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How Much Firewood is in a Cord?

seasoned wood for wood burning stove in Bristol CTWhen you are buying firewood for your fireplace or stove, you may have come across the term “cord” on the price tag. It’s a term used when buying wood in bundles, but do you really know how much firewood you are getting in a cord? It can be very confusing especially when a cord of wood means different things to different retailers. What type of cord is the retailer using in their calculation? Is it a full cord, half cord, Sheldon cord, or some other type of cord?

We’re going to teach you about the various types of cords you are likely to encounter in the marketplace, so you will know exactly how much firewood you should be getting.

How to Calculate a Cord of Wood

A cord is simply a unit of measurement used to measure firewood. In the U.S. and Canada, a cord is defined as a well-stacked volume of wood measuring 4-feet high by 4-feet wide by 8-feet long. This equates to 128 cubic feet (4 X 4 X 8 = 128). However, the law doesn’t require that the wood must be stacked in equal dimensions of 4 X 4 X 8. In fact, it can be stacked in any dimension as long as the total wood volume equals 128 cu ft. For instance, if seasoned wood was 1 ft high, 1 ft wide and 128 ft long, it’s a cord of firewood. You may also see some retailers stacking seasoned firewood 16 inches wide by 4 ft high by 24 ft long due to space constraints. Since 1.333 X 4 X 24 = 128 cubic feet, it is legally a cord. In other words, it’s not the dimensions, but the final volume that matters most.

Different Types of Cords of Wood

Full cord of wood for wood burning fireplace in Britain CT

Full Cord

The official standard measure of a full cord is 4ft high by 4 ft wide by 8 ft long. A full cord is what we have used in our calculations above, and it should amount to a volume of 128 cubic feet.

Face Cord

This is another common unit used to measure firewood. It refers to a one-row stack of wood measuring 4 ft high and 8 ft long; regardless of the log length. The log length may vary across different retailers, but the standard log length is about 16 inches, which is approximately 1.333 ft. A face cord is about 1/3 of the full cord.

Sheldon Cord

A Sheldon cord is another method some retailers use to measure firewood, but there is no standard. This means that a Sheldon Cord varies in size and volume among retailers. So, you have to ask the retailer to provide the exact dimensions and volume. This is the only way to know if the firewood is worth the asking price.

Now that you know what a cord of wood really is, you will always have a way to verify the amount of firewood you are buying for your fireplace or wood stove.

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