Cord (unit of volume)

Cord (unit of volume)

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The cord is a unit of measure of dry
Dry measure
Dry measures are units of volume used to measure bulk commodities which are not gas or liquid. They are typically used in agriculture, agronomy, and commodity markets to measure grain, dried beans, and dried and fresh fruit ; formerly also salt pork and fish...

Volume is the quantity of three-dimensional space enclosed by some closed boundary, for example, the space that a substance or shape occupies or contains....

 used in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 to measure firewood
Firewood is any wood-like material that is gathered and used for fuel. Generally, firewood is not highly processed and is in some sort of recognizable log or branch form....

 and pulpwood
Pulpwood refers to timber with the principal use of making wood pulp for paper production.-Applications:* Trees raised specifically for pulp production account for 16% of world pulp production, old growth forests 9% and second- and third- and more generation forests account for the balance...

. A cord is the amount of wood that, when "ranked and well stowed" (arranged so pieces are aligned, parallel, touching and compact), occupies a volume of 128 cubic feet (3.62 m³). This corresponds to a well stacked woodpile 4 feet (121.9 cm) wide, 4 feet (122 cm) high, and 8 feet (243.8 cm) long; or any other arrangement of linear measurements that yields the same volume.

The name cord probably comes from the use of a cord or string
A rope is a length of fibres, twisted or braided together to improve strength for pulling and connecting. It has tensile strength but is too flexible to provide compressive strength...

 to measure it.


In Canada, the cord is legally defined by Measurement Canada
Measurement Canada
Measurement Canada is a Canadian government agency of Industry Canada whose mission is "to ensure equity and accuracy where goods and services are bought and sold on the basis of measurement, in order to contribute to a fair and competitive marketplace for Canadians." The agency is headed by a...

. According to the Weights and Measures Act
Weights and Measures Act (R.S. 1985)
Weights and Measures Act is a Canadian law governing the units of measurements used in Canada.Originally passed in 1970 as part of the federal government's plan for metrication of Canada from Imperial measures, it was stopped in 1985 and changes were made to the Act...

 in Canada, the only correct measurements of firewood and pulpwood are the cord and fractions thereof (e.g., half cord, quarter cord).

In the United States, the cord is defined by statute
A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations...

 in most states. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology Handbook 130, section, defines a cord and provides uniform regulations for the sale of fireplace and stove wood. In the metric system
Metric system
The metric system is an international decimalised system of measurement. France was first to adopt a metric system, in 1799, and a metric system is now the official system of measurement, used in almost every country in the world...

, wood is usually measured in stere
The stere or stère is a unit of volume in the original metric system equal to one cubic metre. The name was coined from the Greek στερεός stereos 'solid' in 1793 France as a metric equivalent to the cord. The stère is typically used for measuring large quantities of firewood or other cut wood,...

s and cubic metre
Cubic metre
The cubic metre is the SI derived unit of volume. It is the volume of a cube with edges one metre in length. An alternative name, which allowed a different usage with metric prefixes, was the stère...

s: 1 stere = 1 m³ ≈ 0.276 cords.

Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

 appears unique among U.S. states by also defining a "loose thrown cord" or pile of cut firewood: "A cord of 12 or in length shall mean the amount of wood, bark and air contained in a space of 180 cubic feet (5.1 m³); and a cord of wood 24 inches (61 cm) in length shall mean the amount of wood, bark and air contained in a space of 195 cubic feet (5.5 m³). [1981, c. 219 (amd).]"

Other non-official terms for firewood volume include standing cord, kitchen cord, running cord, face cord, fencing cord, country cord, long cord, and rick, all subject to local variation. These are usually taken to mean a well-stacked pile of wood in which the logs are shorter or longer than in a legal cord, to accommodate various burners. For example, a face cord commonly consists of wood that is 16 inches (40.6 cm) long. The volume of a face cord therefore is 1/3 of the volume of a full cord even though it is 8 feet (244 cm) long and 4 feet (122 cm) high.


Main article: Heating value of firewood

One cord of red oak
Red oak
Red oak may refer to:*Lobatae, a group of oak trees*Quercus rubra, the northern red oak, a tree native to southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States* Agkistrodon contortrix, a venomous snake species found in North America...

 has the heating equivalent of 108 US gal (90 imp gal; 409 l) of fuel oil
Fuel oil
Fuel oil is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. Broadly speaking, fuel oil is any liquid petroleum product that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash...

The price for a cord of mixed hardwood in 2010 ranged from $50 in parts of Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

, $60 in parts of Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, $80 in Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, $185.00 in Northern Maine, $200 in the US Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

 and Atlantic Northeast
Atlantic Northeast
The Atlantic Northeast, or Arcadia, is a region of North America, comprising New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. Definitions of the region vary; it may extend to upstate New York and/or all of Atlantic Canada....

 to $400 on the East Coast
East Coast of the United States
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, refers to the easternmost coastal states in the United States, which touch the Atlantic Ocean and stretch up to Canada. The term includes the U.S...

. A face cord of firewood cut to 16", split, delivered and stacked cost $100-125 in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...


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