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Half Cord Of Firewood


A half cord of firewood stacked click to enlarge half cord of firewood is just what it sounds like half of a full cord. As a definition, that certainly is not any good if you do not know what a full cord is. A half cord of firewood is 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 4 feet deep. Historically, each piece of wood in the cord was cut to four-foot lengths, and the user would then cut it down to fireplace size. This has changed over the years to a much more practical convention. Who wants to have to recut the wood you get delivered or have to haul and stack 4' lengths? Nobody! Today, our customers want wood split to a convenient size and clean for carrying into the house.

Today, the industry standard for cords of wood is to be cut to 16" lengths of wood. A half cord comprises three rows of sixteen-inch long pieces of wood placed end to end to make the stack 4' deep. A half cord of wood 4' X 4' X 4' results in 64 cubic feet of wood by volume.

How the half cord is measured has a second factor. The wood is to be stacked with minimum voids in the stack. To be sure you have a half cord of wood, the wood should be stacked neatly in a line or row, with individual pieces touching and parallel to each other, making sure that the wood is compact and has the few gaps possible." This ensures the maximum number of pieces of split wood in the piled wood. Because the wood is sold by volume, you should get the full measure of firewood when the finished stack of wood is made up to the right dimensions and the pieces are all tight together.

State Standards

In Massachusetts, firewood is sold by cubic volume, not by weight.

This is because the moisture content variation can greatly affect the weight. Selling a product this way would give large variations in the volume of wood you buy. This would make it hard to compare prices from different dealers. A face cord of kiln-dried firewood weights

What are firewood weights, and how do we know it?

logging trailer smallHauling large volumes of wood means you must know the weight to prevent overweight tickets. Click to enlargeThe weight of a half cord of kiln-dried firewood weighs approximately 1,800 pounds. This fact is one of many that makes our firewood burn bright and burn right because it has less water in the wood. Because it is kiln-dried, the kiln drying produces a consistently dry firewood product. A regular half cord of wood that is not kiln-dried weighs approximately 2400 pounds or 600 pounds more. So you can get 75 gallons of water in the wood or more, depending on the wood species. The weight of water has to be driven out of the wood as it burns so it can not burn as well. Boiling sap coming out of the pieces of wood is the best way to see for yourself how much has to be boiled off as the wood burns. 

A full cord of kiln-dried firewood weighs 3,600 lbs if it is kiln-dried, and the average cord of green wood is 4,800 pounds. There are listings published per species that show what different wood species weigh, both green and kiln-dried. Our wood being sold is a mixture of different native hardwoods in New England. It is much more accurate to go by what truckers use to legally establish what load they can carry so they do not get a very expensive ticket. They know that x number of cords is what they can legally carry. These loads of wood being hauled are large volumes of select hardwood that have been kiln-dried. An experienced driver can feel the difference in the truck's suspension if the wood is too wet. If we sold our firewood by weight, we would have to go to a certified truck scale and get a separate weight slip for each load we deliver.

Moisture Content in Firewood

We use the truck scale and tracking information because there are variations in the water content of wood based on what wood species it is. Fresh cut Willow can have more than double the dry weight of wood by up to 120%. That is part of why willow is not a good firewood because of moisture content and the lack of density in the wood. Moisture content in a piece of wood greater than 100 percent means that it has more water than there are actual dry wood fibers. It is measured by measuring samples of wood heating in an oven and then measuring the sample after drying. Here at, we sell kiln-dried wood and are very familiar with how much water can be in firewood and how it can reduce the quality of the wood for burning. It is one of the core principles of supplying the highest quality firewood. To put it in perspective, some species of wood, like willow, can have so much water in the wood fibers that the weight would be twice what it contains when dried. So, if you bought firewood by weight, you would get half the amount of wood; it would be terrible to light, hard to burn, and create a lot of soot. On the other end of the spectrum, oak is very dense, so it is an example of wood that is heavier than most based on the total wood fiber present. This density makes it take longer to dry so it can not be mixed in with other wood species in the same batch in a kiln. Along with wood species, we feel moisture content is the most important factor in firewood quality. Specifically, moisture content is the amount of water in the wood. High moisture content in firewood makes the wood of any species poor firewood, even if it is a high-quality hardwood that is good for burning when dry. The point is that buying firewood by weight is the worst measure to base a purchase transaction on. If a firewood dealer offers this option, be very cautious.

The wood measure terminology problem

half cord firewood stacked small

Know the terms and what is implied. In the industry, many terms are used to describe the measure of wood to be sold. Often it is based on how a firewood supplier operates. For some dealers that sell small quantities of wood and dump it in the driveway, they will refer to a pickup load of wood. That is fine, but what does it mean, and can you compare it to what someone else is offering? Is the pickup a short-bed compact pickup or a long-bed diesel heavy-duty truck, and how tightly is it loaded? As we noted above, a half cord of kiln-dried wood weighs 1,800 pounds. One of the most popular trucks is a Ford F150 is between 1,621 to 2,329 lbs based on its specs. So some 150's green or partially seasoned wood would overload the truck and require sideboards to get a full half cord. Be aware when buying firewood; be specific in your questions regarding how much wood you get. If a supplier uses terms like a truckload of wood, furnace cord, thrown cord, fireplace cords, stove cord, pick up full, bushels, thrown cord, loose cord, or rack of wood. Be clear in understanding how much wood by stacked volume you expect to get from who you are buying from. These terms are not "Legal" definitions for quantities of wood, so you need to know how to convert the terms to a standard measure to make a fair comparison. It has to be a fair deal for both the buyer and the seller with clear communication.

The state of Massachusetts has one specific legal definition for purchasing firewood. It is a full cord of wood. We know people in and around the city want to buy what they need and can store it conveniently. Our business is based on selling less than full cords. We want to clarify what we mean when referring to a half cord of firewood. Three rows of firewood are 4 feet wide, not the 8-foot wide a full cord would be. Our customers are mostly people who want the ambiance of a great fire in the fireplace and good wood that burns well, not whole house heating. The amounts we sell revolve around how often our customers burn wood, the available storage space for the wood, and how often they are home, not traveling or working, and can relax by the fire. We sell insect-free dry firewood stacked where you want it, so burning wood is convenient. We deliver and stack wood in pantries or small storage areas that cannot handle larger volumes of wood. Especially when stacking wood on balconies and decks, you know the weight of the wood from the information above, and it is as light as possible for the carrying capacity of the deck.

Watch the lengths

Keep in mind that cutting firewood pieces short can add up to a substantial change in the amount of wood you get. Here is an example. If at the cutting table, the wood is cut to 15" for the entire half cord, you would get a lot less but maybe not see the difference. Using our firewood calculator, when you put in the dimensions of 4' X 4' X 45" deep you get a change from 64 cubic feet of wood to 60.00 cubic feet or firewood or 0.46 of a cord that is not half. This quantity difference for a wood supplier with a high volume of wood can add up to a lot of wood paid for but not delivered. This can be a big factor in the seller's favor in a notoriously low-margin, high-labor industry.

A Half cord is a half of a cord of wood when purchased from us at Boston Each log is measured and cut to 16" lengths on the cutting table of the wood processor at the mill before being split to keep the lengths consistent, a verifiable measure of the wood you are buying. Picture a cord of wood stacked with three rows of wood being blocky, forming a stable cube that will not easily topple over if it is stacked outside.

Buying a half cord of wood

Knowing how to buy and the correct terms are important to both buyer and seller. At, we sell kiln-dried firewood delivered to customers in the Boston Metropolitan area. Our wood is stored indoors in a warehouse before delivery. We are pretty sure no one else in our area does that. This way, we keep rain or moisture from spoiling the wood. The wood is kept out of the dirt every step of the way, from cutting through the kiln to the customer. We do not want to track a dirty, messy product into your home. We are different from others in that we only sell kiln-dried firewood that has an optimized moisture content to burn well but not too fast. Our customers want convenient fires that burn right and burn brightly without having to be Paul Bunyan to handle the wood and an Eagle Boy Scout to keep the fire burning.  All year round, we have kiln-dried firewood wood available. 

The delivered quantities we sell are;

 For those who want less, we offer a pick-up service in our yard in Dedham, Massachusetts, for any amount of bundles you want. Our bundles are larger than what most people offer. They are 1.5 cubic feet, so you can handle more wood with fewer trips than buying gas station bundles, typically .75 cubic feet of firewood.

Call Paul at 781-254-2773 to order or visit our Request for Quote Page.