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


Easy Peasy, Firewood Storage Rack


img_3520Suggested Materials List:
(3 or 4) – Concrete blocks
(2) – 2″ x 4″ x 8′
(4) – 2″ x 4″ x 6′

     That’s it, that’s all, the whole she-bang. I have several of these racks free standing around the property. I set them up where I fell and cut trees. I can let the wood season for a year right there off of the ground before I move it up to the outdoor furnace site racks. Depending on how high you stack the wood, one rack can hold up to ½ a cord of wood.
     Down on the homestead I try to repurpose materials or just make do with what I have on hand. Saving money where I can is a big deal.  This is a great project to use those warped boards or the ones you can’t pull the nails from. As it happens, I had some rough cut, oak 2″ x 4″s and some 3″ x 5″s lying around and a few left over blocks from my outdoor wood furnace project. I only used three blocks because the wood I was using is strong oak. If I were to purchase pine boards, I’d probably use four blocks to support the weight. I’d also buy treated wood.
     This is my third year of keeping these racks full of wood and I’m starting to see some insect damage on the boards. This will probably be the last year for some of them. But nothing goes to waste here. They will just be added to the firewood stack.

Let’s get started. Try to pick a semi level spot. Lay out an 8 ft. board to see where you need to place your blocks.









Place a block at each end and one or two in the middle, hole side up.


I put a few stones in the bottom so the wood isn’t resting on the ground.


Place the 6 ft. boards in the holes on the end blocks.


     It’s a little easier if you are doing this alone to place a few pieces of wood on the rack to help keep the end boards from moving till you get a row down. You’ll still have time to readjust them.
     Well that’s it, doesn’t get any more easy peasy than that, or cheap. I hope this straightforward rack gets you through a winter until you can build that wood shed. I know it’s on my list, my super l-o-n-g list.
Onward in Strength,
Mary Lotus