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How Much Firewood Is In A Cord + How To Store It

Whether you're lighting up a fire pit or building a bonfire, you will definitely need firewood.

How Much Firewood Is In A Cord + How To Store It

Buying firewood is essential, but buying the correct amount is key.

For most people, learning about firewood measurements can be challenging. After all, the firewood business includes seemingly-nonsensical jargon like a "face cord" or a "rick of wood."

In this guide, we walk you through everything you need to know about how much firewood is in a cord and additional tips on how to store them.

How Much Wood Is A Full Cord?

How Much Wood Is a Full Cord?
© Homesthetics - Monica Hewitt

In a nutshell, a cord of wood is a unit measurement of firewood. It's calculated by volume, multiplying the length by width by depth.

In the U.S. and Canada, a full cord of wood is 128 cubic feet with 600 to 800 logs.

The standard length of an individual log is 16 inches. That's a 4 feet deep, 4 feet tall, and 8 feet long stack of wood.


A full cord may also be called a bush cord.

Most residential users can get by without using a full cord of firewood. A full cord can last a few months, even for commercial customers.

As such, firewood companies offer smaller sizes. Measuring cords can vary by State, so vendors may have different measurements.

Ask your vendor for specific measurements in cubic feet to know more.

What Is a Half Cord?

A half cord or a one-third cord of wood tends to be made from shorter lengths of firewood.

Half-cord and one-third-cord logs measure 32 to 48 inches compared to full cords, which are much longer.

These consist of three rows of logs in 4-foot-long, 4-foot-high, and 4-foot-deep piles.

On the other hand, a one-third cord can be two rows in a pile that is 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 32 inches deep.

What Are the Other Types of Cords?

Although a full cord of wood is usually 8 feet long by 4 feet wide by 4 feet high, there are other measurements of firewood.

Take note of the following terms to stay informed when buying cords of wood:

Sheldon Cord

Generally, a Sheldon cord refers to any set of firewood that measures MORE than 128 cubic feet or a full cord.

A Sheldon cord does not have an official measurement and can vary between vendors.

It can be tricky to find vendors selling firewood in this quantity, so buying a larger amount of smaller bundles is best.

Face Cords or Rick Cord

If a full cord consists of three stacks 4 feet high and 8 feet long, a face cord consists of only one stack of wood.

It measures 4 feet in height and 8 feet in length with 16-inch long logs.

If the logs are only 12 inches long, then it means it has less wood than the standard face cord. Ensure that the price is equivalent to the amount you're getting.

It's also known as a rick of wood. A rick refers to the way materials are stacked, like hay.

Running Cord

You might hear this term used by some people.

A running cord simply means a full cord of firewood that is NOT divided into three stacks. All logs are stacked parallel to each other.

Stove Cord

People may use the term "stove cord" when buying firewood for stoves.

Firewood cut 12 inches long is ideal to use in stoves. It measures roughly the same as a full cord but only 12 inches deep.

The exact measurements of a stove cord can vary between sellers. The bottom line is that this cord of wood is small enough to fit in a stove.

Truckload of Wood

It literally means a pile of firewood that fits in a pickup truck. The amount of firewood varies depending on the size of the truck.

Ask your vendor for the exact measurements in cubic feet for more accuracy.

Will Fresh Wood Do?

You might benefit from using fresh wood, especially if you want to buy it in bulk.

Since many vendors sell fresh wood as a cheaper alternative, it can work if you're in a pinch.

You can season fresh wood by simply storing wood cords in a dry place. You'll have enough supply for a full winter when they're all seasoned and dry.

How to Measure Firewood

Knowing how wood is measured is vital because vendors typically sell wood by the cord.

To measure firewood, all logs must run parallel to each other and should be stacked tightly. A wood stack that runs parallel is also called a running cord.

After stacking the wood, calculate the total volume.

A full cord is generally considered to be 128 cubic feet of firewood in the U.S. and Canada. However, it can still differ between States and regions.

Firewood Measurements

Not all wood gets chopped in the same sizes, so you can expect variations in measurements.

The standard length is 16 inches. A full cord is 4 feet deep with three stacks of 16-inch logs.

Sellers may stack 12-inch logs in four rows instead of three. Others sell firewood as long as 24 inches in two rows.

Getting the right size is CRUCIAL, so check with your vendor to see how they chop their wood to get an accurate measurement.

Stack the Wood Yourself

When stacking, watch out for sellers who might stack the firewood loosely. There are also vendors that won't allow you to stack the wood yourself.

If you suspect some questionable business practices, it's best to steer clear of these sellers and do more research into more upstanding sellers.

It's common for customers to stack wood themselves, so any reputable vendor should allow for self-stacking.

How Much Firewood Do You Need?
© Homesthetics - Monica Hewitt

How Much Firewood Do You Need?

Now that we've gone through the numbers, how much firewood do you really need?

Below are some recommendations on how much wood you need depending on the situation:

For Winter

How much firewood you need in the winter depends on several factors, such as geographical location, heating space, and insulation.

A cord of wood can last up to 3 months, so 1 to 2 cords of firewood should be enough to burn through the cold months.

However, the extended winters of colder states may require more. Around 3 to 4 cords are needed for extra warmth.

Make sure to stock up on firewood during late summer or early fall to get a head start and avoid the rush when prices go up.

For Your Fireplace

The amount of firewood you'll need depends on how often you use your fireplace. A fireplace can burn 2 to 3 logs at a time.

If you only use it once a week, a face cord should be enough to last for a few months.

In contrast, if you use it often to heat your house, a full cord is necessary to keep your home warm.

Camping and Bonfires

If you're planning on a weekend trip out in the great outdoors, you need to consider how long you want the fire going.

A good rule of thumb is to get firewood bundles. A bundle usually consists of 5 to 7 logs.

A couple of bundles is enough to sustain a 2-hour campfire. Try to pack at least five bundles for fires lasting more than 6 hours.

Adjust the amount as you see fit, like if you're going to make multiple campfires or use it to roast.

How to Store Cords

Once you've gotten your cord, the next step is to store your logs.

Whether you buy a face cord or a full cord, the storage methods remain the same. The difference lies in whether your firewood is unseasoned or seasoned.

Unseasoned Wood

Unseasoned firewood is still green and wet, which means it doesn't burn as efficiently, is more challenging to light, and produces more smoke.

You must first split them into manageable pieces that you can easily stack and carry. Look for a place with good air circulation to let it air dry.

The drying process can take anywhere between 6 and 9 months, depending on how you stack the pieces.

You can use bricks or pallets to elevate the stack above the ground. Stack the pieces in a row and ensure enough space for airflow.

This arrangement can help keep out moisture. Too much moisture makes it difficult to start a fire. It also invites rot and mold.

Do NOT store wet firewood indoors, as it can bring pests, mold, and excess humidity into your home.

Seasoned Wood

Unlike green or unseasoned firewood, this type is already split and dried, so it's ready to use.

That being said, seasoned firewood should still be stored properly.

Because dry wood burns the best, keep your driest piece at the top of the stack for better accessibility.

To maximize your supply, use the older pieces first to prevent rot and decay.

Lastly, make sure to protect the stack from the elements by covering it when you store it.

How to Store Firewood FAQs

  • Below are commonly asked questions about firewood:

  • How Long Will One Cord of Wood Last?

    A full cord can last up to 3 months or more for most residential users. On the other hand, a face cord may only last up to 2 months.

  • How Much Firewood is 3 Cords?

    A full cord contains roughly 600 to 800 logs per order. If the median is 700, you can expect around 2,100 pieces with three full cords.

  • What are the Best Types of Firewood?

    Hardwoods like oak, maple, and birch are the best type of firewood because of their density. They have more heat energy per volume, burning hotter for longer.

    They also contain less moisture content and sap.

  • How to Store Firewood Conclusion
    © Homesthetics - Monica Hewitt


    Knowing the common terminology when it comes to firewood is essential to ensure you're getting your money's worth of wood.

    A full cord is a standard measurement of firewood that everyone should know.

    Whether you're buying a face cord or a truckload of logs, you can find the right amount that works for you.

    If wooden logs are too much of a hassle, you might be interested in tabletop and floor-standing patio heaters that work with pellets instead.