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How Much is a Cord of Wood – And Other Firewood Facts You Can Use

Whenever I’m looking for firewood near me, I’m primarily concerned about the Quantity of wood that I’ll be receiving for the money the vendor is asking. A lot of the advertisements I encounter when searching for how much a cord of wood is near me can sometimes be vague in what they are offering.  And while many of us have bought cords of wood before, you still may not be exactly sure how much wood is a cord of wood?

How Much Is A Cord of Wood | Other Firewood Facts You Can Use

Although firewood has been a part of the American tradition since its colonial days, the term cord has become as mysterious to most people as the distance of a furlong, the length of a fortnight, or the speed of a knot.

A comfy fire in the living room is one of the great pleasures of winter, and while artificial logs and gas fireplaces have encroached on firewood’s honored position, the number of households in America that utilize firewood as the primary heating source is actually increasing.  According to the US Energy Information Administration, in 2012, approximately 2 and a half million homes relied on firewood as their primary energy source for home heating. This total had increased from only 1.9 million households in 2005.

How Much is a Cord of Wood - And Other Firewood Facts You Can Use

Americans are buying a lot of firewood these days, and with all of the new buyers out there, the question gets asked more every year. How much is a cord of wood?

Before we get to the estimated “Cost” of firewood, let me first explain “What” a cord of Firewood is:

First of all, let’s establish what a Cord of wood isn’t. It is not a weight or a shape. The term cord does not apply to anything other than wood. Bushels measure grains such as corn and wheat; pecks are for apples and pears, and of course, we buy our chicken by the bucket! 🙂

What is a Cord of Wood? and How many Pieces are in a Cord of Wood?

Quick Answer: A Cord of Firewood is 4’ high x 4’ wide x 8’ length

How to Care for Cactus and Succulents 2019

For you folks who still need a little more “detail; here’s the Whole Story!

Etymological researchers have traced the term “cord” back to the 1300s when it began to be used to describe string or small rope composed of several different strands. The earliest record for the term of a cord of wood first appeared in the 1610s when wood was measured and sold by the length of the cord that bound it, though we have no record as to how long their cord was.

A cord is an official measurement of volume that applies to “Fireplace and Stove Wood” that was most recently established at the 99th National Conference on Weights and Measures in 2014. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) later documented the conclusions of the conference in 2015 when they published the “Uniform Laws and Regulations in the Areas of Legal Metrology and Engine Fuel Quality.”

This process and documentation became known as the NIST Handbook #130 and was published in 2015. In section 2.4.1.1, NIST defined “Fireplace and Stove Wood” as “any kindling, logs, boards, timbers, or other wood, natural or processed, split or not split, advertised, offered for sale, or sold for use as fuel.”

In section 2.4.1.2, NIST described a “Cord” as “The amount of wood that is contained in the space of 128 cubic feet when the wood is ranked and well stowed. For the purpose of this regulation, “ranked and well stowed” shall be construed to mean that pieces of wood are placed in a line or row, with individual pieces touching and parallel to each other, and stacked compactly.”

This mandate means that both the buyer and seller should ensure that the wood is not stacked haphazardly to increase the volume. We all know that it is next to impossible to take a product out of a box and then make everything fit back into it. We can find the room because great care went into placing all of the pieces into it in such a way as there was no wasted space – no air between the components.

Of course, firewood isn’t going to be perfectly flat or squared so we won’t have a completely solid block of wood after assembling a cord. Never the less, the Merriam-Webster dictionary refers to the noun rank as “an orderly arrangement” while rank as a transitive verb is “to arrange in lines or in a regular formation.” Thus NIST is telling us that all due diligence should be applied when stacking firewood into a cord.

We all know what a neatly piled stack of wood should look like, so vendors ought to provide one, and consumers should insist on it.

Looking for a fantastic 4 ft. Rack to hold your firewood? Check this one out on Amazon.

4ft Firewood Rack Outdoor Log Holder for Fireplace Heavy Duty Wood Stacker for Patio Deck Metal Kindling Logs Storage Stand Steel Tubular Wood Pile Racks Outside Fire place Tools Accessories Black

Some of us might still be thinking to ourselves, “OK, this is all very interesting, and I appreciate the information, but I have a hard time picturing 128 cubic feet of something. Exactly how much is a cord of wood?” Cubic feet is actually quite simple to both calculate and le: Square footage refers to the product of the length times the width of some space, so a cubic measurement merely adds one more dimension to the equation. We need to multiply the length x width x height to get our 3-dimensional measurement.

While this configuration could theoretically be put together in any number of configurations, most professionals I find selling firewood near me will assemble a cord 4 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 4 feet high. However, if the wood is short lengthwise, it might be better to arrange it as 2 feet wide x 4 feet tall x 16 long.

It is not uncommon to hear stories of firewood buyers ordering a cord of wood and receiving a truckload. Some firewood sellers apparently think that they can offer a cord and deliver a large pile. Either through ignorance or malice, they are misleading their customers and engaging in fraud if their truckload doesn’t stack into a measured cord.

How Much is a Cord of Wood - And Other Firewood Facts You Can Use

And so now you know (or maybe more than you need to know) about “What a Cord of Wood is”

By the way, for those of you who would prefer to keep all Ten Fingers when cutting your firewood into Kindling, check out this Super Cool – much safer tool you can use:

So How much does Firewood cost?

I’ve shared some National average costs below, however, keep in mind that market, weather conditions, and overall supply and demand (competition) in your area can greatly affect annual pricing.

I would say on average the cost for Hardwood firewood (more expensive than softwood) should run between $300-$450 per cord for Oak or Maple, with Hickory being on the way high side ($800+) to Mesquite as low as $300. Mixed hardwood should be even cheaper.

Softwood such as Pine or Juniper should run between $200-$250/cord

For Delivery expect that to vary greatly as well, from $100/load to FREE.

Some Services also provide Stacking onsite – usually an extra $20-$30 bucks, but it might be worth it, as they will be forced to demonstrate the size of stack being an actual “Cord”.

If you’re looking for an 8 ft. Rack to stack your firewood, Check out this Best Seller

Landmann 82443 Firewood Rack with Cover, 8-Feet

How Much Is a Cord of Wood (In weight)?

The weight of the cord will depend on the type of wood. Hardwood can weigh twice as much as pine, so a cord of Oak might tip the scales at 5,000 pounds while a softer wood might be as little as 2,500 pounds. The age and dryness of the wood will also affect the weight.

Types of Wood

For those who haven’t experimented much with different kinds of wood, Oak is a very dense wood that grows throughout North America and is probably the best option available. Its density makes it a slow burner that requires very little to keep it going. The trouble with Oak is getting the fire started, so a little pine mixed in can do the trick.

When I’m searching for firewood near me, I sometimes have a choice between Red and White Oak. From my experience, I would say that the White Oak burns a little better and possesses a more pleasing aroma than the Red. However, it can be more difficult to split than the Red Oak, so if you do the splitting yourself, Red can be the better option.

We can burn both red and white pine as firewood. On the positive side, pine splits and cures easily, starts, and burns quickly. Unfortunately, its high resin and sap content make it messy and unpredictable. While the crackling and popping noise of the pine fire is charming, this noise results from the ignition of pockets of sap. These sap pockets can spark and send flames outside or your fire and ignite on your carpet. Though it exudes a pleasant aroma, it should not be burned inside. Even more troubling, creosotes can build up in the chimney and cause a fire.

Douglas Fir is another excellent softwood that can be burned as firewood. When searching for firewood, I often encounter cords of Douglas Fir for sale. Though it doesn’t ignite as quickly or efficiently as pine, it is knot free and conveniently splits in smaller kindling size chunks for fire starting. While it generates more heat than some hardwoods, it is a low-density wood, so the oxygen content in the fire is elevated resulting in a faster burning fire.

Whenever I’m looking for firewood, I often find Maple in abundant quantities. It is another excellent hardwood for fires that produce little smoke. However, I find it more difficult to split than Oak. Though it burns slower than Oak, it does so at a lower temperature.

Birch is a quick starting hardwood that generates a lot of heat. Unfortunately, it also burns rapidly and requires more attention and maintenance. I try to use it as kindling or mix it with other logs for a more sustainable fire.

One time when I was searching for firewood near me, I had the good fortune of stumbling across a cord of Black Locust. It forms hot coals as it burns and radiates sufficient heat for an extended period. Moreover, the Locust coals eventually consume themselves and leave very little ash to clean up. However, while burning, Black Locust tends to pop and throw sparks, and some users complain that its aroma is unpleasant.

Other Sizes of Firewood

I often see listings for sizes other than a traditional cord of wood, and it would behoove us to learn what those are.

For those of us who are wondering how much is a 1/4 cord of wood, it is only 32 cubic feet while a 1/2 a cord of wood is 64 cubic feet. Quite a few retailers will offer a “face cord” of wood. This term is a little tricky because it does not conform to exact measurements. Instead, it is the length and height of a full cord of wood, but it’s only one log deep (the cut logs are usually 16-18 inches long). Thus, the face cord resembles a full cord when viewing it from the front (or face).

How Much is a Cord of Wood - And Other Firewood Facts You Can Use

Sometimes I find advertisements for a truckload of wood. While this is a very inaccurate measurement, we can make some sense out of it. Whether the truck is a short bed pickup truck with a 1/2 ton rating or just a small pickup with a 1/4 ton payload capacity, we should expect to find no more than a 1/2 cord of wood in the truck bed whether it has racks or not.

An extended bed pickup with a 1/2 or even 3/4 ton payload limit can still only hold about 1/2 cord of wood without racks, but with installed racks, the capacity should double, and a full load can be safely carried. Likewise, a standard 1-ton truck with high racks can take a full cord of wood.

Nevertheless, whenever I’m hauling my own wood, I’m always careful to estimate the weight and consult my owners manual to ensure that my truck can safely and legally carry the weight I’m loading into it.

I also sometimes stumble on someone advertising a “rick” of firewood. The seller may have a size in his head, a rick is not considered a standard measurement. Instead, it merely describes the way the wood is stacked. Like a face cord, a rick refers to a 4’x8’ configuration, but its depth should not be assumed.
This sizing configuration is also sometimes referred to as a “Face Cord”. Quite a few retailers will offer a “face cord” of wood. This term is a little tricky because it does not conform to exact measurements. Instead, it is the length and height of a full cord of wood, but it’s only one log deep like a “Rick” (the cut logs are usually 16-18 inches long). Thus, the face cord resembles a full cord when viewing it from the front (or face).

I also sometimes stumble on someone advertising a “rick” of firewood. The seller may have a size in his head, a rick is not considered a standard measurement. Instead, it merely describes the way the wood is stacked. Like a face cord, a rick refers to a 4’x8’ configuration, but its depth should not be assumed.

How Much is a Cord of Wood - And Other Firewood Facts You Can Use

This sizing configuration is also sometimes referred to as a “Face Cord”. Quite a few retailers will offer a “face cord” of wood. This term is a little tricky because it does not conform to exact measurements. Instead, it is the length and height of a full cord of wood, but it’s only one log deep like a “Rick” (the cut logs are usually 16-18 inches long). Thus, the face cord resembles a full cord when viewing it from the front (or face).

You may, in addition, find a lot of advertisements for different kinds of wood, and a lot of different measurements for the size of the lots they’re selling. I encounter full cords, 1/2 cord of wood, 1/4 cord, face cords, truckloads, and ricks.

Harvesting your own Firewood

If you’re in the mood to harvest vs. buy your own firewood, please check out our article “best chainsaws for homeowners”.  If you do decide to gather your own wood, make sure you check with local authorities or landowners first, to get a permit or permission first.

Looking to Harvest your Own Wood?  Check out these” Best Chainsaws for Homeowners”

Where to Buy FIrewood

In a word  – “Google”. It’s simply the fastest most efficient way to find firewood in your area. period.

By the way, if you’re looking for some great tips on stacking a cord of Firewood, check out this great little youtube video:

Conclusion

To find the best possible deal for the available firewood near me, I am careful to consider all of the potential variables. First of all, I need to determine how much is a cord of wood (which I hope I have explained). Get at least two estimates from reputable dealers. Is the wood already pre-split into burnable pieces? This is a big one to ask! Will they deliver it, or do I need to pick it up? Thus, the advertised firewood prices near me are only a starting point in my research for the best possible deal for the money I’m spending.

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Kevin

As a Homeowner, builder, and property owner/manager for 30+ years, I’ve truly worn a lot of different “hats”, and In that capacity, owned or used about every tool or piece of home equipment I can think of. Managing properties in Michigan, Arizona, and Florida, allows us to test many of the products we review firsthand, in vastly different climates and conditions. Our goal at BestHomeGear.Com is to share that first-hand experience by providing exceptional Home & Garden tool Reviews, and useful DIY Guides for our faithful readers - Homeowners like you - We hope you find our reviews helpful and enjoy the site!

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