Firewood Measurements

There are several different firewood measurements common used in North America. There are full cords, face cords, ricks and now fireplace cords are becoming more common. These different terms and measurements can be confusing to consumers and often leaves them with less wood than they thought they were buying.

Unlike the other measurements, a cord is an actual legally defined volume of wood. In some states firewood is required to be sold by the cord or fraction of a cord. If you want to know how much actual wood you are getting, it should be bought by the cord or fraction of a cord.

Difference Between a Full Cord, Face Cord, Fireplace Cord, Rick

A cord is the only one of these firewood measurements that is an actual amount of wood. A cord of wood is the amount of wood that can be tightly stacked in 128 cubic feet. The most common dimension for this is a stack 4’x4’x8′. This is about 2 full size pickup loads with the wood stacked to the top of the sides. If someone is bringing wood in the back of a full standard size pickup and they are telling you it is a full cord, it better be stacked up close to the height of the top of the cab. If not, it’s probably not a full cord.

Learn more about different dimensions that will add up to a full cord of wood, and how to determine how much wood you have with this firewood calculator.

Face cords, ricks and fireplace cords don’t necessarily tell you how much wood you are getting. These different measurements can mean different things to different people.  They are really ambiguous measurements. To some, these are equivalent to 1/3 cord, but not always. Depending on who you talk to, these measurements are the equivalent to a stack of wood 4 feet high and 8 feet long. The problem is, without knowing the length of the pieces and the depth of the stack, you don’t know how much wood you are getting.

So if you buy a face cord. or rick, the dealer can decide how how much wood you get by the length of the pieces. A rick or face cord of shorter pieces will be much less wood than the same stack of long pieces. If the pieces are 16″ long. it would be 1/3 cord. If they were 12″ long it would be 1/4 cord. If the pieces are 24″ long, it would be 1/2 cord.

Or of the pieces are somewhat random, which is probably more common, you really don’t know how much wood you are getting. If you really want to know how much wood you are getting, buy from someone who sells by the cord or fraction of a cord. And make sure when they say cord they are talking about real cords (128 cubic feet) and not face cords or fireplace cords. If they insist on selling by one of these other ambiguous firewood measurements, that is probably a good reason to find someone else.

How much firewood is in a cord?

In any stack of wood there will be air space between the pieces. As a result a cord of wood may only have 70-90 cubic feet of actual solid wood. This varies with the size and shape of the wood and how tightly it is stacked. Wood that is randomly thrown into a pile will have more air space between the pieces and less solid wood per cubic foot than a neatly stacked pile.

To get a full cord of loosely piled wood you will need around 180 cubic feet to make up for the increased space between the pieces. This figure can vary some depending on how loose the pile is so it’s not an exact figure.

Cord vs Chord

Some people spell a cord of firewood chord. A chord is actually a word that refers to a group or musical notes or harmony. Cord is the actual spelling of the firewood measurement.

33 thoughts on “Firewood Measurements”

  1. I have a log that is 12’6″ long,how many cords will I get if I cut 12″long pcs then split each pc into 4 ??????

  2. I have trailer full of wood that has 22 logs ,each log is 12’6″long when cut into 1ft pcs,how many cords can I get???

  3. ok just a pile of wood that is 12’6″ long cut into 12″ pieces 22 logs total how much woood would I get ?

  4. Marie, you will have to give more information in order for anyone to answer that. You never mention the diameter of the logs or the width or height of the pile.

  5. how does one calculate the number of cords in a stack of logs….
    is there a way to do this… least an estimate

    i have a log pile 6’high x 12′ wide x 42′ long of douglas fir

    unfortunately it has been piled too long to mill, but a
    firewood guy wants to buy it from me. If i had a formula, it would make it easier for both of us.

    i know from the past that in log form calculating the volume of each log that
    77 cub ft of log = 128 cu ft split = a cord

    but what about a stack of logs…is there a formula
    thanks for any help—-tx bob

  6. Maybe by proxy, you could get your $ answer. In Denver area, a cord of pine goes for just under 200 per cord. Folks are selling semi-loads for a price. I don’t know the price of the semi-load but you could probably find it in Denver’s CL listings. Calculate your volume vs the semi-load so you know the volume fraction, then multiply your cord charge compared to Denver’s cord charge.

    Say you have 1/3 of a semi load. Say the semi load is $3000 and a cord of wood in your area is $220.

    1/3 time $3000 is $1000 but your price is higher so it would be $1000 x $220 / $190 or $1158. All guesses. I’m sure the semi load is more than $3000, etc but that’s a solution for you.

  7. 80x80x160= 1024000 cubic feet
    1024000÷128= 8000 cords

    Be sure and send pictures when you get that space filled with wood.

  8. I have a small shed it is 78 inches high in the back and 90 inches high in the front and 84 inches wide.HOW MANY CORDS?



  9. Back to my question
    these are measured on the inside of the shed,and in inches

    harold Miller

  10. There are 12 inches to a foot so divide inches by 12 to get feet.

    78÷12= 6.5 feet
    90÷12= 7.5 feet
    84÷12= 7 feet

    6.5×7.5×7= 341.25

    341.25÷128= 2.6 cords

  11. I have purchased many many cords of wood over the years. I just bought wood from a new supplier and he shorted me by about 1/3 of a cord. When I called him he first gave me the incorrect dims for the size (3x3x9)he was suprised that I actually knew what I was talking about and then said that it was 400 pcs of wood which to him is a cord. I however had read at one time that a cord could also be 600 pcs of wood. Which again is about 1/3 more than what he is saying.
    Can you tell me if there is a piece measure for a cord of wood?
    I will never buy wood from this supplier again but am just trying to figure out about the pc count!
    Thank you – Wayne NJ

  12. Stephanie,

    I am not sure if this is what you are asking but there is not a set number of pieces of wood in a cord. Since firewood is usually irregular size pieces, the number of pieces in a cord will vary. If anyone tries to tell you a cord is anything other than 128 cubic feet, I would suggest moving on.

  13. A buddy of mine told me a stack 4ft high by 12ft long makes a cord. Thats with about 18 inch cut pieces of wood. Whats your thoughts on this?

  14. 18 inches is 1.5 feet.

    12 x 4 x 1.5 = 72 cubic feet

    72 ÷ 128 = .56 cords

    Your buddy is off by almost a half cord.

  15. Omg people,, how many times does the admin have to do the math for you? This is not rocket science. And just think,, at least half of these people are cutting their own wood,,,,,, hope their using hand saws!

  16. As long as you’re taking all questions: How many chucks could a wood chuck chuck…

    AND… Thanks much for this great website chock (chuck) full of great info. I’ll do my own calculations with all the good stuff you’ve provided. Thanks again!

  17. WOW – Admin you are wonderful. This is the clearest and most thorough information! I only wish IT answers were as useful.

    Thank you very much.

    I am checking on the species of my woodchucks as well. 🙂

  18. James as a question and Admin answers about the figures 4ft. high, 12ft. long and pieces of wood being 18″.

    The answer stated to be .56 cords.

    I find this be be wrong in my opinion.

    My math is 4ft. x 12ft. x 1.125 of a cord as 18″ has a surplus of 2″ on a 16″ piece. So to me the 2″ extra is represented as .125 and not .50…. because to me .50 would be represented as 24″… which is 16″ with an extra 1/2 or 8″.

    Is my math correct?


  19. I ordered 2 bush cords of wood I have stacked it in my she it measures out to 5′ deep x 6’5″ wide x 5’8″ tall what does that work out to??

  20. I have a rack that is 150 inches wide x 52.5 inches tall. With 18 inch long wood how many cords will this rack hold?

  21. I am trying to find out the size of a rick of wood. Dose any one know?
    And for those that have not figured out what a cubik foot is yet it equals 1’×1’×1′ or 12″ ×12″ ×12″. Therefore a 18″ log = 1.5 feet.

  22. I received a fireplace cord that was 11′ X 3′ X 16″ , I didn’t know what a fireplace cord was, I asked for a cord of wood, agreed on a price of $220 he asked if it was for a fireplace I said yes, wasn’t home when it was delivered, receipt said fireplace cord, I believe I was screwed…..

  23. A face cord and fireplace cord are the same; it’s a single stack of wood four feet high and eight feet long. I’m not sure what about a rick.

  24. As far as cord of wood prices go, should hardwoods cost more than say pine or are all wood varieties about the same cost per cord?

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