Firewood Measurements | A Guide

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If you’re using firewood to light your backyard fire pit, indoor fireplace, or are heating a space with a wood boiler or wood stove, this guide can help familiarize you with firewood measurements. 

firewood measurements cord of wood stacked pictured from the front

Firewood is one of those things that’s measured in, let’s be honest, pretty strange measurements. Cord, rick, face… These are all words we use to describe different ways you can buy firewood. 

If you’re new to this it can be a bit overwhelming! 

I live rurally and we use a lot of wood heat; this firewood measurements guide can help you learn the lingo so you get what you want and you don’t get ripped off overpaying.

Firewood Guide: Types of Firewood Measurements

Before we get started there’s one thing you need to remember: Firewood is measured in size of the stacked pile (usually cubic feet). 

What is a Rick of Wood? 

A rick of wood is a way of measuring firewood using only the front of the stack, rather than the entire thing. Ricks are measured based on the height and width of the pile, but the depth is always the length of the firewood pieces and varies.

What is a Face Cord?

A face cord is the same thing as a rick of wood. They go by two different names, rick and face cord. It’s called a face cord because we take the measurement just from the front of the stack, or the “face”. 

How Big is a Rick of Wood?

A rick of wood is smaller than a full cord. It’s a stack of wood that’s 8 foot wide, 4 feet tall, and roughly 16 to 18 inches deep. This is just an estimation, since a rick of wood is as deep as the logs are long. 

Firewood is typically cut in 16 to 18 inch lengths, hence where we get this typical measurement.

How Much Does a Rick of Wood Weigh?

This is going to vary a lot depending on the type of firewood that you’re buying. Lighter woods will weigh around 600lbs (give or take) and heavy woods can push up to 3000lbs. 

It will also change depending on how seasoned your firewood is, since wood with less moisture is lighter than unseasoned or semi-seasoned firewood.

What is a Cord of Wood?

Now that we’ve covered ricks, or face cords, we should really talk about what a cord actually is. It’s such a strange unit of measurement, which, as is with all odd measurements, rooted in history. 

Back in the olden days they used to warp a cord of wood in, well, a cord. The name probably came from using that string to measure how much firewood should be wrapped at a time.

How Much in a Cord of Wood?

A cord of wood is measured as 8 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 4 feet deep. This is considered a “full cord”.

What is a Half Cord?

Just like it sounds, a half cord is half the size of a full cord. It’s 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 4 feet deep. So really, you just cut the width in half to get the size of a half cord.

What is a Quarter Cord?

A quarter cord is two feet high, four feet wide, and still four feet deep. 

What is a Quarter Face?

This is less wood than a quarter cord, and great if you’re just getting some firewood for a backyard fire pit or camping. The wood is stacked four feet wide and two feet high, just like a quarter cord.

The only difference is that the quarter face (or quarter rick) is only 16-18” deep.

What is an Eighth of a Cord

An eighth of a cord is 16 cubic feet of firewood. Since it’s smaller, an eighth of a cord can be stacked in a variety of ways and is sometimes sold in ready-to-go large bags. 

How Much Firewood in a Bundle

A bundle of firewood, like those small bags you see at retailers, ranges between 0.75 and 2 cubic feet. They’re basically enough for a backyard fire or two. Sometimes you might even need multiple bundles to keep your fire going.

These are usually the least economical way to buy firewood, but practical if you have nowhere to store it.

How to Measure Firewood When You’re Buying

The way the firewood is stacked matters! Different stacking techniques affect how much wood is packed together. That means that a cord of firewood can have different amounts of wood in it depending on how the wood is sold.

A cord of firewood is 128 cubic feet. If firewood is measured loosely (usually by machine) it will take up more space than a professionally stacked cord, meaning you’ll be getting less of a cord.

Always ask the firewood seller how they measure a cord of wood before buying.

How Much Firewood Do You Need?

This will depend on what you’re doing with the wood, what kind of storage you have available, and the type of wood you buy. 

If you’re planning to heat your home all winter long with a wood stove or wood boiler, you’ll probably need three cords or more of wood. For a backyard bonfire, though, a quarter cord, quarter face, or even eighth of a cord might do the trick.

Assuming you have the space, it’s usually cheaper to get a larger load of firewood, especially if you’re being charged for delivery. Even if you’re just using the wood for a bonfire, it’s easy to go through a half cord or even a full cord if you use your firepit a lot.

The type of wood matters too. Soft wood burns quicker and cooler than hardwoods. 

Top Takeaways from This Firewood Measurements Guide

  • A cord of firewood is always 128 cubic feet of wood, and can be divided into ½, ¼, and ⅛ sizes
  • A face cord, also known as a rick of wood, is smaller than a cord and measures 4 ft x 8 ft on the front, going only as deep as the wood is cut
  • Always ask your firewood seller how they measure their firewood to make sure you’re getting the right amount
  • Softwood and hardwood burns differently, so keep that in mind when calculating how much firewood you need

Firewood shopping can be overwhelming at first, especially with so many options. Hopefully this firewood measurements guide has helped! 

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