rick vs cord of wood

Rick vs Cord of Wood – How Do They Differ?

When you think of measuring the wood, the first thing that comes to mind is using measuring tape or a ruler – simple and straightforward. But even in woodwork and carpentry, specific units are followed. An unusual term encountered with measuring wood is “rick” and “cord” What exactly do they measure? And what is the difference between a rick vs cord of wood?

A “cord” and “rick” of wood are both unit measures applied to piles of wood. You might have heard of these words before if you’ve purchased wood in bulk, especially firewood. Your accuracy of measurement is important in carpentry, wherein leaning off the scale can result in a failed project with lousy quality. Let’s explore these terms more to know their importance whenever you do your wood shopping.

The Difference of a Rick vs Cord of Wood:

What is a Cord of Wood?

1 whole cord of wood refers to a neat tight stack that generally measures 4 feet high (1.2 m) by 4 feet wide(1.2 m) by 8 feet long (2.4 m), which is overall 128 cubic feet (3.5 cubic meters). On average, a log of wood can be 8 feet long when purchased from wood suppliers and farms. 1 cord is plenty of wood, so mention this only if you’re working on a large project or if you just need an extra supply for future use. For a clearer picture, 1 full cord of wood is about 2 to 3 truckloads.

The term originated from the early 17th century when piles of wood logs were packed by lumberjacks in a cord for sale.

The amount of useful wood a cord contains may vary depending on factors such as the type of wood, the size and straightness of the pieces, and the amount of bark present. A full cord is also known as a face cord. The two units share the same measure, but the term face cord is often used to describe the amount of wood in the pile by just eyeballing it.

At a more complex level, many wholesalers will use the term thrown cord, a rough measurement of a woodpile dumped into a truck, more concerned with volume rather than length and width.

The cord measurement is applied to wood that is used in household furnishings and handicrafts. These are often softwoods that can be trimmed and chopped easily.

What is a Rick of Wood?

Unlike a cord, a rick of firewood is not a consistent measurement. That is why when buying a rick of wood, the amount to be received is often unpredictable. Simply, the length of the logs directly impacts the amount of wood a person will receive. A general rule of thumb is that a rick of wood is ⅓ the amount you get in a full cord of wood. Some sellers or suppliers may refer to a rick as a rank or rack of wood. The term is loosely interchanged with a face cord, but a cord of wood still has a more accurate measurement than a rick.

A rick of wood measures about 16 to 18 inches in length, the average size of firewood or what some people call a “stove cord”, but this varies among suppliers. This measurement is an ideal choice if you only need a few logs for fuel or small woodwork projects. Bring your own measuring tape when purchasing a rick to get the most out of your buck and the right quantity for its purpose.

A rick of wood may be softwood or hardwood, so it’s good to ask your supplier first what options are available, and what they can recommend for you. If you need the rick of wood for fuel, some suppliers sell the wood pre-seasoned so you can burn it right away. Hardwood is usually preferred as firewood due to its slow and long-lasting burn, thus producing more heat – an essential during cold seasons. 


Congratulations! You’ve just learned the difference between a rick vs cord of wood. You might think buying wood is all pre-measured length, width, height, and weight. In wholesale purchases, however, large quantities of freshly chopped logs need a unit of measurement that can accurately describe the volume of wood you’re receiving. 

Despite being old English terms, “cord” and “rick” of wood serve as the standard measurement when purchasing logs in bulk, especially as firewood or for furnishings. The two terms tend to be interchanged, but there are average measurements to distinguish the difference of a rick vs a cord of wood. 

You can get a cord of wood in neatly stacked piles that are tightly bound together. A full cord of wood is about 2-3 full trucks, so this is your option when you have a big project in mind or need to stock up.

A rick of wood is a rough measurement, loosely based on the length of the log. A rick of wood can be the only ⅓ of a cord and is best for small projects, commonly used as firewood for its size.



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