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A cord of wood (Read 534 times)
 
Ed Weber
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A cord of wood
Mar 13th, 2018 at 10:05am
 
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I had never heard the phrase "Northern cod" when referring to wood or firewood.
In my world, a cord, is a cord, is a cord.
I've heard of face cords and all manner of trying to rip people off. a tape measure does not lie.
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What is a cord of wood?

A full cord of wood assumes that the wood is arranged in a way that all the individual pieces are stacked (aligned, parallel, touching and compact) and fit within the following dimensions: 4 feet high x 4 feet wide x 8 feet long. A cord of wood occupies a volume equivalent to: 128 cubic feet (3.62 m3).

The actual wood volume is closer to 90 cubic feet due to all the air in between the firewood.

How much wood is in a 1/2 cord? A 1/2 cord is 4′ x 4′ x 4′ which is equivalent to 64 cubic feet.

To help you understand how big a cord of wood is here are some numbers to put it in perspective:

    A full cord of wood can weigh between 2,500 lbs (softwood) to 5,000 lbs (hardwood).
    A standard piece of firewood is 16 inches (1/3 of a cord width).
    A small pick-up truck can hold approximately 1/4  cord of wood.
    A 1/2 ton short bed pick-up can hold approximately 1/2 cord of wood.
    A long bed pick-up truck with racks can hold approximately 1 cord of wood.

When buying a cord of wood be sure to ask what the overall cubic footage is because a lot of sellers will use their own lingo with their own definitions. Ask about the overall volume. Don’t assume anything. If the seller is trying to deceive you in any way, just walk away and find a reputable seller.

Many sellers online use the term “face cord” to refer to 1/3 of a cord. So, a triple (3x) face cord would equal one full cord of wood. Make sure you clarify how they define “face cord” before you buy.

the National Institute of Standards and Technology has an official document that explains what a “cord” is. You can read or download the official US Government document, entitled: Specifications, Tolerances, and Other Technical Requirement for Weighing and Measuring Devices. You’ll find the information of page 115/116.
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #1 - Mar 13th, 2018 at 10:48am
 
Eons ago... mid 70's, when i lived in NJ, i would buy a cord of seasond firewood for $60 a cord, load half of it into my 70 Chevy 6' Stepside and drive it up into NYC, the village and sell it for almost 3 times that.

Most times it went for 6 pieces for $2.50 but every once in a while I would deliver the whole truck to one brownstone and all of the tenants chipped in for it.

I had free firewood for my own house for the whole winter!! Smiley
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George Stratton
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #2 - Mar 13th, 2018 at 12:01pm
 
When we lived in Roselle, Ill. and had a wood burning fireplace, I built a log bin that was 4' high and 8' long inside and about 3' deep. We always ordered a Face Cord and made sure he filled the bin completely just one row deep. Expensive wood there at about 75 bucks but he also stacked it. Loved the wood burner but now in a condo and just turn on the gas and light it. Wife hates it.
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Ed Weber
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #3 - Mar 13th, 2018 at 12:20pm
 
Currently wood where I live, firewood is expensive but it is the best wood I've ever burned.
Almond has one of, if not the highest BTU rating, burns hot and clean. Readily available in my area as this is where the almond growers are located. They are always cleaning out the old and or dead trees in the orchards and replanting.

When I was younger and firewood in our area reached $100+ a cord we bought a trailer load, (full logs) of 10 cords. Us kids got to cut and split it. With the "free" labor, the price was now $60 per cord.
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Glenn Jacobs
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #4 - Mar 13th, 2018 at 2:17pm
 
Carry over from other discussion: I grew up in Vermont where we both sold and burned wood. A cord was 4x4x8 ft. When I moved to North
Texas, folks were selling a "cord" that was more in line with 4x3x6 ft. Therefore a "Northern" cord vs a "Southern" cord.

I should have known that this would stir up a controversy on this forum of wood workers. Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Glenn J.
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Ed Weber
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #5 - Mar 13th, 2018 at 4:30pm
 
Glenn Jacobs wrote on Mar 13th, 2018 at 2:17pm:
A cord was 4x4x8 ft

Still is and always will be.  Roll Eyes

Thanks Glenn, I had never heard that phrase before. It sounds like those people from Texas you spoke of are simply trying to rip you off, and I thought everything was bigger in Texas. Undecided

You can call it whatever you want, all I know is if it isn't  4x4x8, I'm not buying it.

I really don't understand how something as simple as a measured size is subject to interpretation. As I posted, there are actual standards, it's not just guess-work, or sorcery.
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #6 - Mar 14th, 2018 at 10:44am
 
Now there is a stacked cord of wood which is nicely and properly stacked and piled cord of 4x4x8. Stacked cords sells for a little more.

Then there a cord of wood which is dumped on the homeowner's lot and they have to stack it themselves. The seller claims they pass on the savings from the labor of stacking to the homeowner.

I've seen this lately when local guys are selling wood to people moving here from NY or NJ, The new comers think they are saving a few bucks by stacking it themselves, but when properly stacked the pile measures anywhere from 4x2x8 to 4x3x8. The darn thing is they really don't even notice the discrepancy thinking a loosely jumbled pile of wood in the back of a pickup is a cord of wood.  When these new folks ask me where to get firewood from I'm sure to explain to them the difference and why they should pay a little more for a stacked cord.
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Glenn Jacobs
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #7 - Mar 14th, 2018 at 11:59am
 
Ron, same for down here. If a person is honest there is a lot of wood in a cord. If one had problems with the buyer, a run can be stacked to fit in a cord space. "A lot of open windows for air to flow."

Now to start working on my cord of wood! Hope to be posting photos this summer.

Glenn J.
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Ed Weber
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #8 - Mar 14th, 2018 at 4:53pm
 
Ed Weber wrote on Mar 13th, 2018 at 10:05am:
A cord of wood occupies a volume equivalent to: 128 cubic feet (3.62 m3).

The actual wood volume is closer to 90 cubic feet due to all the air in between the firewood.


It definitely depends on how you stack it or pile it.
I've seen the alternating method, some people call it criss cross stacking, where a few courses are stacked in on direction then one course stacked perpendicular the a few more in the original direction. There is so much wasted room it's not even funny, some say up to half is air space. Just one more dishonest practice when it comes to wood by the cord.
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #9 - Mar 14th, 2018 at 8:49pm
 
There's one place near us that has the firewood stacked in face cord racks right in his sales yard. Their 4 x 8 racks with one row of split logs already stacked up tight so you can see what your getting and how tightly its stacked. If you purchase it, he dumps it in the truck with his forklift. Not cheap, but he sells it out every year. Busha's Garden Center.
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #10 - Mar 15th, 2018 at 9:38am
 
I had a seasonal employee that worked for me and hauled firewood in the winter months.  He told be that 4 cords unsplit would equal 5 cords split.  And of course he got more $ money for the split wood.  So if you can do the splitting yourself buy the unsplit cord.
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Ed Weber
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #11 - Mar 15th, 2018 at 10:07am
 
Al Wasser wrote on Mar 15th, 2018 at 9:38am:
He told be that 4 cords unsplit would equal 5 cords split.


You gain about 25% overall volume by splitting, (stacking properly) so he is correct.
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #12 - Apr 1st, 2018 at 3:09pm
 
I think where people are it is called different things.

A face cord is really half a cord of wood or what will fill up a regular truck bed level.  So if people do not ask what a face cord of wood is and it is priced almost as much as a full cord they get cheated.
I grew up in the Mountains of Colorado and a cord is a cord 8x4x4 or 4x4x8 and I sold it stacked which gave me a little more money and people who liked me doing that for them and glad to pay the extra $10 back in 1974 and I got a lot of exercise to. (Groan now that I think of it)

Now a days I see a lot of rip off artists saying what cords are and it is not even close or about little more then half a cord.

I do not know what happened to honesty now a days but I do not like it.
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Ed Weber
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Re: A cord of wood
Reply #13 - Apr 1st, 2018 at 6:06pm
 
Arlin Eastman wrote on Apr 1st, 2018 at 3:09pm:
I think where people are it is called different things.

A face cord is really half a cord of wood or what will fill up a regular truck bed level. 


Yes and no
I know cords are called different things depending on where you're from. I started this post by asking what a 'northern cord" was. I grew up in the northeast and hadn't heard that phrase before.
A face cord is "generally considered" to be 1/3 of a cord, 4' by 16" by 8'. The "face" of a cord, one single row.

When I grew up there were cords of wood and 1/2 cords, period. A half cord was, believe it or not, a 1/2 of a cord, not what would fill someones pick-up truck. Today's pick-ups would hold about enough to fill my wheelbarrow.

I don't know what happened to honesty either but you have to constantly stay on your toes or someone is there to try and take advantage, very sad.
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