What Is a “Cord” Of Wood?


Well, the jury is still out on the venerable measure for split firewood. One cord is equal to 128 cubic feet. That’s a lot. However, the Canadian government department of measurements, has recommended ending the use of terms such as “face cord”, “apartment cord”, “stove cord”, “camp cord” etc.. The confusion regarding this particular measure has led to some sour cords.

The mighty “Cord of Wood” has become the standard measure for purchasing firewood today, but the term itself may stem from the good ol’ clear cutting days of the big timber boom way back when, or perhaps even earlier. Some research suggests that the term comes from the 1600’s and the use of an actual cord, or length of rope, used to bind or measure a manageable amount of wood, split or otherwise. Whatever the case may be, split firewood is still a reliable source of heat for a sizable portion of the world population.

Purchasing a Cord of Firewood for Heating can prove to be a challenge. Depending on many factors, the price of firewood varies wildly. However, more often than not, you will get some pretty good stuff. If you’re actually purchasing firewood for heating your home, one cord will not be sufficient in most cases. Getting a sufficient load of quality hardwood for heating will most likely be the most cost efficient option. In general, the lager operations offer better quality and reliability. Delivery is also a benefit of the professional firewood supplier.

Doing as much research as possible, before purchasing, will often result in determining the best option for yourself. This, of course, is pretty much true of everything, however, the firewood industry is unique and competitive. This means that the better suppliers rise to the top of the heap. Again, this is pretty much a law of nature. So, seek out as much info as possible. Also, word of mouth tends to spread with most firewood operations. That firewood dates back to the very dawn of man means that the industry has come a long way indeed.

There are myriad opinions on seasoned vs. green firewood. This has been a raging debate for ages. This may only be a preferential detail. I have personally never met a piece of wood that wouldn’t burn. Also, I relish the sizzle and snap coming from a classic fireplace. There may be chimney issues with green vs. seasoned, but again, proper maintenance should be a best practice for every fireplace. Good cleaning will keep a chimney safer.

Hardwood vs. softwood is merely a price difference. Hardwood burns longer so cost more, but again, all wood burns. With an industry rooted in fierce competition, good stuff will always be available and competitively priced. Repeat customers are the goal of every company, particularly the firewood providers.

Whatever species you choose will be the best for you. If you’ve been heating with wood for years, you already know all of this. If you’re just starting out, don’t fret, heating with wood is a simple matter.