Are you about to buy a hefty heap of firewood for your home? Then you probably bumped into the word “cord” and now you have questions. How big is a bundle of cord? Does everybody agree on the size? Our guide has all the information you need to purchase the right amount of firewood without getting ripped off.
Table of Contents
What is a Cord of Wood?
A cord of wood is a unit of measurement. To create a cord, the seller will stack chopped pieces of firewood tightly together until the correct volume is reached. Generally, a cord is 128 cubic feet. The actual physical dimensions are normally 4 feet wide, 4 feet high, and 8 feet long.
A Cord is not Always a Cord
This is where most first-time buyers get a bad deal. They see the word “cord” in the description and assume that they are getting 128 cubic feet of firewood. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Why? There are different types of cords and what muddies the waters even further is that not everyone agrees on the volume of cords. For this reason, it is essential to ask the seller point blank for the volume, not just the type of cord.
But let’s clarify the jargon. A cord with a volume of 128 cubic feet is known as a “full cord.” Meet the rest of the family below, so you can hold your own during a sale!
The Face Cord
Also known as a rick cord, it’s smaller than a full load. You can expect firewood that is roughly 16 inches wide. The stack is also 8 feet long and 4 feet high.
The Sheldon Cord
This stack of wood varies greatly in size and volume. But one thing that you can count on is that it is always bigger than a “full load.”
Other Mysterious Cords
You might run into a kitchen cord or even a stove cord. When sellers start slinging this type of lingo at you, don’t become flustered or frustrated. Stick to the golden rule – get them to explain the actual volume and the size of the stack.
Shop Around Before You Buy
Since volume and price can differ greatly, don’t settle on the first seller. Make a few calls and see who has the best deal for you. Once you settle on a seller, however, make doubly sure that you get all the information you need. This should include the type of tree wood, the size of each log, and the stack’s volume or dimensions.
How Do I Transport a Stack of Firewood?
Once you have the dimensions of your cord, you can determine what kind of vehicle you need. Usually, a pickup truck is sufficient if you are willing to make two or three trips to transport your wood. Aiming for a single trip or eyeballing a Sheldon cord? Then you might need to hire a larger truck that can handle both the weight and size of the stack.
How Do I Store a Cord of Firewood?
Firewood is sold in two forms. The one that will give you the least trouble consists of split and dried logs. These you simply store somewhere suitable (away from moisture). The second form needs more preparation. Let’s discuss green or wet wood.
How to Prepare and Store Green or Wet Cords
Split the wood into thinner pieces. This will help them to dry out faster. Stack the pieces in a place where there is good airflow. Also, place each log in a way that allows the wind or air to circulate through the pile. Since the best location is outdoors, you need to keep an eye on the weather because rain, in this case, is not your buddy. Keep a tarp handy for those wet days.
Wet or green wood can be problematic. You need to stay on top of rot, a slow drying process and wood that smokes a lot when burning. Although this type of wood is sometimes available at a cheaper price, the effort might not be worth it.
The best firewood burns slowly and without a lot of smoke or sparks. Look for black birch, oak, ash, maple, and walnut.
This depends on the seller. Shop around to get the best price (without buying a lower quality wood). Overall, you can expect a price range between $120 and $180. Price is based on the size of the stack, type of wood and whether it’s dry or green.
In most cases, the seller is not trying to trick you. A full cord’s stack can look different when the logs are longer than normal. For example, a full cord with 12-inch logs will produce a stack of 8 feet long and 4 feet high. But when the logs are 24 inches, the stack will be 2 feet high and 16 feet long. Both will have the same cubic volume.
Most wood takes 6 months to a year to dry. This makes seasoned, or dried wood, a better choice if you don’t want to deal with the hassles of stacking wet wood and possibly facing problems like rot.