Cord of Firewood

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A cord of firewood is the official firewood measurement that's recognized by just about everyone who either buys or sells firewood.

Also described as a full cord, a cord of wood generally measures 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 8 feet long for a total volume of 128 cubic feet.

A half cord would measure out to be 64 cubic feet.

When discussing firewood quantities, it is always in relation to a full cord.

A full cord of firewood is determined by the total cubic feet of firewood, not necessarily the exact measurements of the stack.

However, the 4' x 4' x 8' shape is the most common.

Whichever way your firewood is packed together, the total cubic feet of the stack will be 128 cubic feet.

Firewood Lingo

Buying firewood by the cord can be confusing for many people for several different reasons, so be sure to do your research before buying your wood.

Not every firewood supplier adheres to the same rules.

Terms like face cord, bush cord, stove cord, running cord, or rick are commonly mixed together, making it difficult to know exactly what you're getting.

A face cord is any single stack of firewood that measures 4 feet high and 8 feet wide, no matter the depth of the firewood stack.

Bush cords and stove cords are simply other terms for a full cord of wood.

A running cord is specifically a cord of wood with the pieces running parallel to one another.

All of these terms are essentially alternative ways of describing a simple cord of wood.

rick of firewood, on the other hand, is a variable measurement.

It will differ depending on where you’re getting your wood. If you see firewood measures in ricks, be sure to find out the dimensions they are using for ricks.

Understanding Firewood Lengths

Another reason firewood shopping can be difficult is the size of each piece of wood.

Most lumber is cut down to 4 feet, but a 4-foot long piece of firewood is not a usable length of wood.

There is no fireplace or outdoor fire pit that could handle firewood of that size.

Because of that, the wood is cut into smaller lengths.

The most common length is 16 inches, but the firewood could also be cut into 12-inch lengths or 24-inch lengths.

These differences in length are an important factor to consider when you’re purchasing your firewood.

A cord of firewood could be made up of firewood of any of these lengths.

For example, the following stacks of wood all equal one full cord of firewood:

3 rows of firewood 16'' in length, 4 feet high, and 8 feet long

4 rows of firewood 12'' in length, 4 feet high, and 8 feet long

2 rows of firewood 24'' in length, 2 feet high, and 16 feet long

Each of these combinations has a total volume of 128 cubic feet (length x width x height).

If you’re using the firewood in a large outdoor bonfire, you may want the larger logs. However, if you have a small but cozy indoor fireplace, 24 inches will be too long.

You don’t want to find yourself chopping your firewood to make it fit.

Pay close attention to the length of the logs you’re purchasing.

Keep in mind you're also paying for air space. A cord is measured as a stack, not by the size of each piece of firewood. The tighter the wood is stacked, the more fuel you're getting for your money.

Double Check The Amount - Cord Of Firewood

To make sure you're getting what you paid for, be sure to stack the pile of wood delivered to you before you pay for it.

Unfortunately, some retailers will stack the wood loosely, making it appear like a full cord of firewood even when it isn’t.

Whether the firewood supplier stacks it for you or you have to do it yourself, double-check the firewood measurements so you're not getting ripped off.

Your supplier should be fine with this happening because it’s a very common request.

If your supplier is against stacking it up before completing the transaction, that is a sign that they may be dishonest.

How Much Firewood Will a Typical Pickup Truck Hold?

If you’re planning on moving a cord of firewood on your own, you should know that it won’t fit in the back of your truck.

The standard full-size pickup with a full box will only hold about a half cord of wood if it's stacked tightly.

This is another important consideration if you’re having the cord delivered directly to you.

If your supplier shows up with a pile of logs in the back of the truck facing every direction and says it's a cord of wood, stack it before buying to avoid being scammed.

Quality Of Firewood

A cord is simply a measurement of the amount of wood and does not determine the quality of the wood or the species.

Ensure that the supplier carries the type of wood you’re looking for.

It’s also a good idea to understand the qualities of your preferred firewood so that you can identify whether you’ve been given the correct order.

No matter how much firewood you purchase or what species you choose, make sure it is seasoned when it’s delivered.

Seasoned Firewood

Most firewood suppliers advertise and sell their wood as seasoned and ready to burn. If the firewood is still green, meaning it hasn’t been dried out, it will not be able to start a fire.

Sometimes green wood is preferred, though.

You can purchase green wood for a discounted price because the wood will have to be dried before you can use it.

If you have enough seasoned wood to last you a while, you can stock up on green wood. It’s often worth a little extra time and work to save some money.

Whether you buy green or seasoned wood, make sure you can tell the difference and you are getting what you paid for.

Overall - Cord Of Firewood

Since firewood is typically sold by the cord, it's important to know exactly how much wood you should be getting for the price.

You should be able to identify the type of wood you purchased to make sure you’re getting what you paid for.

After a few purchases, you should be able to look at a stack of wood or even a truckload of wood and have a pretty good idea just how much wood is there.

It takes time, but you will catch on quickly if you pay attention to what is delivered.

In the meantime, if you have any reservations about the quantity of the firewood you're receiving, just stack it before you buy it!


About the Author

Nick Greenway

Obsessed with firewood, Nick is behind over 350+ of Firewood For Life's articles, as well as countless reviews, guides and YouTube videos to help readers like you reduce heating costs and create the perfect fire.