What Is A Cord Of Wood?

We are often asked what is the volume of wood we can buy for fireplace or what is a cord of wood. Well, a cord is the official measurement of firewood that’s aligned into parallel stacks and takes up a volume of 128 cubic feet or 4 feet (122 cm) high, 8 feet (244 cm) long, and 4 feet (122 cm) deep or any combination of measurements that total up to the prescribed volume. It is assumed that the word cord comes from using a string to measure it.

what is a cord of wood

Cord terminology

Now that the question, “What is a cord of wood?” has been answered, it’s time to introduce the terminology pertaining to cord.

  • One full cord: This refers to a large stack of wood measuring 4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft., with a volume of 128 cubic feet. The quantity of wood it contains depends largely on the size of pieces contained therein, though for firewood it is generally 85 cubic feet, while the rest of the cord volume is attributed to air space.

Though a full cord is the official measure of firewood, yet pieces measuring four feet are never used for heating homes. So, firewood is never sold in the sizes of its official measurement.

  • Face cord, stove cord or furnace cord: These terms are used to describe firewood in sizes of 4 feet height and 8 feet length, with one piece length under 4 feet. Usually, a firewood length is 16 inches or 33% of a full cord, though other lengths can also be procured.

Buying tips:

  • Choose a reputed seller and buy only from him.
  • When the wood is delivered to you, ensure it’s stacked so you know what you’re paying for.
  • Before buying, find out the kind of wood it is and ensure that it is only hardwood.
  • Find out the total wood volume.
  • It’s better to go in for naturally seasoned wood rather than that which is dried in kilns.
  • Ensure that you do not burn wood if it does not have a basic moisture content of 15% as this could be hazardous.
  • To know precisely what you’re buying, take a moisture meter along to the shop.
  • Ensure that the firewood you buy is cut in equal measurements. This makes it easier to handle and proves that you deal with a good quality seller.

How to store firewood: After you buy firewood, here’s what you do:

  • Dry and season green wood by exposing it to the sun and wind.
  • Buy a good rack and split the wood.
  • Now, stack it.
  • Stack it in a criss-cross arrangement as this will help it dry faster.
  • Ensure that there’s enough of air flowing in and out to season the wood.
  • Keep it stored longer so that it dries better and will burn better.
  • Don’t put your woodpile directly on the floor, but let there be a gap of six inches between the ground and your woodpile.
  • Cover it with tarpaulin, and leave the sides bare so that air can flow in and out freely.
  • Keep it free of pests and insects by spraying it with pesticide.

You can read more over here: http://www.woodheat.org/cord-wood.html 

Author: John Clax

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