A stack of firewood logs

Decoding the Rick of Wood: Your Essential Guide to Firewood Measurements

What exactly is a rick of wood? As you prepare for winter warmth or outdoor gatherings, understanding this common yet often misunderstood unit of firewood measurement is essential. A rick, often equated with a face cord, typically measures 4 feet high by 8 feet long with the depth varying based on log length. In this article, Florida’s Tree Masters unpack the precise dimensions, how it stacks up against a full cord, and what it means for your firewood needs and storage solutions.

Key Takeaways

  • A rick of wood, also known as a face cord, measures 4 feet high by 8 feet long, with a variable depth based on the length of the firewood logs, and approximately equals one-third of a full cord.
  • Seasoned wood has a lower moisture content, burns more efficiently, and is better than green wood for heating, evidenced by its light weight, cracked ends, and hollow sound.
  • Purchasing strategies such as buying in the off-season or in bulk can lead to cost savings, and the cost of a rick of wood varies with factors like wood type and regional availability.

Deciphering the Rick: Understanding This Firewood Term

Understanding firewood measurements, especially the term ‘rick,’ can be a game-changer for anyone who relies on firewood for heating. A rick of wood, also known as a face cord, is a specific measurement of firewood. It measures 4 feet high by 8 feet long, but what makes it unique is its variable depth. The depth of a rick of wood depends on the length of the firewood logs, adding a unique twist to its dimensions. By learning about firewood measures, you can ensure you’re getting the right amount of wood for your needs.

But how does a rick compare to other firewood measurements? You might be familiar with the term ‘cord.’ A full cord of wood is typically measured as 128 cubic feet. This measurement is a standard unit for selling firewood. However, a rick’s volume varies and is approximately one-third of a cord. This means a full cord consists of about three ricks of wood. So, when you hear the terms ‘rick’ or ‘face cord,’ know that they are often used interchangeably.

Dimensions of a Rick

When you picture a rick of wood, think of a stack measuring 4 feet high by 8 feet long, a size that is roughly equivalent to a standard pick-up truck bed. However, the key variable is the depth, which depends on the length of the logs used.

The most common log length for a rick is approximately 16 inches, resulting in a depth of around 16 inches. Therefore, when you think of a rick, remember that its dimensions can change depending on the length of the firewood logs.

Rick vs. Cord: What’s the Difference?

Given the variable depth of a rick, its volume is not standardized like a cord’s. A single rick typically represents approximately one-third of a cord. However, this can vary if the wood pieces are longer. This distinction is crucial because it means a rick’s volume can change, making it different from a cord, which is always a standard 128 cubic feet.

So, when you’re comparing a rick to a cord, remember that a rick’s measurements are not as straightforward as those of a cord.

The Origin of the Term ‘Rick’

The term ‘rick’ has roots in old-time English, where it was used to refer to any kind of stack around a farm. Over time, it has evolved to represent a specific firewood measurement. Traditionally, in Oklahoma, a rick of wood typically represents one-third to one-half of a full cord, measuring 4 feet high by 8 feet long with a depth that varied.

So now, when you hear the term ‘rick,’ you know it’s not just any pile of firewood but a specific measure with a rich history.

Quantifying Firewood: How Much Is in a Rick?

A pile of firewood logs

Now that you understand what a rick is, let’s delve into how much firewood it actually contains. A rick of wood typically contains about 275 to 325 pieces of firewood. However, the exact number can vary depending on how well the wood is cut and stacked.

This knowledge allows you to gauge how much wood you’re getting and can help you plan its potential uses, whether for heating your home or setting up a cozy bonfire, by considering the wood weigh.

Estimating the Number of Logs

The size of the firewood logs affects the total number of logs that can fit in a rick. Smaller logs can potentially increase the piece count. A commonly used width for a rick of wood is 16 inches, which influences the estimated number of logs when calculating a rick’s full measure.

The number of logs in a rick can range from 600 to 800 pieces, varying based on how tightly they are stacked together. So, when you’re estimating the number of logs in a rick, remember that the size of the logs and the efficiency of stacking play significant roles.

Real-World Usage Examples

Having an idea of the number of logs in a rick is handy, but how does this translate into real-world usage? A full cord of dry, seasoned wood can generate as much heat as 150-200 gallons of heating oil, providing a practical perspective on its heating capabilities. This makes it a cost-effective and efficient option for warmth in your home. Depending on usage, a full cord of firewood can last from just a few bonfires to over a year.

For occasional fireplace use, such as a two-hour fire, a couple of bundles of firewood are enough. However, for longer fire pit sessions lasting six or more hours, at least five bundles of firewood are recommended.

Seasoned Wood vs. Green Wood: A Comparison

Comparison between seasoned wood and green wood

When it comes to firewood, it’s not just about quantity but quality as well. The quality of firewood largely depends on whether it’s seasoned or green. Green wood is newly cut and contains a high water content, making it harder to burn.

On the other hand, seasoned wood has been dried over time, typically 6 to 12 months, and has a lower moisture content, making it easier and cleaner to burn. Let’s delve deeper into the differences between seasoned wood and green wood and their implications on firewood use.

Advantages of Properly Dried Wood

Seasoned wood, due to its lower moisture content, offers better combustion efficiency when burned compared to green wood. It ignites more easily, generates more heat, and produces less smoke and creosote. This means you can reduce the amount of logs needed for heating while ensuring a clean and efficient burn.

A moisture content below 20% in wood, confirmed by a wood moisture meter, is indicative of proper seasoning and readiness for a clean burning experience. So, when you’re selecting firewood, seasoned wood offers clear advantages over green wood.

Recognizing Quality Firewood

Recognizing quality firewood is an essential skill for any firewood user. Well-seasoned wood can be recognized by dark, cracked ends, lighter weight, and a hollow sound when pieces are struck together. Wood logs that are not fully dry can be detected by a greenish tint and bark that is still tough to peel, signifying the need for additional seasoning.

Burning quality is impeded in green firewood due to its high moisture content, making well-dried wood a superior choice for a perfect fire experience. Thus, the quality of firewood can significantly impact your firewood usage experience.

Cost Factors for a Rick of Firewood

Variety of firewood types

When buying firewood, understanding the cost factors is crucial. The cost of firewood is influenced by factors such as:

  • Wood type
  • Age
  • The reputation of the seller
  • The area of the country

A typical price range for a rick of seasoned firewood is $70 to $120. However, dense forests in certain areas can drive the price of firewood down due to increased availability.

Let’s delve deeper into how wood type and purchasing strategies can affect your firewood costs.

Impact of Wood Type on Price

The type of wood plays a significant role in its wood cost. Hardwoods are denser and burn longer than softwoods, which contributes to their higher price point. High-quality hardwoods, such as cherry wood, can command prices up to $900 per cord, reflecting their superior quality as firewood.

On the other hand, softwoods like pine and cedar are more affordable, often priced between $150 to $300 per cord. Despite being a hardwood, oak is sometimes more affordable, with prices starting around $180 per cord in certain areas. So, when you’re budgeting for firewood, consider the type of wood and its corresponding cost.

Save Money on Firewood

While the type of wood can affect its price, there are strategies to save money when buying firewood. Purchasing firewood in the off-season, such as spring or summer, can be significantly cheaper than peak times in autumn and winter. During peak season, a rick of wood could cost between $100-$200, while in spring or summer, the cost might range from only $50-$100.

Buying firewood in bulk can also lead to cost savings over time, as larger volumes typically reduce the price per unit. So, with smart purchasing strategies, you can get more firewood for your money.

How Many Ricks Should You Buy?

Knowing the cost of firewood and how to save money on it is crucial, but how much firewood do you actually need? To heat a whole home throughout the season, typically two to three ricks of wood are necessary, which is roughly equivalent to a full cord. However, the specific number of ricks needed to heat a home will depend on factors like the size of the house, how often the fireplace is used, and the local climate conditions.

Let’s delve deeper into how you can calculate your firewood needs based on your specific circumstances.

Calculating Needs Based on Use

The amount of firewood needed for a household varies based on:

  • Personal preference
  • The space to be heated
  • The efficiency of the heating unit
  • The local climate
  • The type and age of the wood

In cases of zone heating, where only a part of the home is heated, square footage calculations must be adjusted to determine the proper amount of firewood required.

Firewood needs escalate with the severity of the winter and the efficiency of the heating unit being used. So, your specific firewood needs can depend on a variety of factors.

Stove and Fireplace Considerations

The type of heating unit you use also affects the amount of firewood you need. A smaller wood stove may only need a rick of wood for a full winter’s heating, compared to larger fireplaces or wood furnaces which can require several cords. When choosing a stove cord, it’s essential to consider the size and type of your heating unit.

The quantity of firewood required for the winter is considerably affected by whether a fireplace or stove is primarily used for heating. Therefore, your heating unit is an important factor to consider when determining how many ricks of wood you need.

Preparing for Delivery: Will It Fit in Your Pickup Truck?

Loading firewood into a pickup truck

Once you’ve made your firewood purchase, the next consideration is how to transport it. A standard pickup truck can typically hold around one rick of wood, and if logs are stacked tightly, up to a half cord of wood. But how can you maximize the space in your pickup truck for firewood transport? Let’s explore some strategies.

Maximizing Truck Space

Maximizing the space in your pickup truck when transporting firewood involves strategic stacking and the use of certain equipment. A rick of wood is often the perfect size for a 6-foot pickup truck bed, which can accommodate the wood when stacked properly. Stacking wood in rounds on their ends and sliding splits into the gaps can significantly increase the amount of firewood transported.

It’s important to consider the weight limits of the pickup truck to avoid overloading and ensure safe and legal delivery of the firewood. Using ratcheting straps or cargo nets is advisable to secure the firewood and prevent it from shifting during transport.

Delivery Options

If transporting firewood in your own vehicle is not an option, there are firewood delivery services that offer various options for consumers. These include nationwide shipping for boxed and bulk firewood packages, including both long-distance and local same-day delivery within a specified radius.

So, whether you’re collecting firewood yourself or having it delivered, there are flexible options to suit your needs.

Storing Your Rick: Best Practices

After purchasing and transporting your firewood, the next step is storing it properly. Proper storage involves:

  • Stacking firewood in a dry location with plenty of airflow
  • Leaving space between logs for air circulation
  • Protecting your woodpile from elements like snow and rain during inclement weather.

However, it is also important to ensure it is uncovered during dry periods to facilitate proper drying.

Ideal Storage Conditions

Ideal storage conditions for firewood include exposing the wood to air and sun, stacking it away from structures, and covering only the top of the stack during wet conditions. Log stores, which are typically open at the front, are an effective way to maximize airflow around the firewood. However, they might require a cover during wet conditions.

To protect firewood from rain and snow while still allowing for air circulation, covering only the top of the stack with a tarp or plywood is recommended.

Using Your Wood Efficiently

Once your firewood storage is sorted, the next step is to use your firewood efficiently. Prioritize burning older wood first to prevent it from becoming less efficient or unusable due to rot or bug infestation. Use a ‘first-in, first-out’ system by stacking new logs at the back or bottom so that older logs are more accessible.

Keep the woodpile off the ground to prevent moisture absorption and decay. Cover the woodpile with a tarp or store in a shed to protect it from rain and snow, ensuring it stays dry for optimal burning.


In summary, understanding firewood measurements, particularly the term ‘rick,’ can help you select, buy, and use firewood more effectively. A rick, with its dimensions of 4 feet high by 8 feet long and variable depth, offers a practical unit for firewood measurement. Buying and storing firewood involves considerations such as wood type, cost, delivery, and storage methods. Using your firewood efficiently can ensure a warm and cozy home throughout the winter or memorable bonfires with friends and family. So, next time you’re buying firewood, remember these tips and make the most of your firewood experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a rick of firewood?

A rick of firewood, also known as a face cord, measures 4 feet high by 8 feet long, with the depth varying based on the length of the firewood logs. It is a standard measure of firewood.

How is a rick different from a cord?

A rick is typically around one-third of a cord, but the actual volume can vary depending on the size of the wood pieces. In contrast, a cord is a standard 128 cubic feet.

How many logs are in a rick?

A rick of wood typically contains about 275 to 325 pieces of firewood, but the exact number can vary based on the cutting and stacking of the wood.

What is the difference between seasoned wood and green wood?

Seasoned wood has been dried over time and has a lower moisture content, making it easier to burn, while green wood is newly cut and contains a high water content, making it harder to burn.

How should I store firewood?

Store firewood in a dry location with good airflow, leaving space between the logs for circulation. Protect it from inclement weather, but keep it uncovered during dry periods to aid proper drying.

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