What’s the difference between firewood and cord wood? The distinction may not seem significant to most people. Logs are logs, right? Well, not exactly. For those making frequent use of their fireplace, knowing what separates these two kinds of fuel can save you hundreds of dollars on cleaning costs.
Cord wood are firewood logs cut and split into conveniently sized pieces that are easy to carry or stack in a wood pile. They’re what you see being sold at stores. The term actually comes from the “cord” or string used to tie the logs into a bundle. Firewood, on the other hand, is simply any wood intended to be burned.
While either functions well enough, cordwood is easier to store and seasons faster than unsplit logs. This means your fires will burn more efficiently and cleaner, preventing dangerous creosote from building up in your chimney. You can read up on the proper way to season firewood in our previous blog post.
However, “cord” doesn’t just indicate a type of log, it’s also a unit of measurement. How much firewood is in a cord of wood? Typically, between 600 and 800 pieces. More specifically, it is however much fits into a 4′ high x 4′ wide x 8′ long pile of firewood. If you want to purchase a consistent amount, buying a cord is your best option. That way, you’re guaranteed to always receive the same volume of fire logs regardless of their individual size.
If a full cord is a bit much for your needs, you can always purchase a smaller amount called a “face cord.” While a face cord also measures 4′ high x 8′ long, widths can vary. This means the volume can range anywhere between a half a cord to a third depending on the seller, so make sure you ask for exact measurements before buying.