Category Archives: Cord of Wood

How Much is a Cord of Wood?

When people often ask me “how much is a cord of wood?”, I have discovered that some are asking how much wood is in a cord, while others are asking how much a cord of wood costs. You can find out how much wood is in a cord of wood here. The rest of this article will discuss the cost of a cord of wood.

If you want to know the cost of a cord of wood, it will all depend on the type of wood and location. Firewood is a unique commodity in that most of it is produced, sold and used locally. Unlike most things we buy, bulk firewood is usually not shipped all over the country, or far at all. Because of this, the price can vary greatly from location to location. In some parts of the US, a cord of hardwood can cost $150-$170. In other areas, the same wood will be $345-$400.

Prices vary by location depending on several factors. The abundance of raw material in the area and the distance it has to be transported between the forest and the consumer. The cost of harvesting, which can depend on forest conditions, size of the trees and how many there are per acre, type of terrain, etc. Government regulations and forced costs regarding harvesting, processing as well as taxes. Local demand as well as the socioeconomic climate in the area also are a factor. In more affluent areas, customers are willing to pay more, so the price is usually higher.

Softwood usually costs less per cord. Usually roughly 2/3 the price of hardwood. This is usually for a couple different reasons. Softwood is usually easier to process and lighter in weight so it is easier to transport. But the main reason is because there is less energy, or potential heat, in a cord of softwood than there is in a cord of hardwood.

Post a comment below and let us know what the price of firewood is in your area.

Difference Between a Cord of Split and Unsplit Firewood

I sometimes get asked what the difference is between the amount of wood in a cord of split vs unsplit wood, or larger vs smaller split pieces. Or how to measure a cord of wood that is not split. The answer to the last question is, it gets measured the same. If it is not split, you can stack the cut but unsplit pieces, or rounds, and measure them  like any other cord. But the interesting thing is, I have noticed some difference in volume between the two.

I have noticed this difference in volume when I sometimes haul firewood that is cut into rounds from the woods to the splitter. Rounds are the pieces that are cut but not yet split. In some cases, if the rounds are too big to handle, I will rip them into halves, quarters or pieces that are small enough to handle. Either way I call them rounds.

If I stack the rounds in my trailer, I can fit a full cord into it. If I take that cord of rounds and run it through the splitter, then stack the split pieces back in the trailer, I always have wood left over when the trailer is filled up to the same level that the rounds were.  So there is obviously more solid wood in a cord of large pieces, than a cord of small pieces.

The reason for this is, when the pieces are split smaller, there will be more pieces in a cord. With more pieces, there will be more air spaces between the wood. With larger pieces, the spaces may be larger, but in this case, many of the smaller spaces take up more space than the fewer larger spaces. And this is always the case regardless of whether the unsplit pieces are round quartered or cut into halves. I would say it is even more so when the pieces have flat edges.

So what does this mean? If you buy wood that is split smaller, you will get less actual wood per cord. But it’s not that big a difference. So if you like the smaller pieces, I wouldn’t go to larger pieces just because of this. I would say go ahead with the size you prefer. In a lot of cases, with some stoves, burning smaller pieces can produce a cleaner more efficient burn. In this case, you will probably still come out ahead with smaller pieces.

How much is the difference in volume? This all depends on the size of the rounds and the size of the split wood. Also how tightly it is stacked. I have not really kept track of it or measured the left overs. But I would say it’s small enough not to worry about it.

Cord of Firewood Prices and The Real Cost of A Cord of Wood

Firewood prices can vary greatly depending on your location and the type of wood you are buying. It will also depend on what type of cord is being sold. When comparing the cost of a cord of wood, you really have to consider the variables involved, otherwise it is like comparing apples to oranges. For full cords, firewood prices can range from $150 per cord to over $400 per cord. The rest of this article should help you determine if you are getting a good value when you buy firewood.

The first thing in determining the cost is to make sure you and the buyer are talking about the same thing when you are discussing a cord of firewood. A full cord is 128 cubic feet of tightly stacked wood. In many states, that is the only legal firewood measurement. But many firewood dealers try to sell firewood by the rick, face cord or fireplace cord. In many areas, these measurements are not legal because they are confusing and not not exact amounts. A rick of wood, a face cord, and fireplace cord can be as little as only 1/3 the amount of wood as a full cord. So make sure the person you are buying firewood from is selling by the full cord or fraction of a cord.  If they refuse or give you any lip about it, find someone else.

The cost of a cord of firewood will usually vary between hardwood and softwood. Dense hardwoods will usually cost more than softwood. This is because there is more energy in dense wood. You may think you are saving money by buying cheaper firewood, but if it has less heat, you may not be getting a good value. These firewood BTU charts can help you in determining the amount of heat in different types of firewood.

Green firewood will usually cost less than dry firewood. There is usually more time and labor involved in drying firewood, so sellers will usually give a discount if you buy the wood green and dry it yourself. This can be a great way to get cheaper firewood. I encourage my customers to buy green wood. Just make sure you buy it well ahead of time so it will have plenty of time to dry.

Firewood prices can vary greatly depending on what area you are in. This can depend on how much wood is grown in the area and the distance it must be shipped. In areas where there are a lot of local forest products being produced, often the price of firewood will be less since wood in the area is likely abundant. But not always. Sometimes areas with well established forest industries have more valuable, or less labor intensive uses for the wood, which makes wood for firewood more scarce. So when comparing wood prices, make sure you are comparing them in your local area.

When comparing firewood prices, be sure and factor in all the variables so you are comparing value and not just cost alone.

Firewood Cord Dimensions to Get a Full Cord of Wood

If you are buying or selling firewood, it is important to know what the firewood cord dimensions are to make sure you get a full cord of wood. Measuring firewood is simple and knowing how will help you from getting ripped off.

Firewood is sold in full cords, face cords, ricks and other measurements. The difference in the amount of wood in a face cord or rick can be very different than a full cord of wood.

A cord, sometimes misspelled “chord” is 128 cubic feet. This comes from the common firewood dimension of 4’x4’x8′. A cord of wood is the amount of wood that can be tightly stacked in those dimensions. Wood that is randomly piled  has more air space between pieces and would need to be closer to 180-190 cubic feet to make a full cord.

A face cord or rick is not always a reliable measurement since it is not an actual volume of wood. Face cords and ricks are different things depending on who you talk to, but in most cases they refer to a single row of stacked wood that is 8 feet long and 4 feet high. The problem with this measurement is the amount of wood you get will depend on the length of the firewood pieces. The longer the pieces, the more wood there will be in a rick or cord of wood. When buying wood in these measurements make sure the seller specifies the length of the pieces.

Face cord or rick with 12″ pieces = 1/4 cord

Face cord or rick with 16″ pieces = 1/3 cord

Face cord or rick with 24″ pieces = 1/2 cord

If you are buying firewood, knowing how to measure firewood can help you make sure you get the full amount you order. To measure a stack of wood simply measure the length, height and width of the stack and multiply those numbers together. Then divide that number by 128. That will tell you how many cords or fraction of a cord you have.

If the wood is in a heaping pile that will make it a little more difficult. You may have to do some estimating on the dimensions. To to get a full cord this way it should be closer to 180 cubic feet instead of 128.

When someone brings you firewood, don’t be afraid to measure the load before they unload it. An honest firewood dealer should be happy to let you measure the load. If they object or even act offended, think twice about buying from them. If what they bring is not what you ordered you don’t have to buy the wood. Just make sure you decide this before they unload it.

Learn in more detail about how to measure firewood and examples of common cord of wood dimensions.

When ordering a cord of wood, you are usually at the mercy of the firewood seller to bring you a full cord. There are many honest firewood dealers but there are also many who may not bring you what they promise you. How do you protect yourself and make sure you get what you order?

When delivering firewood, I often hear a lot of stories from customers about their experiences with firewood dealers, many of them are not good. A firewood business is something that anyone with a strong back, a pickup and a chainsaw can get into. But a lot of intelligence is not always required. So sometimes firewood dealers are not always the most business savvy people. This is of course not all of them. There are many reputable firewood businesses that have had happy customers for many years or decades.

One of the best ways to make sure you get a full cord of wood is to know what the dimensions of a cord of wood is before it gets unloaded at your home. Don’t be afraid to ask the dealer what the dimensions of their delivery vehicle is before they deliver. Also let them know that you will be measuring the load before it is unloaded at your home. If they will not give you those measurements and do not allow you to measure the wood, you may be better to find a different dealer.

Measuring a cord of wood is easy, but most people are just unaware of what a cord is or how to measure it. And many might be afraid of offending the dealer by questioning their product. But there is no need to worry about that. Most reasonable dealers will likely just see you as being a savvy consumer and will be more likely to bring you a full cord of wood if they know you will be measuring it.

Most consumers will take the wood once it is delivered no matter what. But it is ok to inspect the wood before it is unloaded and decide if you want it or not. If the load of wood does not measure up to a full cord or is otherwise not acceptable, you are not obligated to buy it. Just make sure you make the decision before it is unloaded.

Learn about firewood measurements and cord of wood dimensions. Knowing how to measure firewood can help to make sure you get a full cord and know when to reject a load of wood if it is not the full amount.

How to Get a Full Cord of Wood

When ordering a cord of wood, you are usually at the mercy of the firewood seller to bring you a full cord. There are many honest firewood dealers but there are also many who may not bring you what they promise you. How do you protect yourself and make sure you get what you order?

When delivering firewood, I often hear a lot of stories from customers about their experiences with firewood dealers, many of them are not good. A firewood business is something that anyone with a strong back, a pickup and a chainsaw can get into. But a lot of intelligence is not always required. So sometimes firewood dealers are not always the most business savvy people. This is of course not all of them. There are many reputable firewood businesses that have had happy customers for many years or decades.

One of the best ways to make sure you get a full cord of wood is to know what the dimensions of a cord of wood is before it gets unloaded at your home. Don’t be afraid to ask the dealer what the dimensions of their delivery vehicle is before they deliver. Also let them know that you will be measuring the load before it is unloaded at your home. If they will not give you those measurements and do not allow you to measure the wood, you may be better to find a different dealer.

Measuring a cord of wood is easy, but most people are just unaware of what a cord is or how to measure it. And many might be afraid of offending the dealer by questioning their product. But there is no need to worry about that. Most reasonable dealers will likely just see you as being a savvy consumer and will be more likely to bring you a full cord of wood if they know you will be measuring it.

Most consumers will take the wood once it is delivered no matter what. But it is ok to inspect the wood before it is unloaded and decide if you want it or not. If the load of wood does not measure up to a full cord or is otherwise not acceptable, you are not obligated to buy it. Just make sure you make the decision before it is unloaded.

Learn about firewood measurements and cord of wood dimensions. Knowing how to measure firewood can help to make sure you get a full cord and know when to reject a load of wood if it is not the full amount.

How to Measure a Cord of Wood

In order to get a good accurate measurement of firewood, it will help if it is stacked with square corners and even straight sides. An uneven pile will require some estimating and the measurement will not be as accurate.

With a well stacked pile you simple measure the height length and width in feet and multiply them together. This gives you the cubic feet volume. Since a cord is 128 cubic feet you divide your figure by 128 and to find out how many cords of wood you have.

Example: The standard dimensions of  a cord is 4x4x8 feet. Multiply those numbers together and you get 128 cubic feet which is one cord. 4x4x4 is 64 cubic feet divided by 128 is .5 or 1/2 cord. You can also use this simple cord of wood calculator.

If your stacks are not square and even you will have to do some averaging and estimating. For example, if the height varies along the stack take several height measurements in different places along the length of the stack and take the average to use that for your calculation. If the ends of the stack are sloped instead of vertical you will have to estimate where to start measuring the length of the stack.

If the pieces of firewood vary in length, this can make getting an accurate measurement more difficult. Since the length of the pieces determine the with of a row or multiple rows stacked side by side then the with of a row will be uneven. In this case take several measurements to come up with the average length of your pieces to get the width of the stack.

A heaping pile of firewood is really not practical to measure since heaping piles tend to have random dimensions. This can take more serious geometry to figure out the volume. If I try to explain how to do that here I will probably only confuse us both. If you really want an accurate measurement it might be easier to stack it than figure it out. That is if it isn’t a huge pile.

Firewood that is loosely thrown into a square sided container like a pickup bed or a shed can be measured the same as wood that is stacked. Just measure the length with and height and multiply them. If the top of the pile is uneven make an estimate of what the height would be if it was even.

Firewood that is loosely thrown into a pile has more air space between the pieces so a loose cord will take up more volume than a stacked cord. For a loose cord, instead of dividing your cubic foot volume by 128, divide it by 180 cubic feet.

This 180 cubic feet figure is a rough estimate and can vary by how loosely it is thrown together so only consider the measurement of a loose cord to be an estimate and not an accurate way to measure a legal cord.

If you have a question or need something clarified feel free to ask in the public comment section below.