All You Need to Know About Cordwood

Learn what it is and what it’s used for

Author: Charles J Zank Category: life
Updated on:

If you are new to the firewood supply market, you are most likely unfamiliar with the industry jargon. In the firewood industry, one of the most frequently used terms is “cord.” What is a cord of wood anyway? This is what we will be talking about today.

After you read this article, you will better understand this term, as well as learn why it is so essential. Knowing what a cord of wood is, you will ensure you purchase the appropriate firewood supply for your home.

What Is Cordwood In General?

A cord of wood is the primary unit of measurement for selling firewood. You might not be aware of it, but firewood has its own units of measure. So, if you heat your home with logs, knowing how much money can go for a woodpile is a must. Also, you should know what to ask for and how to compare prices when buying firewood. 

Typically, firewood is sold and purchased by volume. And the most commonly used term is a cord. A cord of wood is a stack of logs piled four feet high and eight feet long by four feet deep. Even if it has other parameters like four feet high, two feet deep, and sixteen feet long, it works out the same since it is measured by volume. However, most firewood logs are only 16 to 18 inches long since the majority of wood stove inserts and fireplaces have limited room on the firebox grate.

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 What Is the Size of a Cord of Wood?

Knowing the size of a cord of wood is mandatory not only for calculating the price. Knowing the measurements, you will be able to imagine whether those logs will fit in your stove or not. In the United States, a full cord of wood size is 4’ x 8’ x 4’ (4 feet tall, 8 feet long, 4 feet deep), which equals 128 cubic feet.

For most homeowners who heat their homes with logs, a full cord is significantly too large to fit in the stove or fireplace. This is why logs are usually split to fit in their firebox. As a result, except for the standardized size, various other sizes are available to fit the needs of firewood consumers.

How Do Cords of Wood Define? The Face Cord vs Full Cord

When buying firewood, you may face two different terms. One term is a face cord, and another one is a full cord. The “face cord vs full cord” debate is a confusing thing, though! Like full cords, a face cord measures the same in length and height. However, the depth is what makes them different. The face measures out to 4’ x 8’ x 16” (16 inches).

It is one-third of the full cord’s depth, which means it is a third of the logs. Sometimes certain firewood sellers will use face and full interchangeably. Meaning the face cord has the same wood volume as a full.  

This might be rather confusing, especially if you have never got that deep into the specifics of firewood terms. This is why we recommend you count the logs when buying firewood for your home. This way, you will ensure you are getting the total amount you paid for. 

As we have mentioned earlier, the length of the logs also occasionally varies from 16 to 18 inches. Again, it is dependent on the firewood seller. There is also another term similar to a face cord, which is a half cord. It has measurements of 4’ x 8’ x 24” (4 feet tall, 8 feet long, 24 inches wide-deep).

How to Store Cordwood Correctly

It’s not enough to buy firewood and bring it home! To make full use of it and make it last longer, you should know how to store firewood correctly. No matter which storage method you choose, make sure you always follow the basic rules: 

  • Stack your split logs off the ground to get good air circulation
  • Use a pallet or rack to elevate the logs. This will allow airflow to keep the logs dry.
  • Keep your firewood covered.
  • The wood should be stored somewhere fairly close to an exit door for easier wood-carrying access.
  • If it is for indoor use, your firewood needs to be stored in a dry, breezy area to ensure it can age well.
  • Make sure your firewood is stacked properly and has protection over the top of it.

Follow these simple recommendations, and just in a few months, your cord of wood will be ready to enjoy!

However, you can’t just pile your firewood carelessly! This is why choosing a proper storage holder is needed. Here are a few ideas for storing firewood outdoors correctly:

  1. An outdoor firewood storage rack
  2. An outdoor firewood storage bench
  3. A window well firewood holder

Should you decide to keep your firewood indoors for easier access, you might want to consider the following storage options instead:

  1. A metal log holder
  2. A concrete log holder
  3. DIY rustic wood rack
  4. A copper storage rack for logs
  5. Wall-mounted wood rack

Also, it is essential to keep a few precautionary measures in mind if you want to store firewood indoors safely. 

  • Ensure the firewood is accurately seasoned before storing it inside.
  • Keep it away from walls, off the ground, and in a moisture-free environment.
  • Watch out for any insects and pests hanging in or around the wood!

With these tips, you will help your firewood last longer and stay safe (especially if you keep it indoors). Besides, these simple storage tips will help you make the wood burn better and release more heat!

How to Season Firewood Correctly

Unless you live deep in the woods and cut firewood yourself, you would purchase wood from a store or a wood supplier to heat your home. However, buying firewood there doesn’t guarantee the wood is prepared or ready to burn. 

It often happens that stores sell unseasoned wood. But burning unseasoned logs can result in harmful aftermath! It’s not only about an inefficient fire, it is also about the increase in the likelihood of creosote build-up! 

This is why proper wood seasoning is a must. Well-seasoned wood logs have certain benefits. One of them is that such logs are easier to burn. Also, seasoned logs and more long-lasting, unlike unseasoned ones. Also, seasoned firewood produces less creosote build-up and helps your wood burner systems operate at maximum efficiency with the lowest emissions.

Below, you can find a list of rules and recommendations that will help you season your firewood thoroughly and make it ready to burn:

  • Keep firewood outside. The best place for a woodpile is away from structures (e.g. the side of your house or garage).
  • Make sure your firewood is a minimum of five feet out from the outer walls of your home. This way, you will ensure termites or other pests won’t get from the pile of logs into your home!
  • Keep your wood pile near windbreaks to maximize exposure to airflow and sunlight.
  • Avoid keeping your firewood in a damp, shady area of the yard since it will make the wood dry longer.
  • Don’t stack the logs very high. Wood should be stacked in single rows, alternating directions.
  • Use irregularities and odd-shaped logs to create cross-stack channels for open-air drying.
  • Always stack your split logs bark side up to keep rain and moisture out of the woodpile.

These simple rules will ensure your logs are kept dry, aired, and pests-free. As a result, you will get adequately seasoned firewood that will burn better and be safer to use indoors.

Why Is It Important to Stack Wood and Do It Correctly?

It might seem pointless to place the logs in a specific way or locate them in a specific place to store them. However, adequate storage has several benefits. Storing prepared logs properly is much better than piling them randomly, and below, you can read about ten benefits of the right ways to store your firewood:

  • Stack your wood correctly to ensure proper seasoning.
  • Correctly stored logs get more sunlight and wind for natural drying.
  • Correct storage means logs have faster drying time.
  • Proper storage reduces the chances of wood rot or mold.
  • Helps to keep pests out of your firewood and home.
  • Easily accessible, pre-seasoned logs are sized right and ready to burn.
  • Well-seasoned wood burns cleaner and leaves less smoke.
  • Properly seasoned and stacked wood reduces creosote build-up.
  • Proper storage allows you to keep a larger supply of burnable lumber on hand.
  • Proper storage makes your woodpile more resistant to rodents and other pests.

This is why we recommend you learn not only how to season but also how to stack firewood correctly! It will help you season it for later burning in a fireplace, wood stove, or even outdoor firepits. And besides, keeping properly seasoned wood indoors will be much safer than storing unseasoned logs.

Now you know more about the term cordwood. You learned what it means and where it comes from. Also, you have learned what measurements a cord of firewood should have to fit in a standardized stove or fireplace. 

In addition, we explained how to prepare and store firewood correctly if you keep them outdoors or indoors. Also, now you know why you should not skip seasoning your logs. With the seasoning tips and storage rules you know, you can buy logs that will not only fit in your stove or fireplace but also burn well and safely.

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