If you’re new to the firewood supply market, you’re likely unfamiliar with the industry jargon. One of the most frequently used terms in the firewood industry is “cord.” So, what is a cord of wood anyway?
A cord is the primary unit of measurement for selling wood. Understanding this term is essential to ensure you purchase the appropriate supply for your specific home. Follow along with the sections below to learn what you need to know about firewood terms and measurements!
What Does Cord of Wood Mean?
Firewood has its own units of measure, similar to a foot of rope or how we measure gasoline in gallons. To understand how much of your dollar is going for a woodpile, you should know what to ask for and how to compare prices.
We sell and purchase firewood by volume. Picture a stack of wood logs piled four feet high and eight feet long by four feet deep. This is known as a cord. Even if it ends up as four feet high, two feet deep, and sixteen feet long, it works out the same since it is measured by volume.
Firewood Cord Size
A common question among homeowners is, “what is the size of a cord of wood?” In the United States, a full cord of wood size is 4’ x 8’ x 4’ (4 feet tall, 8 feet long, 4 feet deep), which equals 128 cubic feet.
A cord of firewood and a full cord is, in most cases, the same thing. A few other common synonyms for a full cord is “bush” and “stove.” To summarize:
- Cord of wood = 4’ x 8’ x 4’
- Cord of wood synonyms: Full, bush, and stove.
For many, a full cord is significantly too large. The logs would need to be split to fit in their firebox. So, various other sizes are available to fit their needs, such as a face cord, half cord, and rick.
Face Cord vs Full Cord
The face cord vs. full cord debate is a confusing one. Like full cords, a face cord measures the same in length and height; however, the depth is the difference. Face measures out to 4’ x 8’ x 16” (16 inches).
It’s a third of the full cord’s depth. Which means it’s a third of the logs.
Sometimes certain sellers will use face and full interchangeably. Meaning the face cord has the same wood volume as a full.
One way to ensure you’re getting the full amount you paid for is to count the logs. Let’s use basic mathematics to help us out. If 4 feet is equal to 48 inches, and a typical log is cut to 16 inches, then you should have three full rows of 16” firewood in a full one.
As mentioned earlier, the length of the logs also occasionally varies from 16 to 18 inches. Again, it’s dependent on the seller!
The half cord is another term similar to face, which is 4’ x 8’ x 24” (4 feet tall, 8 feet long, 24 inches wide-deep).
Face and Full Cord dimensions compared.
What is a Rick of Firewood?
A rick of wood is another team used to measure firewood, but the bad news is, it varies. Some sellers will tell you a rick is the equivalent of a face cord, while others say it’s equal to a full cord.
Don’t worry about this confusing terminology. If the seller is using this term, be sure to ask them how they measure it.
Even if they don’t use ricks, to avoid confusion, it’s always a good idea to ask the seller about the dimensions and be sure to measure it yourself before you buy!
Cord of Wood Cost
According to the Chainsaw Journal, the average price for a cord of wood in the United States in 2020 was $296. But because firewood measurements are not 100% definitive, the price to buy firewood definitely varies.
You’re probably tired of hearing us say this, but it’s true: The cost and the amount of wood truly depend on the seller.
Getting usable heat output from your fireplace or wood stove is important, especially on cold winter evenings. Not all wood types have the same heat values. Some actually give more noticeable heat than others. Depending on the types of wood available in your area, try to find seasoned wood for maximum heat from your fireplace.
To understand the available heat from one kind of wood species vs. another, the heat value is calculated in BTU’s (British Thermal Unit). BTU’s are the amount of heat necessary to raise one pound of water, one degree Fahrenheit. Using the listed BTU’s available in a cord of stove wood, you’ll know how much heating value you’re getting and at what cost.
For more on the best type of wood to use, check out this blog post:
How to Store and Season
Once you’ve acquired your firewood, there are a few more important steps to take! Burning unseasoned logs results in an inefficient fire and increases the likelihood of creosote build-up. This means proper storage and seasoning is imperative.
To learn how, check out the two blog posts listed in the suggested box below: ▼
Firewood is measured by a unit called a “cord.” But since there is various cord of wood sizes, such as face, half, and ricks, you need to understand the terms to ensure you purchase an adequate amount for your home.
We understand that the terminology is slightly confusing at first, but once you fully understand it, you’ll be prepared for many warm and crackling fires this Winter.