With spring temps gloriously warming up, it’s easy to banish anything related to cold weather to the back of your mind. So out go the bulky sweaters, snow tires, and hearty stick-to-your-ribs stews. But according to Glenn Nystrup, owner of New Paltz-based Glenn’s Sheds, when it comes to your fireplace or wood-burning stove, spring is the best time to set yourself up for success on those far-off cold days.
“Now is the best time to fill up your wood shed to prepare for fall,” Nystrup says. “No matter how much you hear about the wood you buy being dry, the only way to be sure is to season it yourself starting in the spring.” According to Nystrup, that’s because wood takes a while to dry, and it can vary greatly by type—from quick-drying ash to slow-drying oak, which he says can take up to a year to dry to its fullest potential. “It takes time for the cells within the wood to give up their moisture,” he says. “Only in this way can they be considered dry, and perform best when heating.”
That’s where an outdoor wood shed with plenty of ventilation comes in. “I began building firewood sheds in 2012 because there was a need,” Nystrup says. “When I looked at what was being sold everywhere, I realized a more serious type was needed—a style that could maximize the drying potential of the firewood itself, and keep it dry and ready for years if need be.” He also felt a wood shed should add beauty to its landscape, whether it was located on an estate overlooking the Hudson or a rustic cabin in the Catskills.
Nystrup had the exact know-how needed to put his theories into practice. His professional career as a math teacher educating students from preschool to college meant he was familiar with subjects like Trigonometry and concepts like the Pythagorean Theorem—all necessary in carpentry. “I love that I get to use a healthy portion of the math that I teach to students.” he says. “How exciting it is to take theory, write it down as two-dimensional drawings, and bring it to life as a three-dimensional work of art.”
Nystrup started out by building firewood sheds for close friends and family. Many of them were battling the excess moisture and subsequent rot that storing wood outdoors under tarps can cause, which his open-air sheds remedied. “The sheds are designed for maximum drying, which ensures that you get the maximum BTU that each log has to offer,” he says. Soon, more people started to notice his minimalist sheds popping up, and a business was quickly born. Today, Glenn’s Sheds offers over 50 styles and sizes of firewood sheds, all designed by Nystrup and assembled onsite by his team.
Designing and building wood sheds has also been an enriching activity for Nystrup to share with his young grandsons, who Nystrup has always included in his building projects from wood sheds to tree houses and more. “The process of sharing the building, the skill, and the knowledge with younger generations is a precious one,” he says. “It is more than the use of tools and materials that they learn. Knowledge is built. Connection is built. Character is built. And when one combines being with knowledge, true understanding is created.”