Q/A: How Much Does a Cord of Wood Weigh? FineChainsaw

A cord of wood is a unit of measurement commonly used in the United States and Canada.

Despite a cord of wood measures volume instead of weight, it is common that many people wonder how much does a cord of wood weigh?

The main reasons for that conversion are mainly referred to calculate transportation and storage capacity or avoid scams.

Although a unit of cord tends to be more accurate than other options, the weight conversion may vary depending on the type of wood.

Therefore, it requires some previous research.

Here we will talk about the factors that usually affect the conversion from volume to weight.

Hopefully, after learning about it, you will be able to calculate to answer your question about how much a cord of wood weighs? And obtain the benefits of this operation.

A cord is a unit that measures the amount of firewood. It contains 128 cubic feet or 3.62 m3.

More commonly, its measure is calculated according to its volume in the space of 4 feet high, 8 feet long, and 4 feet deep.

To assure that it really represents such a measure, the wood must be arranged in a way that wood pieces are aligned, next to each other, and compact.

Due to a large amount of wood it represents, it is not easy to weigh the load.

Origin of the unit of measurement cord of wood

Although there is not a detailed record of the origin of this measurement, plenty of stories refer to it.

The most popular story explains that in the past, sellers started to measure it with a string or cord instead of a measurement tape due to the big extension of a pile of wood.

As a result, the unit took the name of a cord.

Although you buy firewood measured in cord units, it is always necessary to have at least an approximate measure of weight. The main reasons are the following:

Transportation

Whenever you buy a cord of wood, you will need to transport it later to your place.

To do so, it is common for you to use your own truck or rent one. And trucks and other vehicles have limited capacity according to certain weights.

Due to that, it might be necessary to plan ahead more than one trip to transport the load of firewood.

So, you can arrange your time or your budget if you rent a vehicle.

Storage

As you won´t use all the cord of wood at once, it is always necessary to set a space to store it.

And, among the factors you need to consider to prepare the space, weight is one of the most important.

That is particularly important when you use a rack because they have limited capacity to support certain amounts of weight. 

For instance, you might need to create 2 or more racks to store the total firewood.

Avoid Scam

When buying a cord of wood, some vendors might want to sell it using a measure of weight instead of a cord. 

Due to that, you should always be ready to rapidly calculate if such measure matches a cord of wood.

Factors that modify the conversion from volume to weight

Several factors modify the conversion of measurement as follows:

Density of wood

The density of wood refers to the structure and the number of cells that the wood portions contain.

So, we have that it varies from one species to another. But, in general, hardwood trees are denser than softwood trees, and consequently, they weigh more.

Moisture

All woods contain water, and when they are recently cut or green, they contain a lot of it. After cutting them, little by little, they start to lose their natural moisture and get dry.

After the wood completes an entire cycle of dryness, it loses an amount of weight and is considered seasoned. In general, firewood needs from 6 to 12 months to complete the cycle.

Cutting shape

The cutting shape also helps to determine the final weight. For instance, if the wood is cut in a split, its weight will be higher than those cut in a round shape.

Climatic conditions

Climatic conditions such as the sun, snow, wind, and rain can also modify the speed of dryness and delay the retaining of moisture.  As a result, the weight may vary.

Air

Every stack of wood contains rough logs due to the size, type of cut, and the way to pile them all. It makes that some air accumulates into the cord of wood to increases the weight.

Species of the tree

Every species of tree has its own features. Some of them relate to the factors mentioned above. But others refer to specific circumstances that need to be considered.

Cord/weight calculators

Nowadays, there are easy ways to calculate the weight of a cord of wood that includes pre-set charts and online calculators. For both of them, the main approach is based on the tree species, and every source adds its own calculations about the factors they consider to apply.

For instance, CSG network calculates the weight for the green log. Similarly, any calculator also offers the same operation considering green logs only.

Currently, there are no exact numbers that estimate the difference of weight between green and seasoned wood.

However, it can reach about 70% - 100%. So, with that in mind, you can take your previsions.

Basic Chart of cord/weight

Here are many types of wood, and here, we offer you a chart with some of the most popular trees and their cord/weight conversion when green (wet) or seasoned (dried). 

You must consider that the percentage of water may vary according to the location. So, if you want to obtain more accurate numbers, you may check local

Name of the tree – 1 cord of wood

Weight in pounds – Green

Weight in pounds - Dried

Red Oak

4,888

3,528

White Oak

5,573

4,200

Apple

4,850

3,888

Ash

4.184

2,880

Black Cherry

3,696

2,928

Pine Ponderosa

3,600

2,336

Willow

4,320

2,540

                  Alder, Red
                  3700 
2300
Ash
5000
3000
Aspen
3500
2100
Beech
5700
3450
Birch
5360
3340
Ceder,Incense
3370
2000
Ceder, Port Orford
3900
2300
Elm
4700
2730

Best time of the year to buy a cord of wood

Although you can buy a cord of wood all year round, the best time might be about one year ahead of the next cold/winter season. That is because of the following reasons:

Lower prices

As the winter gets closer, a cord of wood tends to be more expensive.

It happens because sellers might have invested some space and effort in storing the wood and try to get an additional profit from it.

Also, as customers demand more wood, the price automatically rises.

More time to dry the wood

Usually, the wood takes about 6-12 months to get completely dry.

So, if you buy it one year ahead, you will have your firewood completely ready by that time.

Also, as the price of the cord doesn´t vary by getting it wet or seasoned, you won´t have to pay more.

Is a cord of wood a legal measure?

Yes, it is a legal measure that is regulated in different forms.

For example, in Canada, it is recognized by the Measurement Agency, which is in charge of measurement conflicts. In the USA, it is regulated in the Statutes of each state.

Can I buy only a part of a cord of wood?

Yes, you can. It is common to find that sellers offer a half cord of wood or packs of several sizes.

What are the benefits of buying a cord of wood?

The first benefit you obtain is finding better prices because you buy firewood in bulk. 

Secondly, you guarantee you will have enough firewood for the entire cold/winter season.

CONCLUSION

In short, a cord of wood is a practical measure that offers many advantages to pile big amounts of wood.

But other functionalities such as transportation and storing require a different approach, which is why using the weight results is more convenient.

Fortunately, there is a long tradition and research about the features of different trees that allow estimating the equivalent of weight closely.

By using your local institutions, you will find all the relevant information about the factor that can modify the weight of each tree.

So, wondering how much does a cord of wood weigh? You shouldn't wonder anymore but calculate!