Since we heat almost exclusively with wood in the winter (our propane furnace is set to kick on only when the house gets below 55 degrees) we (and by that I mean our kids) make many trips to the woodpile each day. Wood is heavy, awkward, and messy, and for years we have used a standard laundry basket to haul it. The laundry basket usually lasts a season before it is broken and must be replaced. Last winter we switched to a shallow Rubbermaid tub, which so far seems a bit sturdier, but is still unwieldy. 

My dad has a leather firewood sling that seems to work well for him, although his firewood usage is primarily for ambiance. I thought I’d try to reproduce something similar to see if it could make the task of bringing in wood a bit easier. I used two old pairs of dungarees, one for the body of the sling and the other cut into strips for the straps. 

Pieces of firewood are stacked on top of a denim firewood sling, which is next to more wood stacked on the floor near a hearth.
The tote opens flat for loading and unloading.

I used a size 100 denim or leather needle (it was out of its original package, so I’m not sure which). The needle worked well, and easily went through 8-12 layers of denim, though I started to feel the machine struggle toward the end. That’s usually a sign that the needle is ready to be retired. 

Sewing machine sews a line of stitching on a light blue denim strap attaching it to the medium blue denim firewood tote.
Most home sewing machines are capable of stitching through multiple layers of denim with the right needle. Denim needles are designed specifically for the job, but any heavy (size 100/16 or larger) needle should work.

The jeans for the main body of the tote were Erik’s. They were actually in decent shape when he retired them, but he had kneeled in some sort of epoxy, so both knees were hard and uncomfortable. The denim for the strap came from jeans that belonged to my dad. You can see how dirty they were in the contrast between where the two pieces of strap are sewn together. 

The strap for the tote is a continuous circle, running the full length of the tote for support.

I planned to only use the inside of the denim for the strap, but I sewed these two pieces together back to front, and didn’t mind enough to change it. The strap is a continuous circle pieced together from four inch wide strips of denim. I turned each edge under half an inch, then folded the strip in half, so it is essentially like giant double fold bias tape, only I cut it on the straight grain. 

Olga tests the firewood tote.

Gavin wasn’t willing to test out the tote for me last night (he is a creature of habit, and likes the way things are) but Olga took it for a swing and said it worked just fine and was easier to go through doors than with the bulky Rubbermaid tub. 

Because why pass an opportunity to add a rainbow.

I briefly thought of embellishing the tote with a little embroidery or an appliqué, but then I got a hold of myself and just added a little bit of pop with a rainbow ribbon. I bought a spool of this ribbon earlier this year and have added it to almost everything I’ve sewn since then. 

And there it is. I’ll report back with a functionality report as the winter progresses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.