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Published on: Jan. 2, 2007

Last revision: Nov. 30, 2010

by people to sell wood can cause confusion about how much wood you are actually getting.

The standard unit of measure for firewood is the cord, which measures 128 cubic feet. This may be 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet or any other combination of height, depth and width that when multiplied out yields 128 cubic feet. Some people call a third of a cord or a half of a cord a rick, even though that word really only means a pile of wood of no certain size.

Another common term used in selling firewood is a face cord, which measures 4 feet by 8 feet. The wood pieces in a face cord might be anywhere between 14 and 24 inches long. Obviously, the length of the wood, which is often not specified, determines how much fuel is contained in the face cord. Rank and fireplace cord usually mean the same as face cord.

Missouri law requires that in any sale of firewood a bill of sale be provided showing the name and address of the purchaser and the seller, and the cords or fractions of a cord involved in the sale.

Cutting Wood

Wood you cut yourself warms you twice, as the old adage goes, both when you cut it and when you burn it. Cutting your own firewood has a third advantage of allowing you to improve the health of your forest.

Taking out unhealthy trees or poorly growing trees from your forest frees desirable trees from competition and gives them more opportunity to thrive.

When choosing trees to cut for firewood always look for undesirable species, lowforked or crooked trees, trunks with fire scars, swellings or bumps, spreading trees with excessive limbs or multiple trunks that sprout from a single stump.

Avoid trying to make your woodland look like a park by removing brush and small trees in the understory. Low-growing fruiting shrubs like ironwood, redbud and dogwood are important to wildlife. They provide food and cover without severely competing with the taller trees.

Nor, in your zeal to thin your forest, should you cut all of the den trees. Den trees provide homes for wildlife. Leaving a few dead trees (snags) per acre creates habitat for woodpeckers, bats and several other species of wildlife.

If you want to provide lots of cover and valuable food for many different species of wildlife, try removing all the trees around a field edge. This practice is called

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