  • After your meal the husks can go back into the fire, making clean-up super simple.

Disadvantages:

  • Someone has to remember to start soaking the ears at least an hour before cooking time.
  • You cannot pre-season the corn before it cooks.

Whether you use the built-in wrappers Mother Nature provides or employ foil, these tips will show you how to roast corn in a fire pit, fire ring, or fireplace with perfect results. Cooking in the fireplace or fire pit turns the meal into an adventure for kids and a memorable event for adults. See directions and tips for cooking other foods in fire pits here.

 

Posted in Using Your Fireplace Tagged with: , ,

How Much Firewood per Tree

Half-cord tree How much Firewood per tree

Old timers had rules of thumb, that is, experienced-based guides, about how many cords of firewood a tree would yield. One of those is that a tree that is 18 inches in diameter at the base and four times the height of a man will yield a half-cord of firewood.

Different varieties of trees, and even trees of the same species, that meet the 18 inch base diameter and roughly 24 feet tall criteria will actually yield somewhat different quantities of split firewood. Nevertheless, this How Much Firewood per Tree guideline has been a useful piece of folk-knowledge that has withstood the test of time.

Over the years, people, especially landowners who wanted to grow their own firewood or grow firewood for sale, wanted more precise ways to calculate the How Much Firewood Per Tree in Cords information. Thus the rule of thumb was replaced by the following table from which one can determine with some accuracy how much firewood per tree, as measured in cords, is available.

How Much Firewood per Tree Chart as Measured in Cords

To use the table, you will need two measurements per tree: height and diameter at chest-height, that is, 4.5 feet up from ground level. Note that this diameter measurement is different from the diameter at base of the tree that is used in the rule of thumb.

Cords of Firewood That Can be Cut from Standing Trees

 

The purple squares indicate less than a half cord of firewood.

The yellow squares indicate a yield of from half a cord up to just less than one cord.

The blue squares yield equal to or greater than one full cord, but less than 1.5 cords.

The green squares indicate a yield of from 1.5 cords up to just less than 2 cords of firewood.

The orange squares indicate 2 cords or more of firewood yield.

Two Ways to Measure the Height of a Tree

To use the How Much Firewood per Tree chart above, you have to have the height of the tree or at least a good estimate. To measure the height of a tree, we offer two techniques. One is the time-honored “guesstimate” that requires no special equipment. The other is the modern version, using your smartphone or tablet.

How to Measure the Height of a Tree using Folk Knowledge:

1.  Select a tree to measure for height.
2.  Close one eye. Point your opposite hand at the tree, keeping your elbow rigid. Now make a fist and point your thumb upward and your little finger toward the ground. Spread your thumb and little finger as far apart as possible.
3.  Line up your open eye with the top of your extended arm.
4.  Holding this arm and eye in this position, walk either toward the tree or away from the tree until the top of your thumb lines up with the top of the tree and the bottom of your little finger lines up with the base of the tree. Mark the spot you are standing.
5.  Measure from the spot you were standing to the base of the tree. (If you know the length of your stride, you can count your steps to the tree. Then just multiply the number of steps times the length of your stride to get the distance to the tree.)
6.  Divide the measured distance by 3 for a good estimate of the tree’s height.

Measure height of tree using folk-knowledge

Why it works: The span from your thumb to your little finger is 1/3 of the length of your arm.

How to Measure the Height of a Tree using a Smartphone:

We like the free EasyMeasure app.  It is available for Android or IOS. EasyMeasure uses the camera feature of your smartphone or tablet to measure height of a tree using the height of the camera from the ground and the tilt of the phone. Before using, you have to set the app so it knows the height from the ground at which you typically hold the smartphone when taking photos (generally, eye-level is your height minus 4 inches.) Read more about the EasyMeasure app.

Storing Those Cords of Firewood

If you store 14 inch long pieces of firewood on a log rack 4 feet tall, you will need the following space to store your cords of firewood:

Storing cords of firewood - how much firewood per tree

 

So, to determine how many trees of what size you will need, first know how much firewood you will need.

 

Resource for How Much Firewood per Tree As Measured in Cords Chart: http://dnr2.maryland.gov/forests/Pages/programs/fpum_woodlotmgt.aspx

Posted in General Tagged with:

Prevent Chimney Leaks

5 Ways to Prevent a Leaky Chimney

5 Ways to Prevent Chimney Leaks

A leaking pipe, a leaking roof, a leaking window, a leaking chimney – none of them is good. Here are 5 ways make your chimney leak-proof and prevent chimney leaks. See  how to fix chimney leaks and prevent them  in, through and around your chimney.

#1 Way to Prevent Chimney Leaks: Install a Chimney Cap or Top-Mount Damper

The first place water can get into the chimney is the hole at the top, the flue opening. Preventing rain and snow from entering your chimney flue is the most basic of ways to keep your chimney and fireplace dry. There are two ways to keep water from leaking into your chimney through the flue hole:

The first way is a chimney cap. Most chimney caps attach onto or into the metal or masonry flue or they attach to the cement top of the chimney (the crown.) Its lid or roof extends beyond the edges of the open flue, thereby keeping rain and snow from entering the flue. The screen sides of the chimney cap are there to keep animals from entering your flue.

In high wind situations, rain or snow can sometimes be blown through the mesh screening and into the flue. If you have a chimney cap but still have chimney leaks that you think are the result of water coming in through the flue opening, use a top-sealing damper. Such dampers have a gasket seal: When they are closed, no rain or water can enter. The dampers are only opened when you are using your fireplace. You can get a top-sealing damper alone or also get the chimney cap that fits over it.

top-mount fireplace damper

Top Sealing Lyemance Damper without Chimney Cap

 

 #2 Way to Prevent Chimney Leaks: Waterproof the Cement Crown

Water can enter through the cement chimney crown in two ways:

  • Cracks in the concrete chimney crown can lead to chimney leaks.
  • Concrete is porous, so water can even leak through a chimney crown without cracks.

First repair chimney crown cracks. We recommend CrownSeal for such cracks. A similar product, CrownCoat, can only be used for horizontal and not vertical surfaces. CrownSeal works on both horizontal and vertical surfaces. In addition to repairing the cracks, it creates a flexible, waterproof coating.

Prevent chimney leaks by repairing crown cracks with CrownSeal.

Chimney crown with cracks that can cause chimney leaks.

Prevent chimney leaks by repairing crown cracks with CrownSeal.

Prevent chimney leaks by repairing crown cracks with CrownSeal.

Even if you have no cracks in the chimney crown, apply CrownSeal as a water repellent for the chimney crown.

#3 Way to Prevent Chimney Leaks: Repair Mortar Cracks

Water can leak into even very small gaps and holes in the mortar between chimney bricks and stones. Repair those mortar cracks with Crack and Joint Sealant. It just brushes on, almost like paint, but it is clear. It not only repairs the mortar, it also waterproofs it.

 

Crack and Joint Sealant

Crack and Joint Sealant ends chimney leaks coming in through the mortar.

 

#4 Way to Prevent Chimney Leaks: Waterproof the Bricks

Just as concrete is porous and allows water to seep in, bricks are also porous.  Every ten years, you need to waterproof the part of the chimney that is exposed to the elements.

Use a vapor permeable water repellent like ChimneySaver’s V.O.C. Compliant Water Repellent. Why vapor permeable? Because you want a sealant that will not trap water vapor inside the bricks and mortar. You want a product that will allow water vapor to escape out of your bricks while simultaneously preventing moisture from entering the bricks. The V.O.C. Compliant formula complies with the V.O.C. regulations in states that prohibit a solvent-based chimney water repellent.

As an added bonus, this products protects you chimney from mildew and fungus stains.

Bricks with Water Repellent to prevent chimney leaks

Bricks with Water Repellent applied to let water vapor escape while at the same time keeping water from entering the bricks.

 

#5 Way to Prevent Chimney Leaks: Keep Water from Entering at the Base of the Chimney

A common source of chimney leaks is at the base of the chimney, where the chimney intersects with the roof. The flashing is supposed to protect the transition, but if it is cracked or split or not sealed well, it will allow in water and melted snow. We recommend FlashSeal as it lasts significantly longer that tar-based sealants.

 

FlashSeal prevents chimney leaks at the flashing.

FlashSeal prevents chimney leaks at the flashing.

 

 

Take these five steps and you will have leak-proofed your chimney! Do you have other questions about chimney repair?

Posted in Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance Tagged with: ,
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