What Exactly is a Cord or Rick of Wood?


With terminology being different in differing regions all these wood terms can get a bit confusing.

It is actually pretty easy to get ripped off when buying firewood, at times leaving you with less wood than you thought you were buying. But you can prevent that by learning a few basic terms and understanding their meanings.

There is a smidge of math involved but don’t worry. No calculating, just the use of a tape measure and the ability to count to eight <wink>. Most firewood, split or whole round wood is sold by stacked volume.

The standard formula for measuring stacked or solid volume is: length x width x height.


So what is this illusive “cord” of wood you may ask?  A full cord of wood when stacked, will measure 8 ft. in length x 4 ft. in width x 4 ft. in height.

     For those interested in the technical gobbledygook. A cord of wood, a cord of biscuits, or a cord of toilet paper will all encompass the same 128 cubic feet. How is that so, you might ask? It’s because a cord is a measurement of specified dimensions. A cord is never larger or smaller in volume than 128 cu. ft.

Next, we move on to the “rick” of wood. A rick of wood is also known as a “face cord” depending on where you live. It measures 8 ft. x  16 in. x 4 ft.


It takes three ricks or face cords to make one cord of wood.

You will hear some people say they sell “half cords”. There is no such beast. What they are actually selling you is a rick or face cord of wood for 1/2 the price of a full cord of wood.

The only exception to this is if they cut their wood into 24 inch logs, which is highly doubtful. Logs that size are unwieldy to handle and do not fit in many wood stoves. Standard logs are cut to 16 inches.

     As an example let’s say a cord of wood costs $200 (price will vary per location). Your supply person would charge between $65.00 – $70.00 per rick. Whereas this half cord fella or gal would charge you the bargain basement price of $100 for that same rick. Play it safe, do yourself a favor, and forego dealing with anyone selling half cords.

Now here is the part where it gets confusing. Most delivered wood does not get stacked on your property before you pay for it. So how do you know exactly how much is on the truck?

If someone is bringing wood in the back of a full standard size pickup and they are telling you it is a full cord, it better be stacked up close to the height of the top of the cab. If not, they are telling you a fish story.

On average, it takes two stacked truck loads of wood that fills the truck bed to equal a cord.

Now, if they stack it in the truck, then you can tell right away. But you need to know what to look for. With the use of this handy chart, life instantly gets easier.




So next time you order wood or perhaps sell some, you’ll be better prepared and understand what these terms mean.

Onward in Strength and Knowledge,

Mary Lotus


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