What is a Rick of Wood
When buying firewood, you may be asked by dealers how much you need such as a full cord, a face cord, a quarter cord, or even the strangest term rick of wood. If you are used to buying firewood, you may understand what a full cord is because this is the amount of wood that people usually buy. Some homeowners also generally need the face cord which we will discuss further below as well as the quarter cord. But have you ever heard of a rick of firewood? And how do you compare this to other volumes of firewood?
Though we already have an article telling you about the volume of a full cord, let us give other readers a short review of its specific volume. A full cord of firewood measures 4’ H x 4’ W x 8’ L. Simply, the size of a full cord is 4 feet high, 4 feet wide and 8 feet long. These numbers totaled 128 cubic feet and there are about 3 stacks of firewood on it. The standard length of the firewood pieces in a cord is 16 inches. Traders or sellers of wood usually call a full cord a “cord” so it’s understandable that a cord will give you the volume of a full cord. The full cord volumes are the most in-demand amount of wood especially by people living in the countryside and rural areas. It is with the cord of wood that many people depend on their heating for their living rooms more than the electricity and heating oil because these are basically expensive. Moreover, people will still depend on electricity, heating oil and heating gas to warm up their bedrooms but when it comes to large areas of the house where fireplaces and wood stoves can be installed, it is wood that people mostly depend on.
How Big is a Face Cord of Wood
Before getting into the rick of wood, let us first give you a short review of how big is a face cord of wood so that it would be easy to understand the other volumes of wood. A face cord is one-third of a full cord. It is also 4 feet high, but only 1.4 feet wide and 8 feet long. So basically, a face cord is composed of just one stack of wood. A face cord just like a rick of wood can also have different lengths of its firewood pieces. Though the standard length of firewood is 16 inches, other wood sellers sell their woods longer like 17 to 20 inches.
But what is a quarter of a cord? Quarter which means 1/4 of a full measurement that when it applies to firewood will measure 1/4 of a cord. So a quarter cord of firewood is 4 feet x 4 feet x 16 inches which equal 32 cubic feet in volume. The 16 inches represents the length of the wood pieces that can go between 16 to 18 inches. If you simplify the measurement of a quarter cord, this will be 4 feet high, 4 feet long and 16 inches deep.
But what is a rick of wood? A rick of wood is a stack of wood that is 4 feet high and 8 feet long but its width will depend on the supplier or dealer on how deep the stack should be. Usually, the rick of firewood will almost be the same as the volume of a face cord. If you are still confused about how a rick of wood is measured, below is our simplest explanation.
Simplifying the Rick of Firewood
To know the history of “rick” in firewood, we have to delve a bit deeper into the meaning of rick. Rick is derived from the word “hrēac”, an old English word which means a stacked pile. During the early years, this word is mainly used by folks in the countryside and it could mean a stack of corn or a stack of hay or a stack of wood just to give the idea that this is a pile of stackable materials. And so the word rick goes down to history and it’s still a popular term used in the Midwest and other parts of North America.
Now that you know how big is a face cord of wood is, you should also know that a rick of firewood can be a fraction of a full cord as it can be the size of a face cord. In essence, a rick can have different lengths in its firewood pieces. As we mentioned, a face cord of firewood has a single pile and the average length of the wood pieces are 16 inches.
Since a rick of wood also has only a single pile, it can have different wood lengths. Some wood dealers sell their ricks of wood with firewood pieces with an average length of either 12 inches, other sellers sell theirs with 16 inches while other dealers sell theirs with 24 inches firewood pieces. So by estimating the width of a rick with different sizes of firewood pieces, the volume of a rick of wood could be any of the following:
A single pile of a face cord with an average length of 12 inches (1 ft) firewood pieces now becomes ¼ of a full cord.
A single pile of a face cord with an average length of 16 inches (1.33 ft) firewood pieces now becomes 1/3 of a full cord.
A single pile of a face cord with an average length of 24 inches (2 ft) firewood pieces now becomes 1/2 of a full cord.
But to further simplify a rick of wood for quick memory, here is how you can remember it in three different measurements:
12-inch rick = 4 feet high x 1 feet wide x 8 feet long
16-inch rick = 4 feet high x 1.33 feet wide x 8 feet long
24-inch rick = 4 feet high x 2 feet wide x 8 feet long
Therefore, even the height and length of a rick of wood are constant, the depth of the pile can change from different vendors because one vendor would have shorter wood while others can have longer wood. This is why before you purchase your rick of wood you have to inquire from your seller the actual depth of the pile or you might not get the volume you want for the full rick of wood. You cannot also change the mind of a seller and demand the 24-inch rich if it’s not in his list because, as we have said, the measurement of a rick can be different from state to state.
Rick Vs. Cord – Which is Ideal to Buy?
Now that we have explained what a rick of wood and cord is, some of you will still wonder which of these can sustain your home heating. So it shall be the rick vs cord and which of these can provide you the right volume of wood. There are a few major questions here that you will have to answer yourself.
Consider these questions to estimate how much wood you will need:
What is the regular temperature in your region?
You might already know the temperature that is constant in your area during the cold days. Obviously, the colder the days, the more wood you need. If your area generally has longer colder days and even having snow storms most of the time, you will need more than a rick of firewood. So to be safe, go for a face cord or a full cord. It is also better to stock on woods if this is the case.
What are the possibilities of having extreme weather conditions during the cold season in your region?
This is where you must monitor the weather conditions in your area. If you realize that you can have unpredictable weather conditions during the winter, you may also define the amount of firewood you will need for your home heating throughout the season. That’s why knowing rick vs cord in terms of wood fuel requirement is essential.
Would you need to burn firewood day and night?
How big is a face cord of wood you’ll need may also depend on how frequent you will burn your firewood. For example, if you want to burn your wood almost 24 hours a day, you will of course need more than a cord of wood to last you a month or two. But here is a clue to help you estimate how much pieces of wood you would need for the season. A face cord can have 220 to 240 pieces of firewood with an average length of 16 inches wood pieces. Since a face cord makes up to 1/3 of a full cord, the number of pieces on a cord could range from 660 to 720 pieces of wood.
According to some homeowners, you will need 3 – 4 full cords of wood to warm a 1,800 square foot home using a stove in a month. So if you’re staying in a smaller house, that means you will use less. But some factors can also influence your consumption of firewood. For instance, what type of firewood you want like would it be hardwood or a softwood type? Is the wood you are using properly seasoned? And are you mixing hardwood and softwood for burning?
A rick of wood can have around 275 to 325 pieces of firewood in it. But still, the number of wood pieces may vary because the width of a rick of firewood is not constant as we have discussed above. So when buying a rick, always consider the lengths of the wood pieces and good suggestion is choosing for the longest wood pieces.
What wood type do you typically burn?
There are two major classifications of wood and you know that these are the hardwoods and the softwoods. But not all of these woods can grow in all regions because some trees also adapt only to certain environments. Incidentally, there are the Eastern hardwoods and softwoods and also the Western hardwoods and softwoods. In this case, you need to know the available woods in your area and be able to identify their BTU potentials. On woods, BTU stands for British Thermal Unit which represents the heating capacity of the wood in heating a pound of water by 1 deg Fahrenheit.
If you know the BTU of a certain wood, you can estimate how big a face cord of wood you will need or how much rick of wood you can store to keep your home warm.
Amount of BTUs Per Cord of Wood
Here are some of the main wood species that are used for firewood based on regions with their BTU potential and weight in pounds and also in their green and dry state. This data was derived from the worldforestindustries .
Western Hardwood Species w/ Highest BTUs:
Live Oak – 36.6 Million BTUs/cord – 7,860 lbs/cord (green) – 4,840 lbs/cord (dry)
Eucalyptus – 34.5 M BTUs/cord – 7,320 lbs/cord (green) – 4,560 lbs/cord (dry)
Pacific Madrone – 30.9 M BTUs/cord – 6,520 lbs/cord (green) – 4,086 lbs/cord (dry)
Dogwood – 30.4 M BTUs/cord – 6,520 lbs/cord (green) – 4,025 lbs/cord (dry)
Western Softwood Species w/ Highest BTUs:
Douglas Fir – 26.6 Million BTUs/cord – 5,050 lbs/cord (green) – 3,075 lbs/cord (dry)
Western Juniper – 26.4 M BTUs/cord – 5,410 lbs/cord (green) – 3,050 lbs/cord (dry)
Western Hemlock – 24.4 M BTUs/cord – 5,730 lbs/cord (green) – 2,830 lbs/cord (dry)
Port Orford Cedar – 23.4 M BTUs/cord – 4,370 lbs/cord (green) – 2,700 lbs/cord (dry)
Eastern Hardwood Species w/ Highest BTUs:
(Note: These are usually sold as dry wood in this region)
Osage Orange – 32.9 Million BTUs/cord – 4,728 lbs/cord (dry)
Shagbark Hickory – 27.7 M BTUs/cord – 4,327 lbs/cord (dry)
Eastern Hornbeam – 27.4 M BTUs/cord – 4,016 lbs/cord (dry)
Black Birch – 26.9 M BTUs/cord – 3,890 lbs/cord (dry)
Black Locust – 26.8 M BTUs/cord – 3,890 lbs/cord (dry)
Eastern Softwood Species w/ Highest BTUs:
Rocky Mountain Juniper – 21.6 Million BTUs/cord – 3,112 lbs/cord (dry)
Tamarack – 20.8 M BTUs/cord – 3,247 lbs/cord (dry)
Jack Pine/Norway Pine/Pitch Pine – 17.1 M BTUs/cord – 2,669 lbs/cord (dry)
Hemlock – 15.9 M BTUs/cord – 2,482 lbs/cord (dry)
Why do we have to include the softwood is because these woods are also preferred in combination with the hardwoods. Softwoods are easy to start a fire with and some of them release a flavorful smoke smell that can enhance the warm ambiance inside your home.
Buying firewood can sometimes be confusing especially if you live in a state and transferred to another state where stoves and fireplaces are the common fixtures in heating homes. Eventually, you may find that wood traders may have different terms and measurements in selling their firewood. And did you know that there are also sellers that scam people with their volumes of wood? This is true because we have experienced ourselves that what we got for a cord of firewood is less than what we usually get from our usual sellers.
So if you want to stock up on firewood, better stick with a trusted seller to buy the right amount of wood you need. If you still have some leftover firewood in your garage or shed but you wanted to store more, perhaps a rick of wood would do. But if you have a large shed for storage, it would be better if you have more supplies of wood because you’ll never know when you need more and firewood can become scarce and expensive once the winter sets in.
In our other blog, we discussed how much does a cord of wood weigh. This is to let you know that a cord of wood can have a different weight from another cord based on the type of woods that are stacked on piles, the moisture content of the wood and the lengths of the firewood pieces. We also have an article on how long does a cord of wood last because we get many inquiries from people who have their new stoves and fireplaces installed in their new homes.