How Many Pieces of Wood are in a Cord?


If you’re planning on purchasing or preparing some firewood, the thought might have crossed your mind “how many pieces of wood are in a cord”?

Purchasing or preparing firewood is an important consideration for anyone with a fireplace, wood-burning stove or oven, firepit, or for anyone using wood for cooking. It’s particularly crucial if you plan to heat your home with firewood over the winter.

As you may know, firewood is typically sold in cords, which is a measure of volume rather than weight or quantity. That means there will always be some variation in the number of wood pieces in each cord, so an exact answer isn’t really possible, but we can get a pretty good estimation.

If you’re looking for the short answer, there are approximately 700 pieces of wood in a cord. The exact number of pieces will vary somewhat depending on how the wood is split, the level of moisture in the wood, and the particular wood species.

Let’s take a look at this topic in more detail, so you’ll have a good grasp of how firewood is sold.

How Many Pieces of Firewood are in a Cord?

A cord is a standard measurement for firewood, typically measuring 128 cubic feet. The 128 ft3 figure comes from a stack measuring 4 feet high, 8 feet long, and 4 feet deep.

This measurement is sometimes referred to as a full cord, which is three times the size of a face cord or rick cord. A face cord is the other commonly used firewood measurement and consists of a stack measuring 4 feet high, 8 feet long, and 16 inches deep. This totals 42.6 ft3 – exactly one-third the volume of a full cord.

Now you know the volume and dimensions of a cord, but how do you determine the number of wood pieces in a cord?

stack of firewood

Well, this really depends on a number of different factors. As you can imagine, the number of pieces in a cord will vary depending on the tree’s thickness when felled, how it’s split, and even how tightly it’s stacked.

With this in mind, an approximate figure for the number of wood pieces in a full cord is between 600 and 800 or 200 to 266 for a face cord.  This figure can be as high as 1200 or as low as 500 for a full cord.

Factors Influencing Number of Pieces

Splitting

An important factor influencing the number of wood pieces per cord is how the wood is split. As you might suspect, unsplit wood takes up more space than split wood, similar to how assembled furniture takes up more space than flat-pack furniture.

stack of firewood
How firewood is split can have a major impact on the final number of wood pieces.

The smaller the wood is split up, the more pieces you’ll end up with. This can be helpful if you have a small wood or oven, as you won’t need to split the pieces up further.

Moisture Content

The level of moisture content in the wood can be an important factor in how well it burns. Unseasoned wood is commonly called green wood and contains a high level of moisture when compared with properly dried wood.

This type of wood is also notoriously difficult to burn in a fire, as the moisture trapped in the wood needs to evaporate before it can burn cleanly. This leads to a lot of hissing, smoking, and sizzling, instead of a smooth, clean-burning fire. Burning green wood in an indoor fireplace is also hazardous, as it can cause creosote buildup in your chimney, which can lead to a chimney fire.

When it comes to the number of wood pieces in a cord, green wood will be larger than properly seasoned wood. So, you’ll end up with fewer pieces in a cord of green wood.

Some firewood vendors will sell green wood at a discount, which can be a good deal if you’re willing to dry and season the wood yourself.

Stacking Method

How the wood is stacked will also have an impact on the number of pieces per cord. Loosely or haphazardly stacked wood will inevitably have more “air pockets” than neatly stacked wood – which results in fewer pieces of wood.

Some firewood vendors will cut corners and sell a “cord” of loosely piled wood, which means you may be getting less wood than a true cord. Always insist on a uniformly stacked pile when purchasing a cord – that way you can verify you’re getting what you pay for.

Storing Firewood

When purchasing firewood, it’s important to consider where you plan to store it. You’ll need somewhere outdoors that’s covered and protected from moisture, while still allowing enough airflow for the wood to remain dry.

You might be tempted to store your firewood indoors, but unless you want uninvited houseguests in the form of wood-boring beetles, carpenter ants, and termites, it’s best to leave it outdoors.

There are a number of good outdoor storage options including wood sheds, firewood racks, or even a simple stack covered with a tarp. Building your own DIY firewood storage rack is another good option if you want a simple way to organize your wood.

Your available storage space is a key factor when determining how much firewood you should purchase. If you’re a little tight on available space, then you may want to consider purchasing a face cord or half cord rather than a full cord.


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