There are many definitions for a cord of firewood, but in reality there is only one official size. That is 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet (4x4x8). This equals 128 cubic feet and you can use this number to calculate exactly how much wood you are buying or stacking. Sometimes people talk about a face cord, which is a row of split wood 4 feet high by 8 feet long. Find out more…
For the homeowner who is serious about wood heat, you need to think in terms of a full cord of firewood. You might find people selling a pickup load and that works great, just try to figure out just how much wood there actually is. Numbers are numbers and they usually don’t lie.
Usually you can negotiate a bargain if you buy several firewood cords at once because you save on the trucking. Somebody with a good size dump truck can deliver a lot of wood in one load and save everybody time and money.
Seasoned firewood or green wood?
The price of a firewood cord also depends on the type of wood, as well as how dry it is. You will pay top dollar for a cord of seasoned hickory or oak, for example. The same wood that is green, or unseasoned, will cost a lot less. You new or used cast iron wood stove or fireplace insert will perform much better with dry hardwood for fuel.
Depending on where you live, never even consider buying a cord of soft firewood, such as pine. Some areas do not have much hardwood, so the cost of hardwood is very high, and might even be uneconomical for heating with wood. No matter how many wood stove accessories you have, and how good of a gas chain saw you use, if you do not have good wood, you won’t be warm!
Pine and other soft woods burn very quickly, give off a lot of heat and make a lot of ashes. This works well if you only want to take the chill off or need some kindling, but it does not work well for a cold, harsh winter. They actually contain more btu’s, but that doesn’t mean much when they burn up so quickly.
Stack your firewood cord and cover it
Once you cut or buy your firewood cord, you need to stack and cover it so it can dry out, or season. If you just leave in on the ground, it will attract insects, begin to rot, grow fungus and soak up moisture. It is essential to get it off the ground and away from rain.
You can cover the wood with a tarp, boards, corrugated roofing or whatever you have that works. A better way is to build a firewood shed and keep it all nicely stacked and dry. This also improves the appearance of your property and is easier in the winter to manage. There are many firewood racks available as well, but most are not very big.
Stacking is important as well. If you just heap it up in a pile, the wood will not dry out nearly as fast as if you stack in in rows. This is because wood dries out from the end of the piece Think of all the little capillaries like little straws that are cut off at the end of the wood. They release the moisture from the inside of the wood into the atmosphere.
Make sure you criss-cross the wood at the ends of the stack in order made the firewood cord more stable. The wind and snow can topple over your stack, and removing the wood is easier as well. It is no fun to make all the effort to stack the wood and watch if fall over in the winter!
Wood stove accessories
There are numerous wood stove accessories you will need as well. A good gas chainsaw, chainsaw chains, a firewood shed, and the knowledge for sharpening a chainsaw are some of the other things you will certainly need.