by Michael Kuhns, extension Specialist, and Tom Schmidt, Forester*


Wood is a resource of warmth used by many Utahns. An ext firewood will certainly be melted as the expense of other energy sources like gas and also electricity rises. In bespeak to use firewood effectively, an knowledge of species characteristics and firewood quantities is needed.

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Species Characteristics

Firewood native different species or species of trees varies commonly in warmth content, burning characteristics, and also overall quality. Table 1 gift several important burning features for most types used in Utah.

TABLE 1. Firewood Facts (Sorry for any gaps in the data)

species Weight (lbs./Cord) green weight (lbs./Cord) dry heat per Cord (Million BTUs) % of green Ash ease of splitting acting Sparks Coals Fragrance as whole Quality
Alder 2540 17.5 Easy Moderate Good Slight  
Apple 4850 3888 27.0 135 Medium Low Few Good Excellent Excellent
Ash, Green 4184 2880 20.0 100 Easy Low Few Good Slight Excellent
Ash, White 3952 3472 24.2 121 Medium Low Few Good Slight Excellent
Aspen, Quaking   2160 18.2   Easy   Few Good Slight  
Basswood (Linden) 4404 1984 13.8 69 Easy Medium Few Poor Good Fair
Beech   3760 27.5   Difficult   Few Excellent Good  
Birch 4312 2992 20.8 104 Medium Medium Few Good Slight Fair
Boxelder 3589 2632 18.3 92 Difficult Medium Few Poor Slight Fair
Buckeye, Horsechestnut 4210 1984 13.8 69 Medium Low Few Poor Slight Fair
Catalpa 4560 2360 16.4 82 Difficult Medium Few Good Bad Fair
Cherry 3696 2928 20.4 102 Easy Low Few Excellent Excellent Good
Chestnut     18.0           Good Good
Coffeetree, Kentucky 3872 3112 21.6 108 Medium Low Few Good Good Good
Cottonwood 4640 2272 15.8 79 Easy Medium Few Good Slight Fair
Dogwood   4230 High   Difficult   Few Fair    
Douglas-fir 3319 2970 20.7 103 Easy High Few Fair Slight Good
Elm, American 4456 2872 20.0 100 Difficult Medium Few Excellent Good Fair
Elm, Siberian 3800 3020 20.9 105 Difficult Medium Few Good Fair Fair
Fir, White 3585 2104 14.6 73 Easy Medium Few Poor Slight Fair
Hackberry 3984 3048 21.2 106 Easy Low Few Good Slight Good
Hemlock   2700 19.3   Easy   Many Poor Good  
Honeylocust 4640 3832 26.7 133 Easy Low Few Excellent Slight Excellent
Juniper, Rocky Mountain 3535 3150 21.8 109 Medium Medium Many Poor Excellent Fair
Larch (Tamarack)   3330 21.8   Easy-med   Many fair Slight Fair
Locust, Black 4616 4016 27.9 140 Difficult Low Few Excellent Slight Excellent
Maple, Other 4685 3680 25.5 128 Easy Low Few Excellent Good Excellent
Maple, Silver 3904 2752 19.0 95 Medium Low Few Excellent Good Fair
Mulberry 4712 3712 25.8 129 Easy Medium Many Excellent Good Excellent
Oak, Bur 4960 3768 26.2 131 Easy Low Few Excellent Good Excellent
Oak, Gambel     30.7            
Oak, Red 4888 3528 24.6 123 Medium Low Few Excellent Good Excellent
Oak, White 5573 4200 29.1 146 Medium Low Few Excellent Good Excellent
Osage-orange 5120 4728 32.9 165 Easy Low Many Excellent Excellent Excellent
Pine, Lodgepole 2610 21.1 Easy Many Fair Good Fair
Pine, Ponderosa 3600 2336 16.2 81 Easy Medium Many Fair Good Fair
Pine, White   2250


  Easy   Moderate poor Good  
Pinyon   3000 27.1   Easy   Many      
Poplar   2080 Low   Easy   Many Fair Bitter  
Redcedar, Eastern   2060 13.0   Easy Low Many Poor Slight Fair
Redcedar, Western 2950 2632 18.2 91 Medium Medium Many Poor Excellent Fair
Spruce 2800 2240 15.5 78 Easy Medium Many Poor Slight Fair
Spruce, Engelmann   2070 15.0 78 Easy   Few Poor Slight  
Sycamore 5096 2808 19.5 98 Difficult Medium Few Good Slight Good
Walnut, Black 4584 3192 22.2 111 Easy Low Few Good Good Excellent
Willow 4320 2540 17.6 88 Easy Low Few Poor Slight Poor

Green load is the load of a cord of freshly reduced wood prior to drying. Dry load is the load of a cord after wait drying. Green firewood may contain 50% or an ext water through weight. Eco-friendly wood produces much less heat because heat must be supplied to boil off water before combustion can occur. Environment-friendly wood also produces much more smoke and creosote (material that deposits top top inside walls of chimneys and may cause chimney fires) than dry wood. Firewood have to therefore constantly be purchased dry or permitted to dry before burning. Dried wood might cost more than environment-friendly wood due to the fact that it produces an ext heat and is less complicated to handle.

A wood"s dry load per volume, or density, is important due to the fact that denser or heavier lumber contains much more heat every volume. Osage-orange is a an extremely dense firewood with limited availability in Utah. It"s included here to display what a an extremely dense wood is like. The contains almost twice the warmth by volume that cottonwood, one of our lightest woods. In general it is best to purchase or gather thick woods such as oak, difficult maple, or ash. Hardwoods, or woods indigenous broadleaved trees, often tend to it is in denser than softwoods or woods from conifers. Some firewood dealers offer "mixed hardwood" firewood. This may or may not it is in desirable, depending upon the ratio of low- thickness hardwoods such as cottonwood that space included.

The lot of warm per cord the dry hardwood is gift in Table 1. Heat content is presented as a percent that dry environment-friendly ash, a fairly common, thick firewood. Values above 100 denote a greater heat contents than eco-friendly ash and below 100 a lower warm content.

Table 1 likewise contains details on other qualities that identify firewood quality. Ease of dividing is important since larger piece of wood need to lifwynnfoundation.orgally be separation for great drying and also burning. Fragrance and tendency to smoke and spark are most important when hardwood is burned in a fireplace. Woods the spark or pop have the right to throw embers the end of an open up fireplace and cause a fire danger. Conifers often tend to perform this more because of your high resin content. Woods that form coals are great to use in wood stoves due to the fact that they permit a fire come be brought overnight effectively.

Firewood Volume

Though firewood dry load is essential for determining warm content, firewood is typically bought and sold by volume. The most typical unit the firewood volume is the cord, also known as a typical or full cord. A cord is one evenly-stacked pile containing 128 cubic feet that wood and also air space. Though a cord have the right to be piled in any shape, a conventional cord is normally thought of as a stack of timber 4 feet tall, 8 feet long, and also 4 feet deep (Figure 1). To number the number of cords in an additional size or form pile, determine the pile"s cubic foot volume and divide by 128. A randomly-piled stack of timber will normally contain much more air and also less hardwood than one nicely piled.

Some dealers sell wood by the challenge cord or brief cord (Figure 2). A face cord is a stack of hardwood 4 feet high, 8 feet long, and also as deep as the pieces space long. Pieces are typically 12 come 18 inch long, therefore a challenge cord may contain 32 come 48 cubic feet the wood and also air.

Another common firewood measure up is the pickup load (Figure 3). This is a an extremely imprecise yet common measure. A full-size pickup v a traditional bed have the right to hold around 1/2 the a full cord or 64 cubic feet when loaded also with the optimal of the bed. Small pickups hold much less. Random loading will decrease this lot further.

A randomly-piled ridge or pickup pack of hardwood will contain more air and also less timber than one neatly stacked. Crooked, little diameter, and also knotty or branchy pieces likewise reduce the lot of timber in a pile.


Figure 1. Typical Cord

Total Volume = 128 cubic feet


Figure 2. Face Cord

Total Volume = 32 to 48 cubic feet (depending on piece length)


Figure 3. Pickup Load

Approximate complete Volume = 64 cu. Ft.

Buying Firewood

Species, volume, dryness, and also need for splitting should be thought about when buying firewood. The information here and also in other publications should offer you the an easy information you will should be an notified buyer. However, learning your dealer is the best method to ensure that you are getting what you are paying for.

For an ext Information

A number of good publications are obtainable to help you learn more about making use of firewood for heating.

Burning Wood and Coal through Susan Mackay, L. Dale Baker, john W. Bartok, Jr., and also James P. Lassoie. 1985. Northeast local Agricultural design Service, Riley Robb Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. (607)256-7654. 90 pp.

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* Tom Schmidt is a previous Forester because that the Nebraska woodland Service. This web page is based partially on a college of Nebraska fact sheet titled "Heating v Wood: varieties Characteristics and also Volumes".