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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. 

Things related to the quality of firewood.



It is wood that has been processed for use in residential, recreational, or commercial wood-burning fireplace oven or appliance. This first definition does not take into account any measure of quality or local variations in what is available. These local variations can be so vast that it brings new meaning to the saying “What is one man's trash can be another's treasure”. The point is with a large amount of mature tree species available then the attention turns to firewood qualities to narrow the selection of what is considered firewood. When you look at what some people burn in other places of the world as firewood it is a very different material and very substandard for anyone in this area since that is all that is available in these other areas. Desert or semi desert areas of the world have little or no wood to burn for a fire. In many places there are no large trees and almost no hard words available so their firewood is more like brush from the tops of trees that we do not use in New England. Or it can be evergreens with a lot of sap and are that would accelerate creosote buildup in the chimney and not burn evenly.


  • First consideration before preparation is selection the species of wood for burning prior to processing
  • Second consideration would be the right size to fit in the fireplace or stove. The total thickness relates to if it is a log and very large so that is needs to be split to burn well.
  • Third the moisture content of the wood the wetter the wood the slower it burns and the less heat is given off.

Refers to the fact that it has been recently harvested. Within the definition is the moisture content of the wood. The high moisture content means that it does not burn as well as dried wood and it does not provide as much heat since the fires heat has to drive out the water before it can burn. So it released fewer total BTU’s in the process. The moisture content of the wood can be evaluated by a number of tests. There are moisture meters to test the electrical conductivity in wood that relates to the moisture content of the wood. An easier test it to measure a similar amount of wood that is dry compared to dried wood. Different trees when cut down have moisture content that can range from as high as 120% to 60%.

An example of why you would not want to buy wood be weight is if the seller is not ethical they could wet it down. The other issue is it is just too variable. A cord of wood can weight 4,600 lbs when it is just cut down or green then after being dried it can be 3,300 lbs. These number are highly variable based on what source you look at. This number is just an example because each species of wood is different and the definition of dry is variable also. So you can start to see buying firewood and getting quality firewood is not based on all firewood is alike.

This term indicates air drying firewood over time to remove moisture from the wood so it will light and burn better. So wood that was cut last year has gone through a wood burning season.  There is no set standard for what is called seasoned wood. This gray area of time is a reflection of how long it takes to dry the wood and what the seller fells is an acceptable moisture content achieved to sell the wood for burning.  Often this is also applied to wood cut in the spring. There is no correlation to the moisture content of the wood. We do know of whole sale suppliers that report some retailers are buying wood that was cut less than a month or two ago and selling it as seasoned. As with other measures of firewood this term is not a scientific one. It usually refers to calendar time from when the wood was cut

There is not a set definition or specification for moisture content in seasoned firewood. Some suppliers sell a very green wood as seasoned leaving the customer with very poor burning fires. But the range of moisture in well-seasoned wood may be 25 percent to 40 percent moisture content. There should not be a lot of dirt, mud or debris on the wood. A lot of this is based on if the wood is stored on pavement or not.

This is a variable measure but the need to keep repeat customers with a great burning firewood. We provide hardwood that is dried to a moisture content on average of 15 to 20 percent. Size of each piece of wood and species of wood causes these variables in moisture content.

Seasoned firewood is naturally dried in the air over time to reduce the moisture content of the wood.  It is often covered but exposed to rain and snow. Seasoned firewood that is stored inside will naturally be drier. We do not know suppliers who do dry their wood inside. If done long enough and done right seasoned quality hard wood can approach the quality and moisture content of kiln dried firewood.  The problem is you cannot look at the wood and tell how dry it is.

Kiln dried wood is processed then put in a large oven called a kiln. The heat and airflow around the wood is used to dry the natural wood moisture content in the wood. The same as lumber is dried for construction purposes but in this case the use of a firewood kiln is to reduce the moisture content of the firewood. It is easier to light since there is less moisture in the wood. It allows the wood to burn better. It burns hotter produces more heat (BTU’s).  It produces less creosote in the chimney. We also make sure the wood is high quality hardwoods for a lasting fire with a balanced moisture content.

Kiln dried firewood can produce the same amount of heat with one piece of wood that it takes 3 pieces of wet logs produce. Even though kiln dried firewood costs more you can start to see the warmth, ambiance and economics of burning kiln dried wood. Kiln dried hardwoods being denser and dry burn hot, slowly and cleanly.

It is a measure of free water and chemically bonded water in another material. Different industries have different views of moisture content based on what the application is. In soil science it is the study of water and what is available to the plant before it wilts.  So they are looking at water availability. In drying wood there is the largest volume of water that is called free water and it is in the cells and fiber of the wood. The other water is chemically bound to the hydrogen in wood cellulose. This water is harder to remove.

In wood it is the amount of water in the wood both free and chemically bonded. The way to determine moisture content is to measure the change in weight. After heating and driving out the water a second measurement is taken and the resulting weight change is the amount of water removed from the wood. Think of it as a paper towel. When dry the moisture content is almost zero and when picking up a spill the product is designed to be able to go to 200% moisture content. Wood holds less but is strong, paper holds more but loses its strength when wet.

Without testing the moisture content or measureing the weight of the log it is very hard. Some signs are the bark comes off easily. There are different signs but none is definitive. Seasoned wood has been out in the weather for a while so it develops darkened ends to the wood. It often has splitting or cracks at the ends from the wood shrinkage as it dries with cracks or splits visible

A tree is a moisture conductor from the roots to the leaves to keep the tree alive. When wood dries 3 forces are at work. When a tree is first cut down the fibers in the wood are saturated with water and varies by species.

Capillary action is the movement of free water with in the wood from one place of concentration to a dryer section of wood. There is also a term called partial pressure of water that helps move the moisture along.

Moisture content differences the moisture seeks to reach equilibrium with its environment. In the kiln circulates warm air around the wood the gradient of drier air caused the water to come out of the wood.

Moisture movement refers to the direction of how the moisture tends to flow in the wood. Since it is a tree that is built to draw water up to the leaves the wood. When being dried the water tends to flow laterally through the wood. The other factor is drying the wood is how much the wood is split. Smaller pieces have more exposed surface area so it also gains by drying tangentially.

We sell a mix of native New England Hardwoods that are sourced from the logging industry and cannot be used for other purposes. The logging companies benefit by minimizing their waste wood and find a higher value use of the wood. Logs do not have much value below a 12” diameter. So the tops of trees smaller than 12” are a source for firewood as well as the need to thin the forest for better production and healthier trees. check our page on Forest to Fireplace

We feel that ours is as good or better than anyone else’s firewood. The reason being is the wood is kiln dried hardwoods and we deliver it, stack it for you and it consistently burns well

An example of to show the difference in dried firewood with a moderate water content of 25% is as follows. One log with a moisture content of seasoned wood will generate the same heat output as 3 green pieces of firewood.  With kiln dried wood there is less moisture so a more efficient burn happens. The wood will also last well. See our link on burning wood.

Yes, it does, hardwood is denser and has a 65% higher BTU value. The mix of wood supplied by us is a mix of New England hardwoods.  The density of the wood denotes the amount of total fuel available within the wood. The additional consideration is the moisture content of the wood. With the lower the moisture content the better the wood will produce more BTU’s.  There is a finite range to go to in being dry. If the wood is to dry it will not be a lasting fire so as with anything else everything is a balance. 

Just what exactly is is and is all wood firewood

BTU’s are a measure of heat. It stands for British Thermal Unit which is a defined unit of heat. The measure is what amount of energy it takes to raise one pound of water one degree. There are seven pounds of water in a gallon. As a frame of reference there can be up to about 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of water depending on how it is dried. So the effect of water content in the wood can really impact the energy available in the wood you go to burn.

To answere this question, I take this to be specifically about the how, not the why of kiln dried firewood. But the bottom line action of what is done and why people do it.

Moisture in the wood can be as high as 60% of the wood when it is first cut. So to burn well there is a need to remove most of that moisture so it is easy to light and burns brightly not just smoldering. So to put it briefly kiln dried mean firwood has been placed in a large over and monitored to reduce the moisture content from 60% down to 15-20% for consistantly good burning firewood. For a brief video done by the company that claims to be the inventor you can see a video description of what Kiln Drying is on our youtube channel.

What a firewood kiln is

It is wood that has been processed for burning in a fireplace as defined above. But then it is taken as step further to increase the value as a firewood. This next step is to reduce the amount of moisture in the wood so it will burn better and hotter. The BTU’s are increased since less heat is used to dry the wood as it burns to drive of the water that happens with seasoned or wet firewood.

In kiln drying, higher temperatures and faster air circulation are used to increase drying rate considerably. The management of the kiln varies by the kilns fuel source and not wanting to use too much fuel to dry the wood faster. Deep freeze mid-winter days are slower since real cold ambient are has to be brought up to temperature

 A firewood kiln is a specially designed industrial kiln built for drying wood. To put it in the simplest terms it is a huge oven that a lot of wood can fit in. It is large enough to drive a forklift into and stack many cords of wood. The do come in many sizes but the commercial ones to produce a good volume of kiln dried wood like very large oversized coolers. They are insulated to prevent heat lose, have air circulating fans to pull the water out of the wood. They typically either are heated by scrap wood, sawdust a waste product from other operations in a saw mill or by burning or propane. The wood is usually in the oven for days.

It is a byproduct from the forest management process. In Forest management trees are cut and chipped into big trucks for pulp wood and that goes to be burned for energy, some wood goes to make hardwood flooring and some goes to make furniture. As a forest grows there is also the need to remove smaller trees in order for it not to get over crowded. Out of all of these activities geared around sustainable forestry and the constantly changing market conditions there is a flow of mixed hardwood trees that makes great firewood. We have searched all of New England and New York to find high quality and consistent quality kin dried firewood. One of the issues is sorting and using species of wood that will all dry at the same rate otherwise some pieces of wood will burn to fast since they will be too dry and then other wood will smolder and sputter and be hard to light since it is too wet. For more information, please check our page on Forest to Fireplace.

When they are selected they are cut and trucked to the processing yard, then cut to length. Next the wood is put in metal bins to be stacked in the kiln. A couple of sample pieces are connected to the control room and the moisture is monitored in the wood in real time. This is coordinated with the temperature and airflow in the kiln. It is then stored indoors before the wood is shipped to Boston in a covered truck. Then it goes into our building for final processing prior to delivery to you. Each piece is inspected and placed in a bundle for easy handling for both us on delivery and for you the customer when taking the wood from the storage area to the fireplace for burning

Where we keep the wood and where customers can store the wood after they get it - no bugs

From the moment it comes out of the kiln this wood is stored out of the weather every step of the way from when it comes out of the kiln till it is stacked by us where you want it. This is what we mean by “from forest to fireplace”. We take care of it for you. We do not want any wetting of the wood so you get the full benefit of consistently good burning wood. We do not deliver on a rainy day just for that reason.

Because it is kiln dried and so much effort has been put into getting the wood dry and keeping it that way we feel that the wood should be stored inside out of the weather or be covered.  Customers keep our wood in basements, closets, coal bins, extra rooms or wood racks.  The wood has been heat treated to its core so no living bugs or pests are in the wood that could be brought into the house get warmed up and them come out. 

It is not a good idea to store uncertified kiln dried wood inside because of the problems dealing with all the moisture in the form of water vapor that will be released from the wood as it is drying and possible insects that come out of the bark and that have burrowed into the wood. The warm house inside will make them think it is spring time

No it has been heated well above the state required kill temperate of any bugs . It has been heated all the way through the wood to kill all the bugs and any dormant things contained in the wood or bark.

Un-managed and not monitoring the movement of un-treated firewood has been implicated in the spread of Dutch elm disease, emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, thousand cankers disease of walnut, Asian long horned beetle, Sirex wood wasp, Goldspotted oak borer and other native and non-native insect and disease problems. Whole species of trees have been almost wiped out by some of these diseases. Elm trees used to populate and be a dominate street tree in new England now you hardly see any. Some of these pest’s life cycles is tied to being in or on the wood for part of their life. Others are produce fungal spores that then can be moved with the wood as firewood is transported.

Things to consider when buying firewood.

This wood is stored on a paved surface and then indoors so no dirt, bugs or other stuff that should not be there is not there.  The wood is hand sorted so only uniform correct pieces are supplied to the user.  We have looked at each piece before it is delivered. The scraps and broken pieces are separated out of what we sell. These small pieces are collected put in bags for kindling. With each delivery at least one bag of kindling is supplied with each order.

People who are busy and do not have the time to go out and be Paul Bunyan in the forest. Really it is for also for people that want a service of getting firewood having a luxurious fire but not the labor involved in getting and stacking the wood.

For kiln dried firewood it is Boston Firewood. And we are biased, but if you are skeptical try and small quantity and see for yourself.

 The wood is all cut close to +/- 16” and split to convenient size. The sizing is kept uniform by the equipment used and large pieces are harder to dry. theree are no big chuncks they are easy to handle. This helps produce a consistent burning fire.