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What is a cord of firewood?

A Cord of Firewood Dimensions and Weight Explained

See what a cord of firewood looks like when stacked.Selling firewood in the State of Massachusetts is based on the measurement of wood called a cord. People often ask us or are thinking how big a cord of wood is. We have put together the video on this page to help show what a cord of wood looks like and explain it here. A full cord of wood has the following measurements of firewood; is densely-stacked, squared, and leveled firewood that fills an area that is stacked 8 feet wide, 4 feet high, and 4 feet deep. This results in 128 cubic feet of firewood. The dimensions and cubic feet of tightly stacked wood make up the definition. The depth dimension is typically made up of 3 rows of 16" long pieces. These 16" pieces of wood are stacked tightly end to end up against each other. This makes up the 4-foot deep dimension in the stack of wood and provides pieces of wood that fit the typical New England fireplace.

Along with how big a cord of wood is, you may want to know what a cord of wood actually weighs. That question is a little harder to answer since moisture content can be so variable. This is also the reason that firewood is not sold by weight. A cord of wood that consists of green wood firewood cut here in New England usually weighs about 4,800 pounds. Kiln-dried wood generally will be in the range of 3,600 pounds. The 1,200-pound difference is water that has been removed. Or, to convert that to gallons, you would have 143 gallons of water in your wood. That means if you picture about 15 five-gallon pails of water next to the pile, the amount of water in the wood must be burned off before the wood burns well. It is important to know if you are stacking wood on a deck or balcony, and it is a huge factor in how the wood burns.

In stacking, the dealer and the customer want to ensure that the wood is compact and has the fewest gaps possible. We sell kiln-dried firewood that is a mix of New England hardwoods that we know the mix of species dry at the same rate in the kiln for uniformly dry wood that lights and burns consistently well.

Why moisture content is important and how to not get scammed quality factors to look for Other quality factors to consider is what species of wood is makes up the cord of wood you are buying. We sell hardwoods. Hardwoods provide more heat energy per piece of wood and burn longer than softwood species.

The typical weight of a cord of our kiln-dried firewood is 3,600 pounds. "Seasoned" wood is more than 4,800 pounds per cord. The difference is the water content in the wood, which is more water that must be boiled off for the wetter wood to burn.

Weight is not a way to buy wood since that varies based on the species and moisture content of the wood. Low moisture content is one of the key measures of good wood, so if weight was the measure, firewood suppliers would be incentivized to sell the opposite of what you want. Firewood dealers would sell as wet wood as possible, and the customer would get fewer pieces.



And what amounts do we sell?

Delivered and stacked

Picked up our yard

Other terms related to the measure of firewood are:

The Problem is knowing what you are getting

Many terms are used to describe quantities of wood for sale. Some terms make buying firewood clear, others confuse, and be careful that the confusion is not intentional. It is good to know what each unit of measure is and why they are used. This way, you can make an intelligent buying decision. Not all transactions are what they seem. So be sure to compare apples to apples, not tangerines to grapefruits.

Firewood is customarily purchased using cubic volume as it is measured and sold. The industry-specific terms used to describe these units of measure combined with slang or nonconventional terms are what create confusion for people unfamiliar with what is being described to them. Customers should be able to confirm how to measure the amount of wood they got vs what they were promised. A pile of wood dumped in a driveway and the resulting pile looks large prior to stacking is anyone's guess as to the correct measure of firewood delivered to you. The pieces are all crisscrossed and fluffed up. Later, after the supplier is long down the road and the person who purchases has moved the wood to where they want it and has stacked the firewood squarely, you know how much firewood you got.

The kiln-dried firewood we sell is cut to 16" lengths. A full cord is piled in three rows of woodcut 16" long. The cord is 8 feet long and 4 feet high.

face-cord-of-kiln dried firewoodA Face Cord of Seasoned Wood

A Face Cord of Firewood

The dimensions of a face cord of wood are one row of wood from a full cord that would have three rows of wood.  The dimensions, when stacked in a single row, would be 16 inches deep by 4 feet high by 8 feet long.  This is based on the typical length that firewood is cut to here is the Boston area. Converting a face cord to cubic feet would make it 42.66 cubic feet. The derivation of the term probably comes from the concept it is the facing of the cord that you can see. The derivation of the term probably comes from the concept it is the facing of the cord that you can see. So our firewood is cut to 16" lengths

Three-Quarters of a Cord

Three-quarters of a cord consists of two face cords, so this would be two stacks of wood, each being 16 inches deep by 4 feet high and 8 feet long. So the total dimension of three-quarters of a cord  would be a cube of firewood that is 32" deep by 4 feet high and 8 feet long

Bundles of Kiln-Dried Firewood

Firewood in the hallway smallFirewood in Bundles. Click for a Larger View.For our handling purposes and easier delivery, our kiln-dried firewood is wrapped in plastic. Each bundle is 1.5 cubic feet plus.

Our firewood is all kiln-dried New England firewood. Being kiln-dried ensures that it is insect-free and no tree diseases will be spread or termites will invade your home from the wood. It also means our wood will start easily, so you can get a warm, romantic fire going easily.

A Cord of Kiln-Dried Firewood

Here at, we sell kiln-dried firewood in full or partial cords. We want you to know that our goal is to fit the quantity you need based on your burning habits and the space available to conveniently store the wood. As part of our concierge firewood service, we also stack the firewood for you.A big part of our service is offering the option for stacking the wood. There is a charge for the service. It is a higher level of service, and you can easily see and measure how much you received, not what the firewood supplier claims you got dumped in a pile outside. We want every customer to receive a fair measure of firewood or even get a little extra to ensure it is fair. An informed consumer is important so that our customer knows how to judge the amount of wood they get from us vs. some other firewood dealers.

We place the wood where you want it - in an alley, basement, or on the second floor - and are happy to do it. This is what we mean by being The Firewood Concierge. For more information, please call us at 781-254-2773.