Last Updated on October 9, 2020 by woodcutter
Firewood has been used for thousands of years as a fuel source, and its use is still going strong. The presence of chimneys in most households is a tall tale to this. It finds itself in many commercial establishments were it is sold. However, there seems to be ambiguity between the seller and buyer concerning how much firewood is in a cord. Others are blank with the whole idea. Knowing about the cord would lessen such scenarios in which you might feel the seller is cheating you. In this article, I will explain to you how much firewood there is in the cord.
What Is A Cord?
In simple terms, a cord is a standard measurement of stacked firewood. An ideal cord stack measures approximately 4 feet high by 4feet wide by 8 feet long. Thus it consists of a volume of 128 cubic feet (3.5 cubic meters). Generally, the amount of firewood you get in the cord varies from supplier to supplier. Uneven packing, as well as air-spaced created by the stacking, affects this measurement. It has also been noted that suppliers provide woodcuts in various lengths.
So just how much firewood should there be in a cord? Firstly the way a cord is interpreted depends on the country in which you reside. Different countries use different standards to define a cord. Furthermore, other cords exist, which means there is a need to be specific when determining the measurement.
Regional Cord Measurement Difference
Here is how a cord is perceived in different parts of the world:
1. United States of America and Canada
The standard volume for a cord in these nations is 128 cubic feet. In other words, a stack of firewood measuring 8 feet x 4 feet x 4 feet. The cord dates back to the 1600s in the English speaking regions.
In Germany, wood is measured in a stere system. It is not part of the metric system, though. The stere is a variant of 1.4 or 1 cubic meters, 14 feet wide x 3 feet deep x 3 feet high. Thus on paper, 1stere is equal to 1 cubic meter, which approximates to 0.276 cords. However, in reality, a stere is less than a full cubic meter because, unlike with the cubic meter measurement, it does not include air spaces in the calculation.
A corde (cord) is represented by 2 to 3 steres. However, sources do point out it also varies depending on the region within France. Some sources suggest that a corde is 3m x 1m x 1m.
Do note that the cord standard is not limited to these countries only. Had I taken the privilege of going through almost every country, then the list would go on. In other words, this is meant for you to gain an idea of the matter. Therefore you can go ahead and research in-depth about how other countries interpret this measurement.
Common Terminology Used In Measuring Cord
Here are some standard terms used when measuring a cord:
1. Full Cord
This measurement is approved in the USA and Canada. In both of these countries, the full cord is a legal term. This means that everyone is required to be familiar with it to communicate in firewood terms. Now just how much is a full cord quantified? A full cord is a volume of 128 cubic feet. A stack of firewood with this volume measures 8feet (2.4m) width x 4 feet(1.2m) depth by 4 feet height.
Since each firewood’s length can be different due to supplier’s preference, the number of rows per full cord varies. However, for 16-inch firewood, a cord consists of three rows of firewood. With twelve inches long firewood, you get four rows in a cord. Thus the following stacks all define a full cord ( all have a volume of 128 cubic feet):
Three rows of firewood 16 inches length, 4 feet high and 8 feet long.
Four rows of firewood 12 inches in length, 4 feet high and 8 feet long.
Two rows of firewood 24 inches in length, 2feet high and 16 feet long.
2. Face Cord
This one is a fancy name for a third in the depth of a full cord or one stack of firewood. Common terminology often used for a face cord is a “Rick of wood.” However, this is not an approved legal term, so that use of it might cause ambiguity. Face cord measures 8 feet (2.4m) long x 4 feet (1.2) high, having firewood strictly of 16 inches in length. Thus if a stack consists of 12 inches long wood, that stack cannot be a face cord but a 1/4 of it.
3. Sheldon Cord, Stove Cord
A Sheldon cord is used to describe a stack that is larger than a cord. This measurement varies again, depending on which part of the world you are in. On the other hand, a stove cord is a term used to describe a log’s length, 12 inches in length. To avoid confusion, it is also common to refer to a stove as a full cord function. That is a 1/4 of a full cord because its stack measures 8 feet (2.4m) long x 4 feet(1.2) high with logs 12 inches long.
Does A Truckload Represent A Cord?
This is one of the most familiar questions ever asked. On average, a standard full load pickup truck with a full box (at the back of an open truck) is expected to hold half a wood cord. This is when the wood is tightly stacked to limit the presence of any air spaces. Thus whenever a supplier uses his truckload for a cord, you need to stack it to verify this; otherwise, it is a half cord.
Tips On Measuring A Cord
1. Understand The Terminology
You have to understand the terminology previously discussed to do proper measurements fully. Some of the essential aspects of the terminology you need not forget are as below:
- Variation of the exact amount of wood in a cord concerning the size of each piece.
- The entire pile’s length should be 8 feet (2.4m), while the length of each piece of wood or depth averages 4 feet (1.2m).
2. Compare The Full Cord To The Face Cord
Always remember the relationship between the full cord and the face cord, which was previously mentioned. Doing so will enable you to recall with ease, especially if you do not have a perfect memory. That having been said, you also have to remember the following:
- No specific length of wood exists for pieces of wood in a face cord.
- Most firewood’s length is 16 inches (40.6cm), so the depth of most face piles is 16 inches.
- You can use other piece lengths after verifying how long the average piece is in a face cord.
- Face cord, stove cord, furnace cord, run, and rick are often used to refer to the same thing so try not to get lost there.
3. Familiarize Yourself With The Thrown Cord
A thrown cord/loosely thrown cord refers to a volume estimation on wood tossed or dumped into a truck resulting in a haphazard arrangement. Since some firewood dealers use the thrown cord, you must always remember the following:
- On average, a loosely thrown cord is expected to take up about 180 cubic feet (5.1 cubic meters) of space.
- A thrown cord is mostly applicable to wood pieces between 12 and 16 inches long.
- For wood sold in lengths of 2 feet(60.1 cm), total thrown cord approximates to about 195cubic feet (5.5cubic meters)
4. Learn About Green Cords
This is a measurement taken before the wood dries up or before it gets split. Its significance is that firewood weighs less after being seasoned. This is because the moisture held by the wood while still fresh or green contributes to the weight. Concerning green cords, some crucial points to remember are as follows:
- The green cord volume should be 180 cubic feet (5.1 cubic meters) when loosely stacked (high presence of air spaces).
- The green cord volume should be 128 cubic feet (3.5 cubic meters). When tightly packed (reduction in air spaces present).
- Green or unseasoned wood shrinks by 6 to 8% when dried.
5. Watch Out For Measurements That Cannot Be Compared To Full Cord
Some dealers tend to use rough estimate measurements like pick-up truckloads, station wagon loads, piles, and truckloads. Noting the following will be handy:
- These measurements are not regulated, nor are they standard; thus, you should insist on working with the regulated ones.
- These measurements are illegal in some states.
To Wrap Up
Now that you have been enlightened on how much firewood is in a cord, you won’t fail to use a cord in measuring the quantity of wood. From now on, be confident enough while negotiating for firewood with the supplier. Also, pay particular attention to how the firewood is stacked. If the stack is tightly packed, minimizing air spaces or being packed in an unprofessional haphazard manner.