This cord of wood calculator will tell you how much wood you have in a stack of firewood. Simply enter the dimensions of your stack in feet and hit calculate.
What is a cord? There are differences between the way many people measure firewood, but a true legal cord of wood is 128 cubic feet of stacked wood.
There are several common measurements for firewood used in the USA. The only official measurement, and in many areas the only legal measurement is a cord. There is a huge difference between a full cord of wood and other types of cords, like a face cord, a rick and a fireplace cord.
A lot of consumers are confused by these different measurements and end up getting a lot less wood than they were expecting. Knowing how much firewood is in a full cord, and the differences between these measurements, will help ensure you are actually getting the amount of wood you are paying for. Learn about the differences between these different firewood measurements.
How much is a cord of wood?
A cord of wood (sometimes misspelled “chord”, which is the spelling of a musical chord) is any dimension of stacked wood that will add up to 128 cubic feet. This measurement is derived from the common firewood dimension of a 4′x4′x8′ stack.
Wood that is not stacked and instead thrown into a loose pile has more air space between the spaces so it would require different measurements. This article assumes the firewood is neatly stacked.
To measure a stack of wood, get the height, width and depth in feet. Multiply these three numbers together. This will tell you how many cubic feet you have. Since a cord is 128 cubic feet, divide the number of cubic feet in your stack by 128. That will tell you how many cords you have.
height x width x depth ÷ 128 = cords
The common dimension to get a cord of wood is 4′x4′x8 but there are many dimensions that will add up to 128 cubic feet. Examples are 2x4x16 and 1x4x32.
Using full feet for the width can be a problem since standard length for pieces of firewood is usually 16 inches. So a stack of 16″ firewood can only be 16″ wide or a multiple of 16.
In other words when stacking standard 16″ firewood the width of your dimension will be based on the number of stacks or rows.
1 stack = 16″ wide
2 stacks side by side = 32″ wide
3 stacks side by side = 48″ or 4′ wide.
The standard 4x4x8 dimension would be 3 stacks 4′ high and 8′ long.
Here are the cord of wood dimensions based on the number of stacks. These dimensions assume you have 16″ pieces stacked 4′ high.
1 stack = 16″x4′x24′
2 stacks = 32″x4′x12′
3 stacks = 4′x4′x8′
4 stacks = 64″x4′x6′
These measurements assume there is no space between the stacks. If you have space between the stacks, which a few inches of space is recommended for air circulation, these of course will have to be factored in.
Cord of wood dimensions will be different if the wood is not stacked. In a loose pile, wood pieces will be more random so they will take up more space than pieces stacked together tightly. It’s hard to get an accurate measurement with a heaping pile but consider around 180 cubic feet for the cord of wood dimensions of unstacked wood.
In any stack of wood there is going to be air space between the pieces. The more tightly stacked the wood is, the more solid wood you will have in a cord of wood. Some people like to criss-cross the wood when they stack it. This can sometimes help in drying and is a way to stabilize the ends. This is fine, except for when it comes to measuring the wood, there will be more air space between the pieces and less solid wood in a cord. For a loose unstacked pile of wood the air space will be even greater. In this case you can figure around 180 cubic feet per cord.
The amount of solid wood in a cord can depend on the size and shapes of the pieces and who stacks it. One person may be better at stacking and will be able to fit more pieces in a cord. Because of this, firewood measurements are not exact. You may get a load of wood that measures out to be a full cord on the truck, but then when you stack it, it may measure out be a few cubic feet more or less. This may be just from differences in fitting the pieces together. Some honest wood sellers may add on a little extra wood just to account for this.
Cord of wood dimensions are easy to measure when wood is stacked, but not so easy if it is not stacked. This is one reason to buy wood from someone who stacks the wood on the delivery truck so you can measure the wood and verify the dimensions before they unload it.
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