How Much Does a Cord of Wood Weigh?
You may want to buy a pile of wood, but you are not sure how much the cord of wood weight in pounds. The most common measurement for a cord of wood is 128 cubic feet that when it is hauled, you should get the height measurement of 4 feet high x 4 feet wide x 4 feet long. Based on the measurement of the cord of wood, we can estimate that an average cord of wood weight can go up to 5,000 pounds. So a pick-up truck will not fit a whole cord of woods but can carry half the cord. But if you buy a face cord which is 1/3 of a full cord, loading it on your truck won’t be a problem. How much of a cord of wood weight will depend on what kind of wood you want to buy. A cord of wood can weigh differently depending on the wood species. In some cases, a cord that consists of round logs will weigh lighter than a cord of split wood pieces. Therefore, you need to compare the weight of a cord of wood to how the wood is prepared and also on wood species because some wood sellers will set their prices based on wood cut and wood selection. “Greenwood” in firewood means the wood has been cut down recently and still contains a high amount of water. Also, note that the amount in a cord of wood may vary in countries. However, the overview price of the cord of wood in North America can be around $110 to $190 during springtime. In winter, you can expect a much higher price like between $210 to $400 per cord of wood. Overall, it would be wise to explore prices with different wood sellers before buying a specific wood type.
Factors Affecting the Weight of a Cord of Wood
Technically, wood from different trees can differ in their densities and structures which also influence their weight despite their similarities in sizes when cut. That’s why you need to familiarize yourself with which type of wood is heavier. For instance, you want to buy hardwood and the seller presents both the oak and the pine wood for selection. Nonetheless, you may want to choose the oak wood because its cord will be naturally heavier than the cord of pine wood.
The main difference between the hardwood and the softwood is their wood structures. The hardwoods although are denser have vessels that can transport water throughout its wood while the softwoods don’t have these. Therefore, the hardwoods are slow to burn while the softwoods burn fast. Hardwoods are a good choice for firewood. However, wood sellers normally set their prices a bit high for it because hardwoods are not as widespread as softwoods and thus are cheaper.
Consider also the type of firewood you need like the seasoned or the green? If you are not familiar with firewood, there are two kinds. Green woods are woods that are freshly cut or not yet seasoned. So the weight of green wood can be twice heavier than the weight of dried wood. And because of the high moisture content, the green woods will always be less efficient for burning and can produce harmful substances called creosote. Green woods can best be used for outdoor burning but not for inside homes.
On the other hand, dried woods can contain not more than 20% moisture content and are therefore lighter than the green woods and burns hotter, longer and cleaner. You can identify the dried, seasoned woods from the green by checking their wood structures. Seasoned or dry woods mostly have cracks and looked like they have shrunk a bit.
Hardwood and Softwood Their Physiological Properties
You may wonder why some types of softwood weigh heavier than other hardwoods. This is because the name “softwood” does not literally define the wood to be less durable. For instance, some conifers have denser wood structure than other types of hardwoods which also means that some hardwoods are also not very dense in their structures. So how do we identify between the softwood and the hardwood? To be able to understand better how the weight of a cord of wood can be influenced by its wood type, let me give you a brief discussion about the classification of woods.
Wood types are classified into two classes: the hardwoods and the softwoods. Being hardwood and softwood, these do not actually refer to how hard their woods are but by way of their reproduction process and means of producing their seeds. The hardwoods are mainly “angiosperms” which means they produce seeds with coats. They are also typically deciduous which also means they shed their leaves during the cold season and grow it again during spring. They also normally grow bigger than most softwoods. Examples of hardwood trees are willow tree, ash tree, birch tree, and maple tree.
Softwoods are the “gymnosperm” types which means they produce bare seeds (no coating) and they usually produce cone-shaped fruits (conifers) and grow needles. Softwoods are also mostly evergreens such as pine trees, redwood, and firs. Being evergreens, they don’t shed their leaves but can withstand harsh weather conditions.
Most softwoods, because some of them have tensile wood strength, are used in the manufacturing of furniture, building homes, and for producing thin sheets of woods like plywood. So if you want to know how much does a cord of oak weigh and how much does a cord of pine wood weigh as the first one is a hardwood and the latter is a softwood, we can notice that they can have significant differences in their weight and that is because, from the beginning, they have different growth system thus have different wood structure.
How Much Does a Cord of Oak Wood Weigh?
Going back to wood weight, if you are going to choose the best quality firewood, you can bet on the the oak tree. Why? Because the oaks have denser wood structures which means when they are burned, they give off hotter flames and very little smoke. They also burn slow while splitting them is easy. Oak firewood does not also produce messy residues like other softwoods. However, it takes a lot of time seasoning oak firewood that sometimes it can take a year or two to properly season it. So if you are to season oak firewood, do it many months before you’ll need it.
There are 4 common types of oak trees that people commonly wanted and these are the Bur, Red, Pin, and White Oaks. So how much does a cord of oak weigh is based on its species? Let’s identify:
- Bur Oak – The cord of a wood weight of a Bur oak firewood can be around 4,970 pounds and that’s when it is not yet dried. Once it gets properly seasoned, the weight of a cord of wood may go down to 3, 770 pounds.
- Red/Pink Oak – These two kinds of oak trees belong in the same group though they only differ in their colors. These oaks are also known to have the lightest weight of a cord of wood roughly around 4, 890 pounds when it is green and down to 3,530 pounds when dried properly.
White Oak – This is the heaviest oak tree type among the other kinds of oaks. Its cord of firewood can weigh about 5,580 pounds when it is still green and when it dries, its cord of wood weight can be just over 4,000 pounds approximately.
How Much Does a Cord of Pine Wood Weigh?
Pine trees being softwoods have a distinct smell when they burn. Most of them produce smoky aroma with fruity scents. This is why many people also choose pine firewood for home heating and for cooking meat outdoors. Pine firewood is also cheaper than the hardwoods while these are easy to split once it gets dried. However, pine can produce residues from its sap if you burn it while fresh. The good news is, pine can be seasoned faster like 6 months to a year depending on your area’s weather condition.
So how much does a cord of pine weigh? There are around 40 different species of pine trees that grow around the world but we will only present the top 3 that are generally preferred for firewood use.
Eastern White Pine – This tree is known as the smallest tree among the other types of pine trees. The cord of this species weighs around 2,800 pounds while fresh but gets to be about 2,300 pounds once dried.
Jack Pine – There are the small Jack pine varieties and the medium size Jacks. Yet, these trees are known for their thin features but can grow on poor soil while they grow hardly in humid climates. A cord of firewood of Jack Pine can weigh over 3,300 pounds while green and down to 2,500 pounds after seasoning.
Ponderosa Pine – This pine type which is also known as the Western Yellow Pine grows in many parts of the world. Being the heaviest, a cord of firewood from this tree can weigh more than 3,600 pounds and that’s because this tree has high moisture content. But once it gets kilned or seasoned, a cord can weigh only around 2,300 pounds.
Weight of Other Trees That Are Best For Firewood
Different types of trees are being used for firewood other than the oak and pines and we care to search for the weight of a cord of wood for these species. Here are what we’ve found:
- Silver Maple– This tree has a good wood quality and best when it comes to burning its wood. Its smoke does not smell bad, does not smoke too much and can provide a good amount of heat. The Silver Maple, although is a hardwood, carries a large amount of water when it is green. The cord of a Silver Maple wood can weigh about 3,910 pounds but when it dries it can go down to 2,760 pounds. Maple trees have similar appearances when they are together. But the Silver Maple is different from its other species because it has a more compact wood structure.
- White Ash Tree – This hardwood tree has an excellent firewood quality. When burned, it exudes a slight woody aroma so its smoke is much better than the Red Oak that produces a vinegar-like smell on its smoke. Also, it does not cause a mess while you burn its woods. Its cord of wood weight can go around 3,952 pounds when it is fresh and about 3,472 pounds after seasoning.
Paper Birch Tree – The Paper Birch tree is named after its skin because its bark is colored white and can be peeled like paper. It is a hardwood and a popular type among the Birches due to its firewood quality. Its wood can also produce a decent heat and with a wintergreen scent. Its weight of a cord of wood can reach up to 4,315 pounds in a fresh state and after seasoning can go as low as 3,000 pounds.
How To Choose a Good Quality Cord of Wood
It’s now time to know how to choose a good quality cord of wood. Remember that not all woods are ideal for burning indoors like in your fireplaces or stoves that have chimneys because some woods can produce lots of ashes and also creosote that can stick inside your chimneys. Creosote is an acidic substance that comes from smoke especially from impure smoke which when it accumulates can cause fire hazards. So here are some tips oh how to choose good quality wood:
Know the type of wood you want to buy
First, consider where you want the firewood for. If you want to burn the wood for a fire pit or for a campfire, no problem with whatever wood you want. But if you want your wood for indoor burning especially in the winter, it’s good that you choose the hardwoods and the best are the Oaks and Ash woods. For stoves and fireplaces, the Poplar is also a good wood. It burns faster and doesn’t leave too much ashes on where it was burned as well it produces less creosote. If you want the pines because of its good smell, use it only in combination with hardwoods because pines are kind of resinous and can produce a good amount of creosote.
Which do you prefer, the hardwood or softwood?
Wood sellers would normally sell green wood at a lower price regardless if it’s a hardwood or a softwood. So if you want to season a fresh wood yourself, no problem. If you buy fresh hardwoods, remember that it takes time for it to get fully seasoned. For softwoods, it only takes about 6 months to a year to fully dry this out. You know that wood is fully dried when it’s dry to the touch, has a loose bark and it has more cracks that indicate dryness. If you don’t have a choice, you can use softwood temporarily but the quality of its flames and heat is not as blazing hot as the hardwoods that are seasoned.
We all want to have the best quality of firewood, especially during the winter season. But choosing the right amount of wood is tantamount to securing you and your family’s survival during the cold season. So you have to understand the factors that can affect the weight of a cord of wood.
Usually, the quality of firewood relies on the type and weight of the wood species. So the cord of wood weight may also vary depending on the moisture content of the tree because any wood that got dry tends to shrink.
Hardwoods are basically the best choice for burning but as we have said, they take time to season . Softwoods burn quicker and are readily available but you need a lot of it for your heating. So the best tip we can give you is to mix them up if you want to have firewood that burns easily, produces lots of heat and burns clean. As long as these woods are dry, you can’t go wrong.
In our next blog, we will tackle the firewood cart. Firewood carts are simply wheeled carriers designed for carrying woods in good amounts. We will show you how to choose the best firewood cart for your convenience.