If you have just gotten a firepit or fireplace and are new to purchasing firewood, you might be curious as to what all of these names are that you’re hearing. There are all kinds of names for the various sizes of firewood that retailers will sell.
You may hear terms such as cord, face cords, half cords, quarter face, quarter cord, an eighth of a cord, and so on. One such term that you may hear about is known as a “rick” of wood.
When you know what a rick of wood is, it will be the key to understanding the various names and sizes attached to firewood.
What Is a Rick of Wood?
A rick of wood is a stack of firewood that is eight feet long and four feet tall. It can be offered in a number of different widths depending on which firewood supplier you choose. The widths can vary based on local markets, region, or supplier as well.
A rick of wood is also sometimes referred to as a face cord. Generally speaking, you will find a rick or face cord of wood in 12-, 16-, or 24-inch options. This means that each of the logs of firewood within that stack are going to be one of the aforementioned lengths.
The most common size for firewood logs is about 16 inches or so.
Where Does “Rick” Come From?
The term “rick” actually comes from an old English word meaning pile or stack. It tends to refer to farm-related stacks such as wood, corn, hay, and a variety of other things.
It eventually made its way into North America and is still quite common to hear, especially in the midwestern United States.
Before we truly understand what a rick of wood is and how big it can be, it’s a good idea to know how big a cord of wood tends to be. Cords of wood tend to be a stack that is about four feet high by four feet wide and around eight feet long.
A rick is a fraction of the full cord. A full cord, generally speaking, is around 48 inches wide.
Here’s a little bit of a helper to compare ricks to cords. If you have a 12-inch wide rick, that is equal to a quarter of a cord. If you have a 16-inch wide rick, that’s about a third of a cord of wood. A 24-inch wide rick is equal to a half cord of wood.
For this reason, it is imperative to know just how wide the rick of firewood that you’re looking to purchase is. Even with this helpful measuring standard, keep in mind that vendors and regions can vary in their measurements.
Don’t assume a size as it could fall short of what you need. Make sure to take the time to call the vendor early on when selecting your rick of wood.
What Does a Rick of Wood Weigh?
Again, this varies based on the sizes that you choose. Not only that, it depends on the type of firewood that you are choosing.
The heavier types of wood are white and red oaks. The heavier ricks out there can come in at almost two and a half tons (or 5,500 lbs). That’s just in a single cord.
The lighter types of firewood out there will be spruces. Even then, a full cord will run about a ton and a quarter (or 2,500 lbs).
With the width numbers from above, you can range from around 625 lbs on the lower end of things to nearly 3,000 lbs on the higher end.
How Many Pieces Are in a Rick of Wood?
Generally speaking, there are between 550 and 650 pieces of seasoned wood that need splitting in a single cord of wood.
This all depends on how well it has been cut and if the wood has been packed tightly. In a rick, you’re looking at around 275 to 325 pieces of firewood.
Make sure to plan ahead and talk to the distributor as the varying lengths can change depending on what region you’re in. Again, you don’t want to plan for a certain amount of wood only to end up with less than you wanted.
What Will a Rick of Wood Cost?
Like anything else about a rick of wood, it depends on your region and vendor. For a rick or face cord of oak, you can expect to pay between $150 and $250.
Prices can and will vary based on the type of wood that you choose (black locust, red oak, maple, and so on), if it has been seasoned, how it’s been seasoned (air or kiln dried), the specific local market, and so on.
With all of those factors involved, it is more likely you’ll get a wide range than a more specific price. Still, you can budget somewhere toward the higher end of the scale to play it safe and ensure that you get the amount of wood that you need without being stunned by the price.
Some opt to pick up the wood themselves to save on delivery fees. While this may be ideal, not everyone has a truck for loading their own firewood.
So, if you plan to get it delivered, make sure that you count on a delivery fee of around $1 to $2 for every loaded mile.
There are some suppliers that will charge only after a specific number of miles have been driven to save the fees from getting out of control. If it’s your first time getting a delivery, it couldn’t hurt to ask if the first one will be waived.
There are plenty of suppliers that do provide a free wood delivery, but just make sure that you anticipate this cost when you are budgeting and researching the different vendors out there. You’d rather plan ahead and not have to pay the fee than not plan for the fee and be blindsided by the additional cost.
Some suppliers may also charge a stacking fee. This can run in the $20 to $30 range, but there are plenty of vendors that will do it for free. If you have no interest in stacking the wood yourself, check with the vendor first.
Some vendors may not even have a stacking option, so check out all of the options before you complete your order.
Storing Your Firewood
When you’ve made your purchase, storing the firewood properly is of the utmost importance. Buying a rick, cord, or any other measurement of firewood is certainly not inexpensive and the last thing that you want is to let it go to waste.
Perhaps you’ve had it delivered but not stacked. What do you do with the firewood now? If you decided to have it split and dried, all that’s left is to simply stack it in your spot of choice.
Where you stack it is important; you need to be able to get to it conveniently throughout the winter and it’s a good idea to cover it.
If the firewood that you had delivered is either wet or green and isn’t split, there’s a lot more work left to do. The first thing to do is split them up into more manageable pieces.
This is for two reasons: to make it easier to carry and to make burning better in the appliance you are using it for.
Should the firewood be wet or green, you’ll need to find an open airspace so that it can dry as you stack it. How efficiently and quickly the wood dries all depends on how you choose to pile or stack the wood. It is also important to remember to stack off of the ground, too.
Keeping your firewood off the ground comes down to your preference between bricks, logs, and pallets. The most common, popular, and practical method is to go with row stacking. You can have stakes at the ends of the pile or simply cross tie it to secure it.
There is definitely one near-foolproof way of cross tying. When you split the wood, try to make several square pieces. This makes the ends of the stack stronger than if you used odd shaped or rounded pieces in its place.
This also saves a ton of effort and time. Besides, there is nothing worse than stacking up the firewood only for it to fall over because of the poorly tied ends.
It is also highly recommended that you do not stack between trees. As sturdy as you may think those trees are, tree movement is real, and it will lead to the stacks of firewood toppling over.
You can try the circle piling and heap piling methods but the best overall method for a quicker dry is to use single row stacking.
Should you decide to stack more than a single row, make sure that you leave a good amount of space between each of the rows. This is to provide proper air circulation so that the wood remains dry at all times.
When wood is stacked together too tightly, moisture can build in those crevices.
Of course, these are all conventional means of stacking firewood. You can definitely use your imagination and get creative with the way you stack your wood. There are plenty of opinions online for how to stack wood effectively and creatively.
However you decide to stack the firewood, it is important that it be kept tight, neat, and tidy. A messy stack might not be a big deal, but it won’t look very good.
Try to keep in mind what the neighbors might be looking at when they glance over your fence.
Racks, Holders, and What to Burn
It is highly recommended that you only burn dried wood. Using greenwood can lead to way more smoke than is comfortable.
Keep that in mind when you’re stacking, too. You want to be able to get to the driest wood first and foremost.
Rotating is a good idea, too. Maybe burn some of the oldest pieces that are in the stack to prevent the chance that the wood could rot over time.
You want to be able to get through the entirety of the rick or cord and letting pieces go to waste is not how you do that.
As far as stacking, there are also holders and racks that can make things easier. Best of all, the racks and holders can be used both indoors and outdoors should you choose to keep your firewood in the garage or a large shed.
If you do plan on keeping firewood in your home, it is a good idea to only keep a few days’ worth at one time. Firewood can attract a lot of unwanted pests.
Not only that, it can result in dirt as well as debris in the form of bark pieces. If that weren’t enough, the pollen that gets stuck to the wood can be bad on allergies.
Making sure the wood is dry is not only important for burning but storing in your home as well. If you bring wood that is wet into your home, there’s a chance that the moisture trapped in the wood can lead to higher levels of humidity in your home.
This humidity can be very uncomfortable to live with.
Now that you know the different sizes in a cord or rack, as well as what they could cost, you can plan for the winter ahead. Firewood can make for a more homey, potentially less expensive source of heat than gas depending on where you live.
Making use of firewood is something that is relatively easy to do, but it will take some planning and some work to pull off. Make sure that you get the proper stack and that you effectively and carefully stack your wood so that it will last throughout the winter.
With all of these tools in hand, you can keep your home nice and toasty throughout the coldest months of the year.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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Sunday 9th of May 2021
Great article Ben, thanks. I just recently retired from the sheriff's dept here in McMinn County, Tennessee, after a near fatal event with Covid-19. After almost 40 years as a deputy sheriff, here in Tennessee and Southern California, I'm going to do something I enjoy; split firewood and, if the boss here at home let's me, sell some of it for supplemental income, at least sell enough of it to pay for the splitter she let me buy, (I just do what I'm told, haha). I appreciate Your help. You and your family be blessed Brother and please be safe.
Monday 10th of May 2021
Thanks and I'm glad to hear that your health is back after the nasty virus!