When shopping for firewood, you will likely come across terms like “full cord,” “face cord,” “bush cord,” and “half cord”, to mention a few. So, what do these measurements mean?

How much wood are you getting when you purchase a cord? Let’s take a closer look at the term “face cord” and break down how many face cords are in a cord of firewood.

how many face cords in a cord of firewood

How many face cords in a cord of firewood?

In the United States and Canada, a full cord of firewood is defined as 4 feet wide, 4 feet high, and 8 feet long, with a volume of 128 cubic feet. This implies that a full cord will be made up of three 8-foot rows of logs stacked tightly together from standard 16″ logs.

After reading this article you will know how many face cords in a chord of firewood, plus you will understand everything you need to know to make an informed buying decision so you don’t get taken to the woodshed by shady resellers.

Here’s what you will quickly discover:

  • What to watch out for when buying firewood by the cord, or full firewood cords
  • Understanding the types of firewood wood and why this is important
  • Understanding the difference between seasoned firewood, and green firewood and why the moisture content affects the heat.
  • How to stack firewood for storage and rote prevention?
  • Is burning firewood bad for the environment?

Let’s get into it!

Other Firewood Terms & Measurements

A face cord or rick cord is a term for a stack of firewood wood that is four feet tall by eight feet long and about 16 inches wide (or the length of the firewood pieces). A full firewood cord, therefore, is larger than a face or rick cord.

A Sheldon firewood cord is another name for a wood stack measurement that varies in size depending on the length of the firewood and is generally larger than a full chord.

Because the name and measurement might vary based on location and seller, it’s important to double-check the size of the pile you’re buying with the seller. This will allow you to compare different firewood sellers and get the best bargain.

Firewood resellers may stack their firewood for sale in ways that make if difficult to measure each cord, or face cord. Bring your own measuring tape along with you when shopping and comparing to demonstrate you’re an experienced buyer.

Seasoned Vs Unseasoned Wood – Firewood Measurements

Seasoned firewood can have a moisture content of 50% or more. Whereas seasoned firewood is closer to 20%. The difference is moisture levels do have a slight impact on the overall size of the cords, resulting in about –6 to -8% less overall volume.

Other considerations for firewood measurements being variable include:

  • How tightly the wood is packed together
  •  The wood pieces are tapered and bent. 
  •  How many knots are there on the wood?
  •  Bark or no bark

Worth noting: Seasoned firewood burns hotter, lights easier, and creates less creosote. As such, it can cost more than green or wet firewood.  

Firewood FAQs

What are the best types of firewood to burn?

Broadly speaking, there are softer woods such as pine and fir, and hardwoods such as maple and oak.

Hardwoods burn longer and more efficiently due to their density, therefore saving you money. Some people like to mix things up and use a combination of softwood and hardwood.

The softwood helps to quickly get the fire going. Then the hardwoods are used to sustain the fire for a longer period.

How many pieces of wood are in a face cord?

The actual number of pieces of wood in a face cord will vary considerably depending on the tree’s thickness when cut, how it’s divided, and even how tightly it’s stacked.

With this in mind, a full cord of firewood contains 600 to 800 wood fragments or 200 to 260 for a face cord.

What is a full cord vs a face cord?

A full cord of firewood is made up of three 8-foot rows of logs stacked tightly together from standard 16″ logs, for a total overall measurement of 4′ high x4′ wide x8′ long.

Full Cord = 4′ x 4′ x 8′

this picture shows what a full cord of firewood looks like when it's delivered and dumped onto the ground before stacking.
This is what a full cord of wood looks like when it’s dumped.

What does the term face cord mean?

A face cord of wood means 1/3rd of a full cord or roughly 8’x4’x16″ when stacked. A full cord of firewood is generally considered to be 8’x4’x4′, so 1/3 of that would be 8’x4’x16″.

What does 1/2 cord of firewood look like?

Buying a 1/2 cord is not as common nowadays. It measures 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 4 feet deep. A full cord of firewood measures 8 feet wide by 4 feet high by 4 feet deep, so 50% of a full cord.

Is a face cord 1/3rd of a full cord?

Yes. Generally speaking, a 1/3rd (face cord) of wood means measures roughly 8’x4’x16″ when stacked. Although the usual length of wood is 16 inches, there are no precise measurements required.

Will a face cord of wood fit in a pickup?

A typical face cord of wood is 4 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 16 inches deep. This means that it will fit easily in the back of a standard pickup truck.

However, if you’re planning on carrying other items in the truck bed with the wood, you may need to adjust the amount of space reserved for the wood accordingly.

For example, if you have a full-size pickup truck with an 8-foot bed, you may be able to fit two face cords of wood side-by-side.

Keep in mind, It’s very difficult to know the exact amount of wood you are buying if it’s sitting in the bed of a pickup truck. Purchase first – then load.

How long does a face cord of wood last?

A face cord of wood typically lasts for around four to six weeks. However, this can vary depending on several factors, such as how often you use your fireplace, the size of your fireplace, the type of wood you’re using, and how well the fire is ventilated.

If you’re using your fireplace regularly, you may need to replenish your face cord sooner than four weeks. Conversely, if you’re not using it as often or have a smaller fireplace, your face cord may last closer to six weeks.

Ultimately, it’s important to keep an eye on your wood supply and top off as needed so you never run out.

When is the best time to buy firewood?

It’s always best to plan your wood needs at least 6 to 8 months ahead of when you need to begin heating your home.

Late in the year, firewood dealers may charge a greater rate for seasoned firewood.

They understand that seasoned firewood is a precious commodity as the winter season comes to an end, or when many individuals are running out of dry firewood.

How wide is a face cord?

Answer: A face cord of wood is traditionally defined as a stack of wood that is 8 feet long, 4 feet high, and split into 16″ lengths. Although the usual length of wood is 16 inches, there are no precise measurements required.

However, in some parts of the country (particularly the Northeast), a face cord of wood may be defined as a stack of wood that is 12 inches deep, 8 feet long, and 4 feet high.

The most accurate way to measure the width of a face cord of wood is to use a tape measure to measure the length and width of the stack.

What is a rick cord?

A rick cord is a stack of wood that is usually four feet high by eight feet long and roughly 16 inches wide. This measurement may vary depending on the size of the firewood pieces. So, generally speaking, a rick cord is the same as a face cord.

What Is A Bush Cord Of Firewood?

Another term for a full cord of firewood is a bush cord, which signifies a volume of 128 cubic feet with dimensions of 4ft high, 8ft wide, and 4ft deep.

Is Wood Burning bad for the Environment?

Wood is a renewable energy resource. And because trees recycle carbon dioxide, wood burning doesn’t contribute to the problem of climate change. As well, thanks to the advanced combustion technologies in today’s wood-burning stoves, there is mean more heat and less smoke from the wood you burn.

Wood differs from fossil fuels such as oil and gas because it is carbon neutral.

The term “renewable” refers to the fact that trees recycle CO2. As a tree grows, it uses CO2 from the air as a source of carbon to build its structure. This carbon makes up about half of the weight of wood.

When wood is burned, it decomposes rapidly, and CO2 is released into the atmosphere again. A similar amount of CO2 would be slowly released if the tree died and was left to rot on the forest floor.

As a result, wood heating doesn’t contribute to the problem of climate change the way fossil fuel use does. But wood fuel is truly renewable only if it is produced by using sustainable forestry practices.

What is the best way to store firewood?

If you’ve bought firewood that’s already been cut and dried, all you have to do is stack it in a convenient location. If your firewood is green or wet but hasn’t been split, you may want to consider renting or purchasing a log splitter.

I like to split my logs into easy-to-manage sizes that make carrying the wood and loading it into the fireplace all that much easier. Something to consider….

Once your wood is ready to stack, you want to ensure the wood can dry efficiently.

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova

Stack the wood off the ground, ideally in a woodshed with open slats for ventilation, or at the very least on logs, bricks, or pallets. From there, the most practical method is to stack the wood in a row with vertical supports at each end.

If you are stacking multiple rows of wood, leave some space between each of the rows for air circulation.

Your Firewood Trivia Question Of The Day

Why is a large, controlled fire called a “bonfire”?

On June 24, or St. John’s Day, early Britons lit chains of huge fires to support the diminishing sun. These fires were fed with the clean bones of dead farm animals and were called “bone fires,” which evolved into bonfires.

Source: Now You Know, The Book of Answers, by Doug Lennox

Our favorite way to carry firewood indoors

So, now that you’ve successfully seasoned your firewood, it’s time to bring a load of dry wood indoors for the fireplace! The LogOX Sling won 1st place with our product review team here at Today’s Cottage Living.

LogOX Sling

If you click the Learn More button below the product image and watch the short video demonstration of the LogOX in action, you’ll quickly understand why this is our favorite way to carry firewood.

They call it ‘The World’s Most Ergonomic Firewood, Kindling, and Log Carrier‘ and we agree. This Made in USA (Patented) log carrier, features a unique cross-body strap design that balances the weight across your upper body like a messenger bag, causing far less strain on your back, arm, and shoulder, while also facilitating easier loading, unloading, and movement. 

We also love the way your arm hooks into the canvas carrier, allowing you to freely open the carrier with one arm, and load with your free arm. And they even thought of including a flashlight for those dark visits out to the wood pile. Very clever.

Related Article: If you’re trying to decide on the ideal type of fireplace or wood stove, we have a comprehensive guide. Click here

Summary

So, there you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know about face cords of wood and more! We hope this post has been informative and helpful.

The next time you’re in the market for firewood, you’ll know what to look for and understand who is offering you the best deal.

Now it’s time to grab a good book, curl up by the fire with your favorite blanket, and rest assured you’re ready for the season’s next cold spell.



Thank you for sharing your time with us at Today’s Cottage Living!

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Greg Jones

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