How Much is a Cord Of Wood?

If you are burning wood in a fireplace or using a wood heat stove then you might be purchasing firewood from a supplier. There are several measures that are used to buy firewood from suppliers and being new to doing so could be overwhelming.

You might encounter words such as “cord,” “face cord,” “throw” and “rick,” no doubt that this is not a name of a certain person that sells firewood! These are common units of measure that suppliers use to measure wood.

So how much is a cord of wood?

The cord is the standard unit of measure for firewood. Most suppliers use a cord to easily measure and sell wood.

Although there are many terms associated with a cord of wood, the legal definition of a cord in the US and Canada is a full or bush cord that is 4 feet wide x 4 feet high x 8 feet long.

A cord of firewood is also 128 cubic feet in volume.

Find out how much a cord is and all the other terms related to firewood in this complete guide.

What is a cord?

Most likely, firewood suppliers near your area use the term “cord” when selling firewood. Regulations as to the sale of firewood may differ from state to state and country to country but the cord is the most commonly used. As mentioned, a cord in the US and Canada is a full or bush cord that measures 4 feet wide x 4 feet high x 8 feet long and is 128 cubic feet in volume.

The average cost of a cord of wood

The price of a cord differs across the country. According to the latest selling price, consumers may have to pay from $120 and $180 for a cord of hardwood which has been split and seasoned.

This is the average cost but consumers may expect a higher price especially during the winter season. Some places in the U.S. may sell a cord for as high as $220 to $400! This might be too much especially for a family that uses firewood all year long! The best way to get the best price is to compare shop in your area. This way you will be getting the best price for your heating and cooking (if you use firewood for a wood burning stove or oven) needs.

Another thing to consider is that if you wish to have wood delivered personally to your home and have it stacked in your yard then you must expect an additional fee. There are sellers that may charge more for additional services like cutting wood in short lengths, cutting wood in uniform sizes, clean wood, air-dried wood, and kiln-dried wood to name a few.

How many trees to make a cord?

If you have a large backyard where you are free to cut trees for firewood or you have a recently felled tree then you might want to know how many trees it will take to make half a cord.

To do this, you must first measure the diameter of the tree trunk with a measuring tape. This should be done at breast height (DBH), which is about 4.5 feet off the ground. A tree with a DBH of 16 inches will have half-cord of wood. If the tree is about 10 inches DBH, you need at least two to three trees to make half-cord.

What is half a cord?

If there is a cord then there is half a cord. This is basically half of what a cord is. If a cord measures 128 cubic feet or 4 feet x 8 feet x 4 feet, a half-cord is half this amount or 64 cubic feet.

An informal way to describe what half a cord is that it is the amount it takes to fill an 8-foot pickup truck bed. This was described by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension considering that wood is stacked neatly in a pile.

Consumers who don’t need so much firewood during the winter season or for small families usually purchase half a cord of wood. As you can see, cords and half-cords are the basic ways to measure firewood and are the most popularly used by firewood suppliers.

How heavy is half a cord of wood?

If you were to buy half a cord of wood and use your pick-up truck or van, would your vehicle carry this much weight? When it comes to the weight of half a cord, this is not as easy to describe.

It’s difficult to designate a standard weight for a cord or half-cord of wood because there is a large variety of wood species, each with their own different characteristics. Wood species have varying moisture levels as well and this contributes a lot to the weight of wood.

For example, a half-cord of dry white oak could weigh around 2,200 lbs. since oak wood is known for being dense and with a high moisture level. On the other hand, a half-cord of spruce could only weigh 1,400 lbs. because this is less dense.

What is a quart of wood?

A quart of wood is a quart or one-fourth of a cord of wood. A cord of firewood will measure about 4 feet high x 4 feet wide x 8 feet long. A quart is a fourth of the measurement of a cord.

However, this is not true for all firewood suppliers because wood is usually cut in a variety of lengths. A quart of wood is usually purchased by consumers who don’t require a lot of wood during the winter season or for a family with fewer members thus a lesser need to use wood.

What is a rick of wood?

Possibly one of the weirdest ways to measure firewood is a rick. This is actually confusing especially for someone new to the firewood trade. A rick is a term in informal firewood dealings because this is not a basic measurement for firewood. It is a description of the way a cord is stacked. There is no way to know how much a rick of wood is. The only way to find this out is to ask an actual firewood supplier.

A cord has a specific measure which is 4 feet high x 4 feet wide x 8 feet long, or 128 cubic feet. Usually, a standard cord piled in a 4 x 8-foot stack could be called a rick. The informal unit of measure may also be used to refer to any other stacked material like hay.

Another term for rick is a face cord and again this is not a consistent unit of measurement. The amount of wood in a rick may also differ depending on where you are located. Therefore when you are buying a rick, you must be very careful and pay attention to the quality and quantity of firewood that you are trying to purchase. You must also personally visit a lumber yard to buy firewood so you would know what you are getting instead of having it delivered to your home.

How to buy a rick of wood

Because a rick of firewood is an informal unit of measurement, you can’t really know how much you are getting. This is the biggest problem when purchasing a rick of firewood. This is a serious matter since you don’t know if the wood you are buying is enough for your needs.

But there is a way to find out how much you can get in a rick of firewood. If the logs are cut 16 inches long and stacked at 4 feet high by 8 feet long then the pile is 1/3 of a cord. A rick of firewood would be a third of a cord.

Cut the same wood at 24 inches long then a rick would be ½ of a cord. The length of the logs affects the number of pieces of wood you will get in a rick. Therefore you must measure the stack of wood and the lengths of the logs to find out how many pieces you will get. Most wood suppliers will cut wood 16 inches long making a typical rick or face cord of firewood a 1/3 of a cord.

Quality of firewood

As with any firewood make sure it is quality hardwood you are buying. If this is not indicated then you must ask the supplier. The wood must also be properly seasoned. Unless you purchase green firewood, the wood you get should be dry enough and all ready to be used.

If you are buying green wood then you must purchase it for a discounted price. This is because this firewood is not ready yet and requires months of seasoning before this can be used. Hardwoods will take longer to dry while softwoods season quicker. To increase the rate of the drying process, you can split the wood as soon as it gets home to improve surface area. A larger surface area increases the rate of drying by the sun and wind.

Other terms used

Another name that is not defined by statutes for a pile of firewood is a face cord. A face cord is a stack of wood 4 feet high x 8 feet long and about 16 feet wide. So a face cord is usually smaller than a full or bush cord.

You may not be familiar with the Sheldon cord, which varies in size and mostly bigger than a full cord. There are also sellers that use a pick-up load which refers to a truckload of wood. Although this may be a convenient way to buy wood still it is not the most efficient.

You may not be able to really determine the number of pieces you are getting. There’s no trouble when you have more than enough firewood but the worst thing that could happen is not having enough wood at all.

Since the name given to a cord of wood can vary and may be confusing for both the buyer and the seller, it’s better to confirm the stack size or amount of firewood you are purchasing. This will make it easier when comparing one seller to another to get the best price.

Making firewood more efficient

The amount of heat a cord of wood can give depends on the density of the wood. Dense and heavy wood will be able to burn longer and produces more heat. This is why you must buy only wood that is heavy and dense to get more value for your money.

If light and heavy wood are available for the same price then a cord of heavy wood gives you more value. Take note that dried wood will always give off more heat when burned compared to wood that contains a high amount of moisture.

Taking firewood to your home

Your cord of firewood should be handled with care. Even if you purchase well-seasoned, well-dried wood, it can still take in moisture. Wood could increase moisture content as it is taken to your home if stacked in a wet truck or van. It can also become wet when it is dragged to the area where it will be stacked.

But in most cases, wood will surely be wet when you purchase it. Wet wood is green wood with very high moisture levels. Wet or green wood weighs twice as much as dried wood. You must determine the actual weight of wood to know if your vehicle can take the weight of wood for transport to your home.

Firewood storage

Now that your cord of wood is home, the next part is to consider the ideal way to store your wood. If you are air drying green wood then it’s best to keep your pile outdoors. You may also want to cover the pile of wood with a large tarp in case it rains. But if your wood has been adequately split and dried, all you need to do is to stack wood in a safe and convenient place in your yard, garage or backyard.

If you have is unsplit green wood then you have a lot of work at this time. First of all, split your wood. This should be done when you are using firewood or wood for carrying and burning in your wood burning appliance. Afterwards, find an open pace to stack until it is dried.

While splitting your wood, split a whole mess of square pieces, to be used as stacking ends. These square pellets will help support wood as it is being air dried and will also reduce time and effort.

You must never burn green firewood, only dried wood is recommended. Green wood will create more smoke. You must first burn the oldest dried firewood to prevent wood rotting. Put your wood in a dry area.

If you can’t find a very warm room inside your home where you can store wood then the hottest room would be enough. Therefore you must only keep a supply that will last a day or two. Firewood may also harbor pests, dirt, and debris. These are not just health hazards but these can also be bad for allergies.

The different types of wood used for firewood

Not all wood is the same. Some make good firewood while some are the best for building materials and furniture. With these varying characteristics, you must have a clear idea of what you’re buying and as you compare prices.

Hardwoods will work best for home burning because this will be able to burn slowly and emit very little smoke and embers. Of all the hardwoods used as firewood, the commonly used is ash, maple, black birch, oak, and walnut.

Most of the time, an unbelievable price tag for a cord of wood is seen and this is not because you have more wood that you can take home but this is because of the type of wood species you have in your cord. So ask your supplier beforehand.

You have a lot of options open. You can purchase a cord of firewood if you have a large family or you need to use firewood all year round for heating and cooking. On the other hand, you can purchase half a cord or a quarter of a cord if you don’t really need firewood that much.

Conclusion

The value of a cord of wood varies in the market. The price could remain steady for months but as soon as the winter season steps in, you can expect a higher price. There are also some factors that can affect the price of a cord of wood like the type of wood used if the wood is seasoned or not if the wood is cut or not and more. You must expect additional fees for shipment or for stacking.

There are many ways to measure firewood but the cord remains as the supreme unit of measure. Of all the units, rick is the hardest to measure because it merely pertains to a pile of wood. Nonetheless, learning about the different measures can help you a lot when ordering or buying wood from different sellers.

  • January 5, 2019
  • DIY
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