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Have I been tough on the wood delivery guy?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by daveswoodhauler, Aug 27, 2009.

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  1. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Read this on a link posted in another thread, and I started to think if I have been missing something.
    I see a lot of folks selling cordwood, and when they show pics of the stacks thay are 4X4X8, but they are stacked criss cross (lots of gaps to allow airflow...like 3 big splits per layer, but air gaps where you could fit 2 smaller splits in between the larger ones) I always figured that they were only about 2/3rds of a cord due to all the gaps, but then saw this:

    Weight and Heat content figures are based on seasoned wood at 20% moisture content, and 85 cu ft of wood per cord. A "cord" of wood is defined as a stack 4 feet high, 4 feet thick and 8 feet long. (A cord has about 85 cu ft of wood and not 128, because of the air spaces between the pieces). "Face cords" are often sold. These are amounts of wood that are still 4 feet high and 8 feet long, but of a lesser depth than 4 feet. Commonly, wood for sale is cut to 16 inches long, and stacked as a face cord. This is 1/3 of an actual cord, and it is also called a "rank" or "rick" or "stove cord" or "fireplace cord".

    Perhaps this is just their testing guidelines? but it would seem that if folks stack in rows with no air gaps, the btu figures would be much greater than those posted?

    http://mb-soft.com/juca/print/firewood.html

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, we ran this discussion through the grinder here awhile back. Basically the discussion ended with the agreement that the 4x4x8 measurement is an "area" measurement, not necessarily indicative of the cu ft of wood that it contains.

    In other words. Air gaps take up alot of space. (by the way, the prior discussion was based on weight of a cord using the 128 cu ft and the 85 cu ft units of measure.)
  3. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet Minister of Fire

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    In Oregon, the Dept of Weights and Measures defines a cord of wood as: "4'x4'x8' tightly stacked.

    While a lot of people (including some wood sellers) will cross-stack their wood to speed drying or stabilize the ends of a stack, if the whole cord is cross-stacked, then the 4'x4'x8' measurement is no longer valid in my book....it HAS to be 128 cu ft. tightly stacked in order to be a true cord.

    NP
  4. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I wonder how consistently cords can be stacked. For example, If I have a 4x4x8 cord stacked, sell it to you, and you restack in another place, would you also end up with a 4x4x8 ft stack, or would your stack be larger or smaller due to differences in how we stack? How much excess or deficit is reasonable? I have to guess that at least a 10 or 20% difference would be reasonable even with two people honestly trying to stack a standard cord.
  5. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    I think it is in Minn. regulations that state a cord of wood is 4'x4'x8' of which no more than 25% of the volume could be air space.
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    From some of the pics I've seen of wood stacks, I agree that there could easily be 10% variation and 20% is plausible. Heck, I see close to 10% in shrinkage alone so when I buy 12 cord of green wood I loose a cord. Should I go back to my seller and demand another cord?
  7. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah - I hate shrinkage. :red:
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    ilikewood, that sounds like pure bull to me.

    If you stack in a cross stack and use just 2 pieces per layer, that is a lot of air (not unlike some we get on this forum!). We use the cross stack for ends but usually fill the holes with kindling wood. And I will guarantee you when I stack 128 cu. ft. of wood there is a lot more than 85 cu. ft. in that stack of wood. That is 1/3 shrinkage according to them!!! Wow! Based on that we probably have about 50 cords of wood on hand.

    I like the part about the face cord being 4' x 8' x 16" and 3 of them making a cord. But if you took those 3 face cords and stacked them criss cross, you'd get a whole lot more than a cord using their methods.

    Nope. It is pure bull and might be useful as fertilizer only.
  9. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I read through some of that link - I question the validity of the research on the site also since they claim (undocumented) "research" into wood drying that says "Two-foot long cut pieces take about six or seven months for similar acceptability" and conclude "There appears to be no value in drying firewood more than about nine months".

    I'm afraid my own personal experience so far is well out of sync with these statements - none of my oak that has been split for 7 months is anywhere near 20% MC - it isn't even at 30% yet - I somehow doubt it will fall that last 10% in the next two months and certainly isn't "acceptable" for burning yet it is all well under 2 foot in length.

    There do seem to be some good facts sprinkled in there but I wonder where exactly the came up with the rest - if only they would cite the sources including their "experimental evidence." I tend to wonder about how much personal opinion the author has inserted without actual evidence to back it up.
  10. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    2.4.1.2. Cord. - The amount of wood that is contained in a space of 128 cubic feet when the wood is ranked and well stowed. For the purpose of this regulation, "ranked and well stowed" shall be construed to mean that pieces of wood are placed in a line or row, with individual pieces touching and parallel to each other, and stacked in a compact manner.

    as taken from the NIST Handbook 130 (2006 version)
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