1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

converting 20 ft. logs to cordwood measurement?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by grsimmon, Dec 21, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. grsimmon

    grsimmon New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Bethel, Alaska
    This is my first post and hopefully putting it in the right place, if not somebody let me know.

    My local firewood salesmen and I are in a disagreement. I ordered and paid for 6 cords of wood; pine, straight, not much taper and all in 20 foot lengths. I am partially disabled so it takes me a while to buck and split it. (I know, I know, "get a splitter" and I plan to...). He delivered a few months ago and I recently got it finished, after all stacked it came to just under 5 cords. I'm trying to understand what's going on and am considering all options before I get mad. I am no stranger to cordwood, stacking, etc. but it is my first time buying log length and am trying to figure out what happened. Other possibilities:

    1. I am crazy.
    2. I am stupid.
    3. He is ripping me off (I checked out public records, and he does have a criminal history, so I'm a little suspicious)
    4. The wood has further seasoned and decreased in volume since delivery. It actually was 6 cords but it has now seasoned / shrunk to 5. I suppose it's at least remotely possible since it's pine and it's been a few months.
    5. Some definitions of proper cord stacking say to use only round wood (rounds), not splits. I've never heard that before but I see it here and there as I search on the web.
    6. ????


    He has a small booklet with tables that convert log dimensions into cordwood calculations. Anyone know what that booklet is, or the standardized name of those tables?

    He insists that he gave me 6 cords, but it's as plain as day that I have less than 5 cordpiles in my yard, stacked exactly 4x4x8. I should mention that wood is $400/cord where I live (western Alaska) due to high gas prices at the time of cutting, so I'd like to settle this soon if I can.

    Any thoughts, opinions, information, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. rphurley

    rphurley Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Messages:
    435
    Loc:
    Central/Eastern CT
    I hate to say it but sounds like you got boned! Don't feel too bad though because i've never gotten a true cord in my life. I think the only thing you can do is not by anymore wood from this guy and tell everyone you know that he ripped you off. Since he goes through this charade with charts etc. I think that he is aware that he is shorting you.
    I hope that somebody else can advise you of some course of action.
    Good luck.
  3. grsimmon

    grsimmon New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Bethel, Alaska
    Maybe. But the tables booklet he had seemed legit. I did find quite a few tables online for forest service workers, but most of those were for use with lumber (board feet) or sawmill by-products (cords of pulpwood, etc.). I wish I knew the damn name of that booklet....I kept measurements of the tree dimensions that he delivered. I'd ask him but he's not always easy to reach, go figure.
  4. Cedrusdeodara

    Cedrusdeodara Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Messages:
    146
    Loc:
    New Jersey
    You pay $400/cord for unbucked/unsplit 20ft logs??? Wow.... I'm buying a couple more chainsaws and moving to Alaska.
  5. rphurley

    rphurley Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Messages:
    435
    Loc:
    Central/Eastern CT
    I don't know too much about pine because burning it here is a taboo (although I do) but I wonder if you can account for consistant shrinkage! I wonder if 6 cords will always reduce to 5 or is there more variability due to water content. I got porked when I bought 2 cords in August from a guy down the street because I knew that his stuff has been seasoned for a year or two and I was desperate to get wood I could burn this year. He said a cord is more or less give or take but I can assure you it was certainly less but I knew it> was ready to burn. Now that I have some stuff seasoning I won't have to do business with him again. Did you say 400.00 a cord? I thought Alaska was made of trees :)
  6. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,601
    Loc:
    Adams County, PA
    Yeah I'd like to clarify, just how much did you pay for the load of logs?

    I gotta tell ya, I treat my lumber man real good. He brings a truckload, I say how much is on that bad boy? He says, 4 or 5 cord when ya get it split and stacked.

    I split it, stack it, and it comes out to 4.7 cord, that's nice yes?

    Just ordered up another load, all oak, $350.
  7. brisawyer

    brisawyer New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Virginia
    Time to dispute the measurement was when the logs were unloaded not a few months later. Next time get the log volume table and measure the timber with the logger when it arrives.
  8. grsimmon

    grsimmon New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Bethel, Alaska
    thanks for all replies so far.

    To be clear, I paid $2,400 for the load of trees, 6 cords @ $400 each. All 20 ft., diameters averaging around 17". I thought that was kind of expensive but from the sounds of at least 1 reply maybe not. Kind of ironic cause there are countless trees in Alaska but not around where I live, the "good ones" have to be floated down from upriver quite a ways. I hear what you're saying that I should have figured this out at the time of delivery, but not sure how. We shook hands and I asked for his word that if it was off, he'd make up the difference. But now he's balking. Anybody out there familiar with converting raw logs to cord measurements?
  9. grsimmon

    grsimmon New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Bethel, Alaska

    haaaaaa i Just got your joke. I know, that price is crazy but the price of gas out here is always way higher than Anchorage, and definitley higher than lower 48. Most of the woodcutter's gas was used in their boats to drag the log rafts down river. Right now our gas is stuck at $5.75! until our next barge shipment in the spring. Hoping that it'll come down to half that since our economy tanked.
  10. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,264
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    When is a cord a cord or not a cord? Ahh, the endless dilemma.

    Minnesota defines a cord as follows:

    Be sure that when cut, split and stacked into stove wood lengths, under the Minnesota rule, a cord is 120 cu ft, not 128 cu ft. Your lumber guy, with 20' logs, might have used a logger's log to cord scale acceptable in your area, or a weight to cord scale similarly acceptable. Without knowing more it is impossible to determine whether you actually were ripped off or you actually bought 6 cords under area acceptable standards.

    The time to agree on what you are buying is at the time you make the deal, as others have said. Knowledge is $$$. The best advice is to get educated before a person makes a deal in an area that requires special knowledge.
  11. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Messages:
    6,205
    Loc:
    Carver, MA.
    Boy it very expensive for wood in Alaska!!!! Here in Mass. I won't burn pine (I must be a wood snob) at all.. My property is loaded with white pines but I am afraid of the extra creosote from the sap in pine.. I paid $225 a cord for oak cut, split and delivered and they are real cords.. I heat my house on 3 cords a year and heat 24/7 with wood.. However fuel is much higher in Alaska so you'd expect to pay quite a bit more for things.. I will not comment on whether you got ripped off because up your way that may be the going price.. If wood was that expensive here I would stop burning altogether...

    Stay Warm,
    Ray
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Expensive to be sure, but living there, prices are going to be high for about everything. Just compare the gas price!

    I would not worry about the shrinkage as you will usually get less once you've bucked it all up. Don't forget too that a lot of that wood is now changed into sawdust.
  13. Frostbit

    Frostbit Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Messages:
    307
    Loc:
    Northwest Arctic Alaska
    To my knowledge Pine does not grow in the Kuskokwim river basin. I would venture a guess you got Spruce.
  14. grsimmon

    grsimmon New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    Bethel, Alaska
    Yeah you're right. Here's an interesting map of tree cover in Alaska that let's you select your region for more detail, you just scroll over the map. What town / village are you in? forgot to post the address it is: http://www.alaskawoodheating.com/availability.php
  15. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    You measure log lengths the same way you measure cordwood. The easiest way is to do it with a tape measure while it's still on the truck. Once it's unloaded, you don't have much choice but to cut it up and see. The logger knows exactly how much wood his truck holds, but you don't unless you measure it. $400 a cord is about 5X what we pay here in the Northeast for hardwood, so from my frame of reference, that's pretty steep. At $80, what's a stray cord here or there? But at $400, it starts to matter. If the truck was full when he delivered the load, you can measure it empty to find out how much wood it held.

    He may have had a booklet called "Log Rules and Other Useful Information," which is published by the Northeastern Loggers' Association. It doesn't have a table for direct conversions of logs to cords, but it probably wouldn't be that hard convince the uninitiated that it does. What it does is show you how to calculate board feet from round logs, which can then be roughly converted to cords.

    Some states have laws regarding the sale and measurement of firewood. If Alaska does, you might point that out to your supplier and offer to share your experience with the Dept. of Weights and Measures. Or better yet, sic the barracuda on him.
  16. carp

    carp New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Messages:
    32
    Loc:
    Ohio
    Have 20 people stack it and you will get 20 different measurements. It's simply volume of a cylinder for volume of the logs and then subtract the excepted amount for stacking(cord=wood+bark+air). A cord is 128 cuft stacked but less in real total volume of wood.

    One 20 footer at 17" diameter is about 32cuft. 4 logs = 128cuft of true volume. Stacked that would equal more than one cord since you can't repack as tight as the original log. I would guess 4 logs would be around 1.25 cords stacked. Air accounts for 25-40% of a stacked cords volume and each state seems to have it's own rules.

    You also have to account for everything your chainsaw removed since this was not delivered cut and split, which will add up over the course of 6 cords. Each chainsaw cut with a 1/4" chain at 17" diameter is .03 cuft of loss.


    I think the deal was fair if you took delivery of at least 19-20 20ft long 17" diameter logs
  17. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,995
    Loc:
    Rochester,ny

    Very good CARP.
    According to my woodlot tables chart for volume in cords (128cu.ft. including bark); 17" diameter tree at breast height and a 20' log will yield- .30 cords
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page