Norwegians take their woodpiles seriously!

Jerry Apps
A gift from his Norwegian/Swedish wife teaches author Jerry Apps a thing or two (or three) about making firewood.

This book was a Christmas present. I thought it was one those Norwegian jokes, like the Ole and Lena jokes of some considerable fame. As many people know, I married into a Norwegian family, so getting this book from my Norwegian, actually she’s half Swedish wife, was not a surprise.

What surprised me was the book was not what I thought it would be. It is not filled with page after page of Norwegian jokes about wood. Yes, I considered that could be a possibility. Norwegians seem to have a never-ending supply of jokes about anything and everything.

My background is German—a serious bunch of folks to be sure. I once saw a German joke book. All the pages were blank. 

But back to the Norwegian book about wood. It is not a joke. It was written in Norwegian, and translated into English. And it is 191 pages of serious stuff about everything from how to select an ax to the nuances of wood splitting to an entire chapter on how to build a perfect woodpile.

Reading this chapter, you will learn that “The first rule is to ensure that the pile you build is appropriate for the kind of wood you are stacking.”

Here you learn how to make a “sun-wall” woodpile—stacked against the sunny side of your house. Other stack styles you will learn about: a round cord stack and a long cord stack, a closed square pile and an open square pile. A “V” shaped stack and sculptural stack. These Norwegians take their woodpiles seriously. 

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Listen to those who seem to know, especially if they are of Norwegian background and are talking about wood.

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to