Wood, especially firewood, is typically measured in terms of cord. It is the legal unit of measurement that both buyers and sellers accept.
A cord is a loosely stacked woodpile measuring 4 feet wide, 4 feet high, by 8 feet long. This means a cord of wood is 128 cubic feet in volume.
Sellers and buyers typically determine the weight of a cord of wood and its price based on these standards for measuring wood. So, how much does a cord of wood weigh? Read along to learn everything you know about a cord of wood and how to make the most of that knowledge.
How much does a cord of wood weigh?
An average cord of wood can weigh about 5,000 pounds on the higher side based on the volume of 128 cubic feet. A cord of wood is 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 8 feet long. The measurements notwithstanding, the weight of a cord will vary depending on the wood species involved. Some wood types are heavier than others. For instance, hardwoods are generally denser than softwoods, so a cord of hardwood will be heavier.
An average cord of wood can weigh about 5,000 pounds on the higher side based on the volume of 128 cubic feet. A cord of wood is 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 8 feet long.
The measurements notwithstanding, the weight of a cord will vary depending on the wood species involved. Some wood types are heavier than others. For instance, hardwoods are generally denser than softwoods, so a cord of hardwood will be heavier.
Factors such as moisture content also influence weight. Also, you will often find that a cord of split pieces of wood weighs more than one consisting of round logs. So you may want to keep all these factors in mind when determining the weight of a cord.
More importantly, you can use these weighted estimates to approximate a full cord when buying wood.
For example, you may opt for split wood instead of round logs based on your knowledge of how their weights compare.
The weight of seasoned wood will also differ significantly from freshly cut logs. Moisture content alone can constitute more than 1,000 pounds.
So, expect a green cord of wood with high moisture content to weigh considerably higher than seasoned wood.
When using the weight of accord to make any purchase decision, it is essential to know the wood species and type you are buying. Additionally, you will need to understand their moisture content and how that impacts the weight.
These details are essential because cords of wood can range from about 2000 pounds to north of 5000 pounds.
How much wood is in a cord?
Other than the weight of a cord, it is essential to know the approximate number of wood pieces in a cord when buying.
What is the size of a cord of wood? What are the dimensions of a cord? How about the weight? All these are questions you need to ask when determining the true pricing of a full cord.
Ideally, a cord contains approximately 700 pieces of split wood. If they are round, non-split logs, the number can be significantly lower due to the larger size of each log.
Even for split pieces, the exact number of wood pieces still varies depending on how they are split. The moisture levels in the wood and the species also tend to influence how many pieces are in a unit of measurement.
A cord of wood weight: Factors to consider
A cord of wood is ideally a volume measurement. To get the correct weight measure of a cord of wood, you will need to know the various factors that influence the weight of individual pieces of wood and how they impact the cord.
Here is a look at each factor.
Wood from different trees generally differs in structure, which in turn influences their weight. The more accurate aspect of the wood structure to consider is the density. How do you determine this?
Dense hardwoods such as wood silver maple, cherry, oak, and walnut are generally heavier than their softwood cousins, such as pine, cedar, fir, and spruce.
With this knowledge in mind, you can have a rough idea of what to expect from the wood you intend to buy. For example, if you are dealing with a cord of seasoned hardwood, you can expect it to weigh mostly between 4000 and 5000 pounds.
On the other hand, a cord of seasoned softwood may weigh between 2000 and 3000 pounds. So, familiarizing yourself with which type of wood is heavier will give you a better picture of what to expect in terms of the weight of the cord.
Other than the hardwood and softwood classification, you may also need to know that different trees within the same classification may have different weights. For instance, red oak tends to be heavier than white oak.
The wood’s moisture content can constitute up to 1000 pounds of the total weight. So it is essential to consider whether you are buying the wood wet or dried.
Typically, a cord of green wood will weigh twice as much as one consisting of dried wood. This is because green wood has a significantly high moisture content that diminishes as the wood dries.
A cord made up of split wood weighs more than one consisting of round logs. When the wood is not split, it takes up more space, so there will be fewer logs in the cord.
With fewer logs come less weight than a unit of split logs. Additionally, the number of logs will vary based on how the wood has been split.
When the wood is split into smaller sizes, the pieces will reduce the spaces between them. Consequently, the resulting cord will be heavier than one with larger logs.
How the wood is stacked determines the amount of space remaining between logs.
Haphazardly or loosely stacked pieces of wood take up more space, leaving lots of unoccupied spaces between individual logs.
The resulting cord will consist of a lot of unoccupied space. And since a cord of wood is a volume measurement, the loosely stacked wood pieces are likely to create a cord with less weight.
Such cord will weigh less than one with tightly packed pieces of wood. In addition, the careful stacking helps reduce the number of air pockets left in the cord.
So when buying wood in cords, you may want to have the wood uniformly stacked to ensure more pieces of wood.
Buying from a vendor who cuts corners by selling their wood in loosely piled cords can mean you are ending up with less wood than a true cord.
Why does the weight of a cord of wood matter?
Logs of wood are usually sold by the cord. And a cord is a volume of wood pieces measuring 4 feet wide, 4 feet high, and 8 feet long. The resulting volume is 128 cubic feet.
When buying wood logs, relying on one parameter might be a terrible way to assess the value for money, especially if you are dealing with unscrupulous vendors.
Such a vendor might want to get away with the full payment for a cord in exchange for less wood. This is where the other measures, such as the weight, come in.
Weight can help you assess the value for your money.
Knowing the expected weight of a cord can help you determine if you are getting the full value for your money or not.
It is essential to have an idea of what to expect of a cord to evaluate the value and know if you are getting what you are paying for.
Weight comes in handy in planning transportation.
The weight also matters when hauling the wood home. For instance, a half-ton pickup truck is only designed to carry about 1,000 pounds of weight.
This knowledge can help you plan your wood’s transportation better. Once you know the weight of the cord you are buying, you can divide it by 1000 pounds and know how many trips you must make if you transport them in a half-ton pickup truck.
Planning with the weight in mind can help you save on gas
As part of the planning, you might opt for a larger vehicle that carries the entire cord in one trip. This is an excellent option if you wish to save on gas.
Based on the great impact of moisture content on a cord of wood, you may also decide to transport wood only after it has dried. That can save you half the number of trips you would have to make with a cord of greenwood.
Factors that can affect the weight of wood
Just as certain factors influence the weight of a cord of wood, some factors affect the weight of individual logs of wood. By extension, these factors eventually have an impact on the cord, as you will see below.
The size of the wood
Size may appear like the most obvious determinant of weight, but some people may not understand how that is significant.
When referring to the wood size, it is important to note that all aspects of the wood’s measurements count. This includes the girth and length.
Additionally, any irregularities in the shape of a piece of wood will go a long way in influencing its size, which affects the weight.
So it is important to look at all these aspects when considering the size of wood with the aim of establishing its impact on weight.
The level of moisture in the wood
Moisture is typically the most overlooked determinant of weight in wood. Interestingly, it can double the weight of wood. So you will typically find that freshly cut wood is about two times the weight of the wood when it is dry.
Because moisture constitutes a large percentage of the weight of wood, many people prefer to let them dry before buying or hauling them. Wood is also easier to split when dry, even though splitting wet wood can accelerate its drying process.
Different types of wood have different densities, hence varying weights. A piece of hardwood will weigh more than an equivalent piece of softwood with the same shape and size.
For instance, a popular hardwood such as oak will weigh almost twice the weight of softwood like pine or Douglas fir.
How much does a cord of oak wood weigh?
Oak is a very popular and common type of wood with multiple uses. It is a very versatile wood and does an excellent job in various applications requiring hardwood.
This hardwood has a characteristic aroma that comes out when it burns, making it a preferred choice for firewood.
This section looks at the estimated weights of a cord of the four most popular types of oak, namely red oak, bur oak, pin oak, and white oak.
Estimated weights of various types of oak
White oak. This is the heaviest group of oaks, weighing approximately 5580 pounds when green. This weight easily earns white oak a seat at the table of the heaviest hardwoods in the world.
This oak is still significantly heavy when dry, weighing roughly 4210 pounds.
Bur Oak. Bur oak is the second heaviest of the classification, weighing roughly 4970 pounds when green. It dries to a lighter cord, weighing slightly under 4000 pounds, at around 3770 pounds.
Either way, hauling both types of oak in a pickup truck will mean several trips.
Red oak & pin oak. These two are the lightest of all types of oak. They have the same weight, at approximately 4890 pounds when green.
When completely dry, both pin and red oak wood pieces weigh about 3530 pounds.
How much does a cord of pine wood weigh?
Pine is an evergreen conifer species and one of the world’s most popular and versatile softwood species.
Pine does not burn too well, making it a less preferred choice for firewood compared to oak. Nonetheless, it is still highly versatile and common across various applications worldwide, not just the USA.
Hardwoods are generally preferred for burning wood than softwoods, so you may want to keep this in mind when deciding on woods to buy for that application. However, if you are buying for woodwork applications, how it burns will not be a consideration.
That said, here are the three most common sub-classifications of pine wood and their respective weights.
Estimated weights for various types of pine
Ponderosa pine. This pine is the heaviest type when green due to its exceedingly high moisture level. Ponderosa pine holds more water than most softwoods. So when wet, it weighs approximately 3610 pounds.
As soon as it dries, ponderosa pine loses its first place at the top of the heaviest pine wood species list, weighing about 2340 pounds.
If you were to transport this wood, the best idea is to let it dry first then easily transport it in fewer trips.
Jack pine. Jack pine weighs roughly 3205 pounds when wet, slightly below ponderosa pine. However, it easily takes the top place when dry, weighing about 2493 pounds.
Eastern white pine. The lightest in this list of pine woods is the eastern white pine, weighing about 2790 pounds when green and roughly 2255 pounds after shedding its moisture.
How much is half a cord of wood
A half cord of wood dimensions is typically 4 feet (width), 4 feet (height), and 4 feet (depth). This means half a cord of wood is generally 64 cubic feet.
Each piece of wood in the cord is historically cut to four-foot lengths, which explains the constant 4-foot width in a full cord of wood as the half cord.
While these dimensions are standard measurements, they are decided based on the standard measurements of pickup trucks. When buying wood, you must keep in mind how you will haul it, and cutting wood to size is the first step in that direction.
When purchasing wood, how big is a half cord of wood is a question most people ask because a full cord is generally too heavy for a standard pickup truck to carry in one trip. So you must plan for several trips if you intend to haul an entire cord of wood.
How much does a cord of firewood weigh?
A cord of firewood typically weighs between 2000 and 4000 pounds when dried correctly. This average does not apply to greenwood as the moisture content can significantly drive up the weight to nearly double the weight of seasoned firewood.
The weight of a cord of firewood varies widely depending on various factors. The dryness of the wood, its specific species, size, and arrangement in the cord can all impact the weight of the cord of firewood.
How much does a cord of hardwood weigh?
Hardwoods are generally denser than other wood types, weighing as much as 5500 pounds or heavier when green. On average, a cord of hardwood will weigh between 4000 pounds and 5500 pounds.
When dry, the average weight of hardwoods per cord drops significantly to somewhere between 3000 and 4000 pounds.
Just like any wood, the average weight of a cord of hardwood depends on the specific wood species, size of the logs, moisture content, and more.
How much does a rick of wood weigh?
A rick of wood can weigh anywhere from approximately 1/3 of a ton, or around 625 pounds for the lightest wood, about 3,000 pounds for the heaviest wood. This means if you have a heavy rick of hardwood, you can expect it to weigh about 1½ tons.
Notice that a rick of wood measures and describes how wood is stacked in a cord when packed.
How much is a cord of wood
The cost of a cord of wood varies across various regions. However, you can expect to pay about 120 dollars to 180 dollars for a cord of split, seasoned hardwood. In winter, you may pay more—often as high as 220 to 400 dollars per cord or wood.
Since there is no fixed weight of a cord of wood, most sellers might offer a discount to cover the expected variation. Usually, the volume of wood in a cord can vary from the actual weight by about 25 percent.
How much does a ¼ cord of wood weigh?
A ¼ cord of wood can weigh about 500 to 1000 pounds depending on the type of wood involved and whether or not it is dry.
Greenwood will typically weigh more in a ¼ cord than seasoned wood. The lightest softwood can weigh less than 500 pounds when completely dry, making it easier to transport.
How much does a cord of Douglas fir weigh?
A cord of Douglas fir weighs approximately 3319 pounds when dry, making it significantly lightweight, considering the heaviest hardwood weighs north of 5000 pounds when wet. When dry, Douglas fir weighs about 2970 pounds.
How much does a face cord weigh?
A face cord or a third of a cord of kiln-dried firewood weighs approximately 1,200 pounds. A standard face cord of wood 8 feet, by 4 feet, by 16 inches that is not kiln dried will weigh in at about 1600 pounds; 400 pounds more than the kiln-dried option.
What Does a Cord of Wood Weigh Summary
A cord of wood is an essential measurement in wood purchases. However, since a cord is a volume measurement, it may not provide an accurate measure of the amount of wood you are buying. So knowing how to weigh and what to expect of a cord in terms of weight is essential.
We hope this article helps provide answers to some of your most pressing questions. Do leave a comment in the comments section if you have any addition or question regarding these measurements.