How Many Ricks In A Cord – A Deeper Understanding

The cold season comes with a demand to heat your home, requiring you to know how many ricks in a cord you will need until the season ends.

Rick of wood measurements can be complicated, but it simply means how much wood is in one pile.  When wood is ready for sale, it is stuck up in piles to select how many they require.

Unlike what we know or think, there is a lot of history and math involved in wood chopping. If you are interested in knowing how much wood is a rick or preparing your wood for sale, read on to learn more.

What Is The Meaning Of Ricks In A Cord Of Firewood?

Rick is a segment of a cord of firewood. The wood in these segments is chopped, split, and stacked for drying. If you plan on cutting down a tree, do not burn the wood immediately. The wood is wet and will not give a good fire; instead, it will produce lots of smoke.  The wood must be cut in the right size and weathered before use.

When a tree is cut, it is full of water and sap.  These two properties keep the fire from burning properly. Burning green wood is not fun or advisable; it creates a deadly composite called creosote that can be deadly. Creosote from wood, when burned indoors, clogs your chimney and produces carbon monoxide that is deadly for your health.

How Many Ricks Are In A Cord?

No one rick is an actual description of how the cord should be stacked.  Normally, a standard cord of wood measures 4 x 4 x 8 feet; each section is known as a rick, and it measures 4-feet with a section of 16 to 18-inches of logs.

The ricks are split into 3 groups called face cords that create a cord’s entirety.  These are the most common measurements in the marketplace that most people use.

How To Prepare Wood Into Ricks In A Cord

One of the most backbreaking jobs is cutting and stacking firewood. The task is straightforward, but weathering and stacking the wood for the best results takes the most time.

Chopping and cutting wood is a dangerous job to undertake. You will need leather chainsaw chaps or any other protective gear to keep you safe. If you plan to cut a tree, you should hire a logger or a millworker with vast experience.

Here are the steps to undertake when preparing wood into ricks.

Step1:  Measure The Wood For Cutting

Before you start cutting, use a pencil or marker to measure your wood. Take your pencil and mark every 16 to 18-inches long on the surface of the wood. The marks show where to cut to allow the pieces to stack well. Advanced workers can notch the logs with their axes without having to measure.

Cold Steel All-Purpose Axe with Hickory Handle, Great for Wood Cutting and Splitting

Step 2:  Cut the Logs Into The Pre-Marked Measure Sections

Cut the wood into manageable pieces according to your measurements.  The manageable pieces help with cutting and splitting.  It also helps them weather faster as more area is exposed to the sun and wind.  Use a chainsaw to crosscut and make the cuts as square as possible to keep them evenly shaped.

Step 3: Split The Logs

Once you have your 16 to 18-inches logs, split them into manageable pieces.  Take the large 16 to 18-inch sections and split them into manageable logs. You will take plenty of time splitting to make the appropriate amount of wood. You will need about 128 square feet of lumber enough to fill the bed of a truck numerous times over.

Step 4:  Prepare The Ground Area For Stacking

Before you stack your split wood, ensure the wood is off the ground.  Laying it on the bare ground will cause bugs to start eating and allow dirt to embed on the wood.  The dirt keeps it from burning evenly.

Step 5:  Stack The Wood Into Cords

Once you prepare the ground, it’s time to do the actual stacking.  Stack the woods in neat rows that are attractive.  The wood will be essential to you in the coming winter days, so treat it with some love.

What Is The Meaning Of Ricks In A Cord Of Firewood

Step 6:  Cover The Wood Stacks

With the wood placed into ricks and cords, it’s best to cover it with a tarp. Use a tarp made from plastic to help the water run away from the pile. Please leave a little bit of space around the stack to keep it air.  Complete coverage will lead to mold and mildew growing inside the covers.

Your wood is ready for use when the cold months hit.  Dry wood is critical for warmth during the cold months. A mistake processing them could mean you are without heat for the cold months.

What Does Well-weathered Firewood Look Like?

Whether you are buying dry wood for your use or drying your own, it’s best to know how it looks like.

Having good wood to burn creates a soothing and peaceful ambiance in the house.  Getting rid of water and sap from the timber makes it easier to burn to make it much harder to break.

Here are some signs to look for when you are ready to use your stored wood or buy from a seller.

  • The Wood is Light – When all the water leaves the wood, it becomes so much lighter than usual.  Wood is made up of 25 percent water even when it is cut down. When the water dries out of the log, it becomes very light, and you can carry several pieces at once.
  • The Bark Easily Falls Off – The log’s bark should be loose or fall off with ease.  Water and sap keep the bark tight around the surface, but the bark falls off easily with the water gone.
The Bark Easily Falls Off
  • The Wood Has Cracked Ends – The cracked or split ends shows the wood is dry even on the inside.
  • They Are Grey In Color – When wood is dry, it loses its yellowish color and turns grey. Gray wood is ready for burning.  Deepening on the type of tree, the color could be white.
  • It Does Not Smell – Dry wood loses the original tree smell when it is ready to burn.  With the sap dried out, there is no scent left to the wood.  Smell a few pieces before burning them to see if they are dry inside.

Read more about What Does a Black Woolly Worm Mean?


Now that you know how big is a rick of wood in a cord, go ahead and inspect the one you are buying or stack it up against your own wood for sale.

Stacking and storing wood is an essential part of this whole process. Splitting up the wood and sorting it into ricks is a critical skill built through hard work and lots of labor.   If you leave your dry and wood covered, it will weather properly.


How big is a rick of firewood?

In the United States, a typical rick of firewood is about 4' x 8', with a volume of about 300 cubic feet. The average weight of a rick of firewood is about 250 pounds. In Canada, a typical rick of firewood is about 4' x 12', with a volume of about 1000 cubic feet.

Why should you keep your firewood in ricks?

If you have a rick, you have to make sure you have the right rope for it, and the knots are correct. I would recommend the rick because you get more practice with it, and the knots are pretty easy to learn.

Where does a rick of firewood come from?

There are a number of possible origins for this expression. One is the use of a stack of hayricks or stacks of hay to make a pile or stack of hay. The OED has an etymology for this that cites "a heap of hay", which may be an older variant of "a heap of rick" (OED, 1b).

Another is the stacking of hay in a haystack, which also would be a stack of hay. This is a fairly common phrase in the UK, and in Australia I have heard it used as well. In the US, it's not common, but I have heard it here and there.

How Many Ricks are In a Cord?

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as you might think. You can't simply take a standard cord and count the number of ricks in it. The reason for this is that not all ricks are created equal. Some are larger than others, some have different shapes, and some are even made from different materials. So, how do you know how many ricks there are in your cord?

One way to find out is to use the following formula: where: d is the diameter of the cord in inches L is the length of the cord in inches C is the circumference of the cord in inches n is the number of ricks in the cord.

So, if your cord is 1-inch wide and 100-inches long, and there are 10 ricks in it, then:

1-inch x 100 = 1,000,000 inches The circumference of a circle is: so, in this case, the circumference of the cord is 1,000,000 inches. The diameter of the circle is 1/2 the circumference. Therefore, the diameter of the cord is 1,000,000 ÷ 2 = 500,000 inches.