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Frequently Asked Questions - Fire wood Quantities

FAQs - Fire wood Quantities

Terms that apply to the measurement of firewood.


A full cord of wood is set dimension determined a long time ago to be 128 cubic feet of compactly stacked wood. The typical set of dimensions is 4 feet high 4 feet deep and 8 feet wide. Most firewood is cut to 16” lengths to fit well in most fireplaces. It could be stacked in all one row but it should total 128 cubic feet.

This question can be best answered by saying that it varies. The variation is in each species of would you are considering. The next factor in the weight is the moisture content of the wood. For a general range a cord of green wood can be as high as 5,000 lbs. for white oak and as low as 3,300 lbs. for Douglas Fire when wet. Then air dried that gets the moisture down to 25 to 35% the wood weight changes to 4,200 pounds and 2970 respectively.

Moisture content of wood can range from over 100% in freshly cut wood to as low as 15 % in kiln dried wood. This is why it is not a good idea to buy firewood based on the weight instead of by volume.  But you for good burning fires you also want to specify “dry” wood. And be clear on your definition of the word dry.

There are all sorts of terms that refer to describing firewood to but it. You should be buying based on volume when getting firewood.

Ricks, rack, truckloads, stove cord, bush cords, pile, pickup load, a run of wood, apartment cord, Fireplace Cord, furnace cord, short cord, a tossed cord, green cords

The term Face cord refers to 1/3 of a cord. So, a triple (3x) face cord would equal one full cord of wood. Make sure you clarify what specific amount the seller is talking about when discussing what they will be delivering to you.  See our page on Measure of wood.

As with a lot of lot of things in life the answer is it all depends. If you have been wood in the past, you may already have an idea. If not buying a moderate amount of wood will get you started. With burning kiln dried wood the rule of thumb is you can get three times the burn time out of each piece of wood.  Certainly this will vary based on how you tend the fireplace.

When a supplier talks about a truckload of wood not cords keep in mind that you really do not know what volume of wood being offered and is not a verifiable measure of firewood. The average pick up can only handle approximately a half cord of wood. No one can carry a cord of wood in a standard pickup truck. A cord is high by four by eight feet long it is a lot of wood that can weight up to 4,800 lbs. The pickup would need to be loaded over four feet high with wood. Most standard pickups can't safely carry the weight of a full cord.

A ford heavy duty truck model like an F 250 or F 350 has a body dimension of 20 high and 96 inches long. So a cord of wood stacked in the body would be 28 inches above the sides of the body and probably higher than the cab. The payload capacity of a 2017 Ford F 250 is from 3,305 to 4,267 lbs so you would be overweight and rally squatting down in the back. If the firewood dealer shows up with a Ford F140 the payload capacity is 1,621 to 2,329 lbs. If he is selling a cord of firewood that is an outright scam that is not even arguable.

Naturally, this varies if the sides of the truck are not raised on the side to carry a good volume of wood in one trip. Also, the actual model of truck affects the body size and it’s carrying capacity. This is not a standard of measurement in the state of Massachusetts. In the State of New York, they have defined a truckload of wood to be  9ft x 9ft x 3ft so that cannot be stacked that way on a pickup. 

When you get the wood and have stacked it in some other dimension you can go to our firewood calculator and put in the specific dimensions you have and easily convert it to cords of wood.

See our page on a cord of firewood

A face cord is one-third of a cord. So the volume of the stack would be a third of the 128 cubic feet that would be in a full cord so it equals 42.66 cubic feet. The stacked dimension would be changed to one row deep instead of three rows. To get more information visit our face cord page
 A quarter cord of wood is 4'x6'x16” For this amount there is one row of wood in the stack and the width is reduced to produce the volume of 32 Cubic Feet Instead of 8 feet wide on the face cord the quarter cord is 6 feet wide.
A half cord of firewood is a volume of wood that is 64 cubic feet. Typically this is firewood stacked in three rows of firewood each piece cut to 16" lengths. The stacked dimensions being 4' high 4' wide and 4' deep. For more detailed information on what a half cord is.
 Quarter Face Cord with this term you are getting a small quantity of wood for occasional burning. There is one row of 16” pieces of wood typically stacked 4 feet wide by two feet high and 16” deep.

No Google or Bing search I have done provides a definition for what the term "Fencing Cord" means regarding firewood. If anyone knows a credible definition please let us know. All I can find is a reference to the term in Wikipedia but no follow up information anyplace else.  So if someone is selling fencing cords of firewood ask very pointed questions regarding just what the measurement is. 

Fencing Cordwood fences

Picture is from Up CycleUp Cycle Art

This is another firewood term that does not have a clear definition that I can find online. Best I can do is this reference guide by the University of New Hampshire extension service on how to estimate cords of wood in a tree prior to being cut down. Certainly, for our purposes selling kiln dried firewood, this would have no correlation to the amount of wood you would actually get after the wood was cut, screened for size, dried, loaded for transport to Boston and then delivered. 

As a point of reference, here is what their chart would come up with regarding a standing cord of wood.  The size of a tree before it is cut measured at 4 ½ feet above the ground having a diameter of 22"  should equal a cord of wood after it is cut and processed. So you can see this is certainly not a precise measurement in the purchase of firewood. 

If anyone reading this knows of a better definition please let us know what is a better definition is and where they found it.