Cord Of Wood

Cord of Wood Explained | Wood Fact


The official measurement of firewood is a “cord.” It is the term used when buying wood and it could be challenging if one has not encountered it before. With all the different measurements used in the wood trade, it’s common to have confusion during purchase. 

Purchasing firewood requires knowledge about what a cord of wood is. Thus, this simple guide will help in knowing the “cord” as the most common unit of wood measurement and how it can affect one’s purchase.

What Is A Cord Of Wood?

A full cord, or a “cord,” is a stack of wood that measures a dimension of 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 8 feet long. Mostly, firewood suppliers use the term “cord” when selling firewood. Regulations on the sale of firewood may differ from state to state and country to country, but the cord is the most commonly used. 

The wood should be stacked as securely as possible to determine the size of a cord. Typically, the initial stacking of the wood becomes the official measurement. For example, if the wood is stacked in a dealer’s yard and measured as a cord, this is the real length. 

However, if loose wood is loaded into a truck, delivered, and then stacked, the height of the stack will be measured to ascertain how much wood is present. 

This concept first appeared in 1610, when wood stacks were measured with cords. By developing a unit of measurement representing the most typical configuration of wood, the standardized measure was intended to make it simpler for people to buy and trade wood. 

But from the start, the measurement varied since the volume of the wood might change by up to 10 percent depending on how it is stacked and handled.

Other Units Of Measure For Firewood

You may also find other terminologies that refer to buying firewood. These wood units of measurement include thrown cord, green cord, and face cords. If you encounter these terms, don’t be afraid to ask for the official unit of measure, a cord.

How To Measure A Cord Of Wood

Are you trying to figure out how to measure a cord of wood? If so, the easy-to-grasp, step-by-step cheat sheet we list below will help you out. 

Step 1: Measure The Pile’s Length, Height, And Depth

When measuring face and full cords, the height should be 4 feet while the length should be 8 feet. With thrown cords, however, the length and height can vary, but you still want to measure the stack and check if the measurements match the ones pointed out by the dealer.

Measuring the depth of a pile is done by measuring the average length of the pieces of firewood. The estimated length for a full cord is 4 feet. For thrown cords, this length is measured by bringing the overall volume of the stack (180 cubic feet) after multiplying the length and the height of the pile.

Step 2: Calculate The Value Of The Cord

Finally, you want to calculate the value of the cord using the following example. Let’s say Jake is about to purchase a face cord with an average piece length of 12 inches for $80. Jake needs to divide the depth of a full cord (4 feet which equal 48 inches) by the average piece length.

48 inches / 12 inches = 4

4 * $80 = $320 (the full cord value)


Let’s elaborate on the concept of a cord of wood by answering the following common questions.

How Much Is A Cord Of Wood?

The average cost of a cord of wood is $300. However, prices can vary from $120 to $900 based on the season, the type of wood, and the source. 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 price might be too much, especially for a family that uses firewood all year.

How Many Cubic Feet Are There In A Cord Of Wood?

There are 128 cubic feet in one cord of wood. The cord sells wood and knowing the dimensions and volume of a full cord will give you a lot of value when you make your purchase. A full cord, or a “cord,” is a stack of wood that measures 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 8 feet long. The total volume of this wood is 128 cubic feet.

How Heavy Is A Cord Of Wood?

It isn’t easy to designate a standard weight for a cord or half-cord of wood because there is a large variety of wood species, each with its different characteristics. Wood species also have varying moisture levels, which contributes a lot to the weight of wood.

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

How Many Pieces Of Wood In A Cord?

Since cord refers to the volume and not quantity, the number of pieces of wood in one cord can vary according to how each piece was cut. It will also depend on what kind of wood was felled and cut. For estimation, a face cord comprises 220 – 240 pieces of wood.

A full cord can have around 700 pieces of wood because this is about three times the size of a face cord. But there is never a set number of pieces of wood in a cord. Therefore if you want a precise number, visit a lumberyard or a retailer and cut the wood one by one to find out.

How Long Does A Cord Of Wood Last?

It depends on the number of times you make the fire to heat the house. And it also depends on the size of the house.

Considering both are average, a full cord of wood will last from 8 to 12 weeks. For example, an average house of 1000 square feet using the fire twice a day to heat the house will see a cord of wood last from 8 to 12 weeks.

What Is Half A Cord Of Wood?

If there is a cord, then there is half a cord. This is 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. 

What Is A Quart Of Cord Of Wood?

A quart of wood is one or two-fourths of a cord of wood. There is only one row of wood in the stack for this amount, and the width is decreased to provide a volume of 32 cubic feet. Like a face cord, a quarter cord is 6 feet wide rather than 8 feet wide.


Understanding a cord is a good way to learn more about wood and how it works in the market. And just like buying other commodities, you must be careful about purchasing wood.