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Fire Wood - the Cord

The cord is the most common unit for purchasing fuel wood

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The chord is the most commonly used measurement unit for purchasing fuel wood.

A cord is a stacked unit volume of wood where

1 cord = (4 ft) (4 ft) (8 ft)

    = 128 cubic feet 

or in metric units

1 cord = (1.22 m) (1.22 m) (2.44 m)

    = 3.62 m3

This volume includes bark and air space. Due to the irregular shape of wood the air space in the cord can be as high as 40 percent. The net cord volume can therefore be as low as 75 cubic feet. In general net cord volume ranges 80 - 100 cubic feet.

How to Calculate the Cords

To calculate the number of cords in a pile of fire wood - measure the length (l), the width (w) and the height (h) of the pile. Calculate the volume of the pile and divide the volume with 128 if your unit is feet - or with 3.62 if your unit is m.

Example - Calculate the number of Cords

A pile with fire wood is 12 ft long, 2.5 ft wide and 6 ft high. The number of cords in the pile can be calculated as

(12 ft) (2.5 ft) (6 ft) / 128

     = 1.4 cord     

A pile with fire wood is 6 m long, 1.2 m wide and 1.5 m high. The number of cords in the pile can be calculated as

(6 m) (1.2 m) (1.5 m) / 3.62

     = 3 cord    

Typical Firewood

  • Ash, white - Hardwood - Good firewood
  • Beech - Hardwood - Good firewood
  • Birch, yellow - Hardwood - Good firewood
  • Chestnut - Hardwood - Excessive sparking, can be dangerous
  • Cottonwood - Hardwood - Good firewood
  • Elm, white - Hardwood - Difficult to split, burns well
  • Hickory - Hardwood - Slow steady fire, best firewood
  • Maple, sugar - Hardwood - Good firewood
  • Oak, red - Hardwood - Slow steady fire
  • Oak, white - Hardwood - Slow steady fire
  • Pine, yellow - Softwood - Quick hot fire, smokier than hardwood
  • Pine, white - Softwood - Quick hot fire, smokier than hardwood
  • Walnut, black - Hardwood - Good firewood
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