A rick of wood is a historical term that refers to a measurement of wood that is approximately four feet high and eight feet long. The term “rick of wood” refers to the traditional practices of preparing and storing firewood, which include both function and aesthetics.
Whether for an indoor fireplace or for outdoor use, a rick of wood embodies ancient practices that represent self-sufficiency and the connection between humans and the natural world.
Origin of a Rick of Wood
The term “rick of wood” refers to traditional forestry practices, agriculture, and the use of firewood. The term rick is derived from the Old English word for pile or stack. The idea of stacking and measuring wood evolved over time as people relied on careful stacks of wood to provide warmth and a source of fuel for cooking. The way that people stacked wood directly impacted how well the fire burned for these tasks.
A rick of wood came to mean a standardized measurement of firewood that was about four feet long and eight feet wide. This was an easy quantity for transportation and a practical unit for careful and concise stacking. Understanding the quantity of a rick of wood also ensured that people understood how much wood they were buying and selling.
Modern Wood Measurements
Today, a cord is the standard measurement unit for firewood, but there are other measurements, including a rick of wood, that people use to describe quantities of firewood.
A full cord of firewood measures 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 8 feet long, totaling 128 cubic feet. Be sure to confirm with the firewood provider the exact dimensions of the cord of firewood to ensure you are getting the quantity you expect.
A half cord is half the volume of a full cord, measuring 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 4 feet long. This totals 64 cubic feet.
Rick or Face Cord
A rick or a face cord, also known as a stove cord, measures 4 feet high and 8 feet long but varies in width. A width of 16 inches is common for ricks or face cords. A rick typically measures about 42 cubic feet, but it is best to check with the seller to determine the exact quantities as there is no standardized width.
A quarter cord is a quarter volume of a full cord, measuring 4 feet high, 2 feet wide, and 4 feet long, or about 32 cubic feet.
Loose or Thrown Cord
This measurement refers to wood that is loosely thrown rather than stacked. This quantity varies, but it will take up around 30% more volume than a stacked cord. Loose cords typically take up around 180 cubic feet.
A green cord is a measurement that sellers use to quantify wood that has not been dried and seasoned. Green wood has a high moisture content, so it takes up more volume than dried firewood. The green cord designation is a way that some sellers price their wood to make up for the 6-8% shrinkage. Green firewood does not burn as well as well dried wood, so you should always ensure that wood has been properly dried and seasoned before you use it.
A bundle of wood is a small quantity of wood that is prepackaged for quick and effortless purchase. These bundles are often packed in mesh bags that make them easy to carry and transport. This is the least cost-effective way to purchase wood, but sometimes it is worth it for the ease and convenience.
Factors in the Cost of Firewood
The cost of wood varies widely according to the type of wood you purchase, the age of the wood, the seller, the area of the country, and the quantity of wood you buy.
- Full Cord: A full cord of firewood ranges in cost from $150 on the low end to $900 on the high end. Most people pay somewhere between $150 and $500 per full cord. Buying a cord can be the most cost-effective way to buy wood, but this will depend on the seller’s rates.
- Half Cord: A half cord, measuring about 64 cubic feet, costs between $100 and $300.
- Face Cord, or Rick: A face cord measuring about 42 cubic feet costs between $75 and $200.
- Quarter Cord: 32 cubic feet, or a quarter cord, will range in cost from $50 to $125.
- Bundle: A bundle of firewood ranges from seller to seller but typically costs between $5 and $15 per bundle.
Types of Wood
The most expensive types of firewood are hardwoods like oak, hickory, cherry, and beech. Many homeowners prefer hardwoods because they burn longer, are hotter, and are cleaner. Hardwood firewood ranges in price from $250 to $500 per cord. Softwoods like pine, spruce, and cedar are less expensive, but they burn very quickly and can leave debris in the chimney. Softwood firewood costs between $150 and $300 per cord.
Delivery and Stacking
Homeowners with the appropriate transportation can pick up the wood on their own and save on the cost of delivery. For others, you must factor in this extra cost. The typical cost to deliver firewood is between $25 and $75. If you want someone to stack the wood for you, include an extra $25–$80 per load of wood.
Age of Wood
When firewood is first cut, there is water in the wood. As the wood ages, the water evaporates, making it easier and cleaner to burn. Wood that is newly cut is called green wood. As the wood ages, it becomes seasoned wood. Seasoned wood is more expensive than green wood.
The cost of wood varies widely throughout the country. Firewood is more plentiful in areas with dense forests, which drives the price of firewood down. Buying local types of firewood is the most cost-effective and sustainable way to buy firewood.
As the colder seasons approach, the demand for firewood increases. You can save money by purchasing firewood during the warm seasons. This will also allow you to buy greener wood and still have time to season it before the winter. On average, you can season firewood in 6 months, though some types of wood, especially hardwoods, can take anywhere from 1-2 years to season properly.
How Much Wood Do I Need?
The amount of firewood that you need depends on a variety of personal factors. A cord of firewood can last the average well-insulated household the whole season if they are just burning fires for recreation, but this can vary widely from household to household.
Consider the following five factors when deciding how much firewood you should buy:
- Personal Preferences
Some people like to burn fires every night, and others might only want a fire weekly. Understanding this personal preference will be the most important factor in determining how much firewood you will need for most urban and suburban households.
- Calculate Your Heating Needs
Determine the amount of space that you want to heat. Rooms or poorly-insulated houses that are large will require more firewood than homes that are warm, small, or just for occasional fires.
- Efficiency of Your Heating Unit
Different fireplaces or wood-burning stoves have varying levels of efficiency. Some highly efficient units will require less wood to achieve the same level of warmth and allow the wood to last longer compared to other heating units.
- Understand Your Local Climate
Cold climates will require more heating throughout the season than warmer climates. This is especially true if you plan on using your fireplace or wood-burning stove as a significant heating source throughout the winter.
- Consider the Wood Type and Age
The type and age of wood impact the heat generated. Hardwoods burn more slowly and hotter than softwood types; thus, a quantity of hardwood will last longer than the same quantity of softwood. Seasoned wood burns more efficiently and warmly, so you can use a smaller quantity of seasoned wood.