Firewood Measurements

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How Much is a Cord of Wood? (chord of wood)

In many areas a cord is the only legal firewood measurement. A cord of wood is 128 cubic feet of stacked firewood. Firewood that is stacked fits together more tightly so to make a full cord it is usually assumed that the wood is stacked. To get a full cord of loosely piled wood the volume will be more like 180 cubic feet depending on how loosely the pile is thrown together.

A cord of wood is based on the dimensions 4′ x 4′ x 8′ which adds up to 128 cubic feet. Many other dimensions can be used as long as they add up to 128 cubic feet. A full size 8′ pickup bed stacked to the top of the bed is about 1/2 cord. The bed of a standard long bed Ford F-250 measures out to slightly more than a half cord if the wood is stacked even with the top of the bed. This includes factoring in the space taken up by the wheel wells.

More common cord of wood dimensions.

Cord vs Face Cord vs Rick

In some areas firewood is measured as a face cord or a rick. A face cord and a rick can mean different things depending on who you talk to but they are generally both the same thing. In most cases this would be any stack of wood that is 8 feet long and 4 feet high or any equivalent that would have a 32 square foot face.

The amount of wood in a rick or face cord will depend on how long the pieces are so these are not the most accurate firewood measurements. The standard length for firewood is often 16″ and a rick or face cord in that case would be 1/3 cord. If the pieces were 24″ long a rick or face cord would be 1/2 cord.

Without knowing the length of the pieces you won’t know how much wood you are getting when you order a rick or face cord. This is why some states like Oregon require firewood measurements to be in cords or fractions of cords when selling firewood.

Cord or Chord

A cord of firewood is spelled cord. A chord is  a musical term.

61 thoughts on “Firewood Measurements”

  1. I have a man that wants to buy 10 ricks of firewood. Now I cut my wood in widths of 18 to 22 inches. So if my calculations are close the equivalent of 10 ricks would be 5 cords.

  2. Trewolla, you are correct and also even if your giving him a little more with the 18 to 22 inches thats just good bussiness and he will be a good customer in return. I come from the south and we go by ricks and cords but I live in NY now and they go by Face cords up here and dont have a clue what Im talking about when I say rick. Its really confusing.

  3. Trewolla, sorry but to correct my last comment. No for your cord I misread your comment. it would be 3 ricks at 16 inches long that make a full cord. with yours being 22 inches long you would have about a little more than 3/4 of a full cord.

  4. I sell firewood and Im from the south and sell firewood by the rick. I cut my firewood 18-20 inches in width. I delivered a man a rick of firewood and he he said that it was not a full rick of firewood that the legal measurement of a rick of firewood is 8 foot long by 4 foot high and 24 inches long..What is the legal measurement of a rick of firewood? I have now started advertising my wood as a truck load of firewood that is 8’long x4’high x19″ in width.

  5. There is no legal measurement of a rick of firewood that I am ware of. In many states the only legal measurement for firewood is a cord or fraction of a cord.

  6. The truth of the matter is that there are so many variables in the “Eye Ball” size of the length of the cuts when you are cutting the fire wood, that many people get more than they pay for and many other people get less than what they pay for when buying a ‘Cord’ of firewood. I’ve owned a tree service Company for 32 years and have always tried to cut the wood to ‘Fire wood’ length by simply ‘eye-balling’ it, but even when carefully measured, the length would always vary. The Question of the day is “What is the correct length of Firewood”? That all depends on who the customer is and what they prefer. My conclusion is that a ‘Cord’ of firewood is 4’W x4’T x8’L, or just as the first paragraph states, 128 cubic feet of wood, give or take a cubic foot. I have always added a little more than a ‘Cord’ just to make sure I’m doing the right thing by my customers. Does this make sense to anyone else, or am I just rambling on about details?

  7. There is no “correct length”, but 16″ is a standard length in a lot of places. And you are right about eye balling it. Even the best of us can have an inch or 2 variation between the length of pieces when we are cutting. When measuring the lengths, you pretty much have to take an average to get anywhere close to an accurate measurement. And even then it’s still only a good estimate. But that’s just the nature of firewood. Unless every piece is perfectly square and a uniform size, which most isn’t, there will always be variations in the amount of wood that will fit into 128 cubic feet. the more irregular the pieces are, the less tight the wood will stack together. This means more air space between pieces, resulting in less solid wood per cord. And one person who stacks it more tightly than another, taking time to fit the pieces together, will be able to get more wood in a cord. You may be rambling about details, but I think you bring up some good points. Measuring firewood is not exact, since firewood is not uniform in size and shape. And like you, I like to add on a little extra. I think it’s good business and it makes the customers happy.

  8. So a loggers cord is a little more as the length is 8’6″ right? Just want to clarify as I see some ads worded upon “loggers cord” in the classifieds.

  9. To Wisconsinite: Once you have settled how much wood is with this or that, take some time, relax and brew up some good Wisconsin beer. BTW thanks for all the good posts on this site.

  10. convert linear feet to inches and divide by 1728 this will render cu.’
    16′[192″]x 4′[48″]x 2′[24″]=221184cu.”/ 1728 cu.”= 128cu’.

  11. By rule of thumb,(back in tennessee) a rick of wood is 16″ X 4’X 8’= 1/3 cord
    If you are cutting your wood 18″ to 22″ for a rick you should have a happy

  12. This is pretty confusing…but I think I understand. Here in Texas a cord will fill my 2 racks that are 4’h x 8’w. So, I have been getting a “face cord” and not a full cord. Right? Would a full cord fill 4 racks that are 4’h x 8’w?


  13. A face cord is one rack 4’x8. If the pieces of wood are 16″ long, it takes 3 of these racks to make a cord.

  14. Thanks, admin. I just talked to a guy who was selling 18″ pieces and he told me a full cord would fill 2 4×8 racks. So, that is a bit short of a true full cord.

  15. Here in California, the only legal mesurment is a cord or a fraction of at 128 cubic feet. We diliver it in a 4’X4’X 8′ trailer, no questions. Only wish when we were younger we would have thought having a DUMP trailer was important! A lot of people are amazed when they see a full cord on the ground, stacking is important!

  16. I am in Texas also, to clarify…A cord is 16″ ×4’× 24′ correct?

    What is average price if I load/pickup vs delivery and stack? I am seeing it price many different ways on amount first and I want to get my money’s worth.

  17. I’ve been cutting wood for 40 yrs and once read a publication called the wood cutters bible. In this pub. it said the a cord 4’x4’x8’=128 cubic ft.The tru rick is cut @ 16″ which works out to 3- 4’x8’x16″= a total of 128 cubic feet. Hence the “rick” meas. is 16″. A “face cord” is cut of indeterminate length, ie. 4’x8’x12″, 14″,16″,18″, whatever. If you have 3- stacks of wood 4’x8’x 24″=192 cubic ft, which is more than a tru cord of 128 cubic ft. In other words, if looking at a face cord and rick from the side, it appears that they are the same but the face cord can be more or less than the rick, depending on the length of the pieces cut. 3- ricks =128 cubic ft, 3 face cords can be more or less than 128 cubic ft. Just my 2 cents.

  18. I have a 4’X6′ utility trailer that carries 2000 lbs. , 12″ tires. Can I safely carry a face cord or hard wood with this trailer?

  19. We are buying a wood from a man with a trailer that is 10x6x2, I can’t figure out what that measurement is.Is it a cord

  20. This is all very confusing, I sell firewood. I buy my wood in 16 ft logs, the load is scaled by a scaler. Legal measurment. Then I process this into 16 inch lengths. If I were to stack this 4x4x8 I would have room for more wood, so that makes a cord not a cord.
    So we sell it by the bag , aprox a short box level, which is close to 1/3 of a cord give or take, my customers are happy, some have bought other places and have told me they got more at my place, some the same, one said he was short, but figured he just got a good deal.
    if the customer is happy, thats what counts.

  21. Ok… Cut, measure and stack it neatly in way you can measure the length, width and height. Shape and size doesn’t matter. Don’t get wrapped around the pole by measuring fractions of an inch. Use common sense and reasonable judgment. This is all about measuring and calculating the volume of “your pile”. Anyway…
    After you stacked the wood measure the length(L), width(W) and the height(H) and multiply them together (L x W x H). Make sure your units are the same. Don’t multiply inches by feet. Convert everything into units of feet. For example 16″ is 1’4″=1’+ 4″/12″=1’+ 1/3’= 1’+.33’=1.33(amazing).
    Now that you have the stack (L x W x H) amount in cubic ft, divide it by 128 cubic feet (“the cord”). This calculation will tell you how much you have. So .50 is half a cord 1.75 is one and three cords and so on.
    Finally take that value and multiply it by the price per cord. Please keep in mind that the price may vary based on how much you buy and while supplies last.
    So forget about ricks, racks, jacks, shanks whatever you want a call it. Just ask the man for the price of a cord. If he says he only has a rick, no problem, that 1/3 or .333 of a cord . Just do the math. It’s all about measuring and calculating the size of your pile. Wood pile that is…

  22. One needs to also keep in mind that when you buy a loggers cord of wood…after you cut and split the wood, you will end up with less due to loss from cutting and stacking tighter….still a better deal than buying face cords or ricks, due to their higher prices.

  23. I have fire wood pile stacked 18 feet long 4 foot wide I5 feet high. What would this break down to in cords ? My buddy says 3 1/2 cords and I say closer to 3 cords. What would the formula be to figure this out ?

    Thanks Frank

  24. Frank.. I assume you mean 18x4x5 feet. This figures out to be 360 cu ft(18 times 4 times 5). Divide that by 128 (a cord is 8x4x4 ft which equals 128 cu ft) and you get a shade over 2.8 cords. If you meant 18x4x15 feet (which I doubt you stacked it 15 feet high LOL) you would have 1080 cu ft divided by 128 would give you 8.4 cords.

  25. Thanks for taking this one Greg. I too was wondering about the 15 feet high stack. If he has it stacked that high I want to see pictures of that wood pile.

  26. I sell firewood in northern pa and I have been cutting my firewood at 18-20 inches in length. I have been selling it in either full cords or 1/2 cords. When I stack it up I was stacking 2 rows 8’x4.5’x19″ is that a legitimate cord?

  27. I cut firewood for years in the south
    As established here 4 x 4 x 8 is a cord
    and there are 3 ricks in a cord
    we cut our wood 16 inches so a rack that was 4 x 8 by 16″ stacked so “a rat could get through but the cat could not” was our best seller to those wanting to haul their own, a rick.
    Normally we would deliver a chord, because of the weight. we also sold in wheelbarrows, to campers and it was not something we really measured we just threw in enough wood to fill it not neat.
    Our delivery truck for chords you could see the measurement so there was no question.
    The reason we used 16″ was to keep it simple, the guys cutting 18″ had different sizes to cords that caused confusion with customers, ours added up to 128 CF.
    I buy wood cut and split now and I find that here in California the word cord can mean a lot of different measurements. the most common sizes here are cord and 1/4 cord, but when they show up the wood is not neatly stacked in the carrier and they want money before unloading. I pay when my racks are filled, to full cords. If they do not want to agree to that, I send them on.
    When buying hickory or mesquite I find it a lot cheaper to buy uncut unsplit wood.
    I also have found the best way to get the cheapest price is to deal with one or 2 guys, let them know you will take wood anytime of the year and let them call you when they are slow. After all you will get a lot better price for wood in June when they want money to go fishing than when their phones are ringing off the hook in November.

  28. For my 2 cents, (I agree with James) I live in Michigan and have been cutting wood for almost 50 years, and have always cut our fire wood to 16″ +/- a little. Now in the last few years with the Outside burners becomming more popular I see fire wood cut to 18 and 24″ lengths. Even when I was a kid on the farm 16″ long pcs. was the norm for us and our neighbors. A cord of fire wood is 4’x 4’x 8′ (128 CF) A rick of fire wood was measured 16″x4’x8′. I sold wood with my Brother-in-law and we sold by first stack. We cut split and stacked in cords. When a customer called we required that they come to see or choose their cord or part of. We would then throw it on a trailer and haul it for them (we did not restack for them) or they could load and haul it on their own epuipment. After a stack of wood has been hauled and restacked it may stack smaller or larger than the first stack. We had a special charge for those that orderd special lengths such as 12″ for some of the small fire places (Franklin Fireplace) to 24″ for Outdoor burners. So as I see it a cord 4’x4’x8′ or rick 16″x4’x8′ is the best way. A face cord is 4’x8′ with varying lengths of cut in single stack.

  29. I too have sold firewood for a living for many years. Alaska, Oregon, New Mexico, and now Missouri. You are all correct that a cord of of wood is 128 cubic feet. It don’t matter how you stack it. The last few years it seems wood stoves are getting smaller and I have been cutting my wood in 14-16″ lengths and selling cords by cu. in. So the customer gets more like 4 rows at 4’x8′ and most of my customers are very pleased with that. Also, I sell all of my wood split. Better for the customer and it seems like the wood fluffs up a bit and better for me too.

  30. So, how much are you selling wood for??? I live in southern Ohio and have some to sell again this year but dk for what it is going…any ideas?? thanks, Skye

  31. I was raised in Arkansas we always cut a rick of wood 2’x;4’x8′ but I have noticed over the years more people are cutting the length down to 16″. Perhaps because the size of wood stoves is getting smaller. And people aren’t using fireplaces as much. Today around Northwest ar. A rick of wood is considered to be 16″x4’x8′ and sells between 50 to 80 dollars if you go pick it up yourself.

  32. I’ve been cutting coastal oak in San Diego county and the going price of insect free 1/2 cords is going for $150.00.

  33. I have a 2 stacks of firewood that are 4×4 and 14-16inch pieces. Would this be considered a full cord or half cord?

  34. In TX and OK the measurements listed in the article above is what is used. In NC it depends on who you buy from. I had one guy that tried to sell me a SWB truck bed load as 4 rics another one was going to be a little better and tell me that size bed was a cord. The measurements come from the old railroad days when trains used wood. Now days if a person is using a wood burning stove to heat a whole house they will be using a med to large stove (mama bear / papa bear as some are called) those will usually accept 20 – 22 inches sometimes 24″. If you cut your wood at 20/22″ stack it 4′ tall and 8′ foot long and make two rows people will be very happy and will both pay for and call it a full cord.

  35. My husband & I just started cutting & splitting red & white oak in tx & we have a difference of opinion when it comes to the correct dimensions. I stack mine 16′ x 18-20″ x 4′ he makes his 15′ x 18-20″ x 3 1/2- 4′ also keep in mind we provide both split & unsplit logs in each cord the difference being I put about 3/4 split & he makes his about 50/50 our cords run $100 are either of us on base with them

  36. when we buy a cord of wood we stack it onto two 48 by 48 pallets, cover the whole pallets, stack 4ft high , the two pallets butted together creates 128 cu, ft ,if wood is stacked 4ft, high. if the wood were a perfect 24″ it would cover pallets perfect, if it is cut shorter and no matter how short , you want to cover every inch of the two pallets and stack 4ft high, you will then get as close as possible to one cord of wood

  37. What the hell is making this so confusing 4ft H x 8ft L is A Rick cut 16″. And 4ft H x 4ft W x 8 ft L is A cord @16″ length why do ppl have to make it so confusing

  38. The wood guy is on his way!!! He is bringing 2 cords of wood. So if one cord measures 4X4X8,2 cords measures 8X8X16 ??I know this sounds dumb, but my husband is freaking out!!

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