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You may wonder, what is a cord of wood? During the cold months of winter, the perfect spot to be is curled up in an armchair in front of the fireplace while we watch the snowfall outside. One problem with that image is that fires require wood to burn, and if you do not take care, you could be conned into paying way too much for your wood. This article will take a look at how much wood costs, and by having a better understanding of the different types of timber which is the best value for money. Finally, we will deal with the question, what is a cord of wood, and what is a cord of wood size?
Table of Contents
- 1 How Much Does a Cord of Wood Cost?
- 2 Is there a Difference Between a Half Cord and a Full Cord of Wood?
- 3 What to Think About Before Buying a Cord of Wood
- 4 The Correct Way to Store Your Cord of Firewood
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does a Cord of Wood Cost?
Depending on which state you live in, a cord of wood should cost between $180 to $120. Taking into the aspects of supply and demand, the cord of wood price can go up to $400 over winter. Other variables that impact supply and demand include region, scarcity, condition of the wood, the type of wood you are buying, and whether you are going to collect the wood yourself or have it delivered can all impact the cost of your cord. The type of rarity of the wood can also impact a cord of wood’s price.
How to Measure a Cord of Wood
There is a basic calculation you can use to figure out a cord of wood size. Volume is calculated by the formula length multiplied by the height multiplied by breadth. Using this formula, the breadth of a full cord is equal to four feet, the length is also equal to four feet, and the height is equal to eight feet.
The equation is therefore 4 ft x 4 ft x 8 ft, which gives you 128 ft cubed (this is the measurement of a full cord).
The space a cord of wood takes up does not only consist of wood though – but also keep in mind that there are pockets of air in-between the logs, so conservatively we can remove 10% of the mass from the 128 ft cubed which gives us 115 ft cubed. The standard estimates of a full cord in board feet (bd) are roughly 500 bd or up to 1000 bd for smaller logs. You can simply take the 115 ft cubed and divide it by 41.67, and then multiply it by the previously mentioned 500 bd.
The end equation and answer are as follows:
(115/41.67) x 500 = 1,380 bd
Keep in mind that this calculation is on a full cord of wood, if you would prefer to calculate a face cord you just need to put in the values for a face cord. Use the values we previously gave you for a face cord into your quotation and you will have the answer.
Is there a Difference Between a Half Cord and a Full Cord of Wood?
What is a cord of wood? This and a few other terms may seem foreign to you if you are new to working with timber. These terms have been used by purveyors of wood for countless years, and those who are not in the trade, or do not buy wood often will not be familiar with these terms. We have put together some definitions that can assist you in navigating the conversations and forums you might come across in the future.
You characterize a full cord of wood as a pile of wood that takes up space of exactly 4 feet in width, 4 feet in length, and 8 feet in depth. To determine if you have a full cord of wood, you will use the equation 4 x 4 x 8. This means that you will have a pile of wood that is the total space filled (total volume) of about 128 feet cubed.
If you require precise measurement, you can account for the approximate amount of space filled by just the logs by subtracting 10 percent from the final volume metric.
Keep in mind, the difference between a face cord and a full cord can be hard to determine. At a glance, they may look the same, but don’t be fooled into thinking you are purchasing a full cord. Bring a tape measure or measuring stick with you if you are planning to buy wood in these quantities so that you can double-check the measurements for yourself.
A pile of wood with dimensions of 4 feet in height, 8 feet in length, and an indeterminate width is characterized as a face cord. Certain sources feel this measurement is roughly 2.7 feet; this has not been confirmed and can differ between sellers and establishments. To make it easier you can say that a face cord is any woodpile that measures eight feet long, and four feet high from the front-facing view of the pile of wood.
What to Think About Before Buying a Cord of Wood
Before you purchase a cord of wood there are certain things you will need to think about. Besides quantity and pricing, things such as density, quality, type, and even the smell should be considered so that you do not end up with the buyer’s regret. You can also buy full logs and split the wood yourself to save some money. Our friends from gardenerspath.com have a very helpful post about splitting mauls.
How Much Can You Carry?
It can be quite expensive to purchase masses of wood, so this is not always financially an option. Wood is a great option to use to stay warm in those cold winter months and can also be used in the summer months to light the barbeque.
If you own a standard commuter car or a pickup, check the weight rating on the vehicle. Also, make sure you have the right harnesses and/or straps to secure the wood for the journey. You do not want to run the risk that you lose half your stockpile of wood on the highway on your drive home.
Is the Wood Wet or Dry?
It is very important that before you buy the wood you examine the cord of wood first. This is particularly relevant when you are purchasing from someone who is not a known retailer, as there are people out there who will try to convince you that the wood is ready to burn when it has been stored outside and is completely soaking wet.
It is quite simple to fake the illusion that the wood is dry on the outward-facing parts of the pile and to mask the wood’s smell. But there are ways to deduce if the wood is ready to be used and is dry. If the wood is ready to be used and is dry, the wood will be lighter in color, it will be brittle, and it will sound hollow when you tap two pieces of wood together. The hollow sound is a result of the lack of water inside the wood, meaning the wood is less dense. Wet wood weighs more than dry wood weighs.
Is the Wood You are Buying Ready to Burn?
If you have ever been around a campfire, and the wind has caused the smoke to blow in your direction, and the smoke does not smell quite right. It could be that the wood has not been cured correctly and therefore should not be used on the fire. This is not always a bad thing and this form of wood, referred to as ‘green wood’ can be used in other ways, certain people even prefer using it over “normal” dried wood. However, you should probably use seasoned firewood if you are looking to start a fire at home.
Seasoned firewood is wood that has been prepared to be used to be burnt. Preparation involves finding the wood, cutting it, and drying it.
When wood suppliers choose wood for seasoning, they will cure the cord of wood so that it becomes as brittle and dry as possible. They will ensure that moisture does not come into contact with the surface of the logs, particularly in a rainy and humid climate. Seasoned wood will always cost more than green wood, thanks to the previously discussed supply and demand. As people prefer and will purchase seasoned wood more, it can have a premium compared to green wood.
Are You Prepared to Store Your Wood?
If you are a good negotiator, have an idea of what you require, and know where to purchase it, then buying a cord of wood will not be a problem. You may have a problem when you get home if you have not made sufficient preparations. If you do not have sufficient space to store your stockpile indoors you could run the risk of the wood deteriorating if it is left outside.
Some people choose to buy green wood as it costs less, but if you plan to use it as firewood, you should buy it proactively, so that the wood has sufficient time to dry out before you use it.
If you buy green wood you will need to create enough space for the wood to be stacked and stored, and also ensure the wood has enough ventilation to be able to season. The environment the wood is stored in needs to be free from moisture and the wood should be stacked in a way that the wood does not pose any hazard if you need to remove some piece from the pile.
The Correct Way to Store Your Cord of Firewood
It can be a difficult and hazardous job to store a cord of firewood, not just because the seasoned cord is highly flammable, but the total weight of the pile poses a risk. We have put together some suggestions to aid you in storing your wood in a safe, stable and easily accessible manner.
One of the most common ways to store wood is to stack it. There are several methods to stacking your wood, there are even YouTube tutorials that show you effective ways to stack your wood. You should not store your wood directly on the ground if you will be stacking it. The reason for this is wood that comes into contact with the ground runs a high risk of absorbing moisture (imagine the roots of a tree). You can store your wood in low piles in a crisscross pattern that reinforces the stability of the piles.
To stop yourself from placing the wood directly on the ground you can put down a row of bricks or use a wooden pallet as the base to begin your pile.
Creating a buffer between your cord and the ground will decrease the chance of it absorbing moisture. Also remember when stockpiling wood to place the oldest wood at the top, so that it is used first. If you have to store your wood outside, we do not recommend this, but if it is your only option, just throw a cover over the top layer of the pile to give it protection from the elements while ensuring the airflow is not restricted.
A great way to store your wood is to use a firewood rack. Whether it is outside or inside the rack will offer you peace of mind that the wind will not blow your pile over. Firewood racks come in an assortment of sizes, so their prices vary. Selecting one can be difficult, particularly if you have decided to purchase a cord.
If you are using an indoor rack, we recommend you only keep roughly two days’ worth of wood on hand. This is due to a large pile of wood being a potential fire hazard and running the risk of attracting insects.
A basket is a form of an indoor rack that you can just fill by putting the wood vertically. There are also wheeled tray options that are equipped with wheels and shelves for simple access and mobility to and from the stockpile. Outdoor racks are normally quite large, but you can purchase small or medium ones. Certain outdoor racks come with a removable or retractable tarp for additional protection from wet conditions. Much like an indoor rack, depending on the type you purchase, you can have a rack that keeps wood in divided shelves for easy access or store the wood in a pile.
How Much Wood Can a Pickup Truck Hold?
Unless you are having a cord of wood delivered or plan to rent a U-Haul, you are going to need a pickup truck to move the wood. If this is the case, you should look up what volume of tonnage your vehicle can withstand, and see what add-ons you may need to aid you in hauling wood in these volumes.
You can add a locking mechanism to the bed of your truck, such as a rack. You will have to take the height restriction in your particular state into consideration so that you can avoid any fines, or worse, wood flying off the truck while you are driving. We have put together a list to assist you with the different types of trucks and their overall tolerance.
Keep in mind that a full cord of wood can weigh roughly 5000 pounds, so before attempting to move wood you should know the tolerance of your truck.
Types of Trucks and Their Weight Tolerances
Not all trucks are made the same and so some have a greater weight tolerance and load capacity than others. There are three types of pickups and their relevant tolerances for cords of wood. Remember that exceeding the tolerances can cause hazardous situations for other road users and yourself.
Small pickups can carry roughly a quarter-ton (1/4 T) with racks as per their rating. You will sadly not be able to transport a full cord of wood in one trip, it will take you roughly three or four trips. You can haul about half a cord with a quarter-ton load, which is about 64 cubic feet. This will not overstrain your vehicle.
Short Bed Pickup
These types of pickups are rated a little higher and can carry about half a ton (1/2 T) with or without using racks. The fact that racks are not necessary is great if you do not have the finances or the time to install them. Sadly, you will only be able to transport half a cord at a time.
These types of pickup trucks are the highest-rated vehicles that are relatively attainable. They are cleared to carry one whole ton (1 T). This means that in just one trip you will be able to transport a full cord!
We hope that this article has provided you with the knowledge of what is a cord of wood, and also assists you in purchasing a cord of firewood. Make sure that the wood you are buying is dry, and it is the correct type of wood that you need. You should also always ensure that you you can safely transport your wood and that you have an appropriate place to store it once you have purchased it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Cubic Feet in a Cord of Wood?
People often want to know how many cubic feet in a cord of wood is wood, or basically what is the cubic measurement for a full cord. A full cord is made up of 128 cubic feet, and if you are looking for a more precise percentage of wood in that volume of space, just remove ten percent (to account for the gaps) and you will get 115 cubic feet.
How Much is a Rick of Wood?
How much is a rick of wood? A rick of wood is the same as a face cord of wood. Seen as being four feet in height and eight feet in length, the width however will differ from seller to seller, meaning it is hard to determine a solid measurement. How much does a rick of wood cost? The rick of wood’s price will be determined between you and the seller.
How to Measure a Cord of Wood
If you want to know how to measure a cord of wood size, we suggest you use a measuring stick or a measuring tape to determine the width, length, and height of the pile to calculate its value and size.
How Much is a Cord of Wood?
The cord of wood price is normally between $120 and $180 during the regular season, but can fluctuate. Depending on the season and the demand, prices can quickly skyrocket. During winter, a full cord of wood that is seasoned can cost between $240 and $400. As demand decreases and increases, the prices change accordingly, therefore cord of wood availability, price, and quality can hugely impact pricing.