rick of wood and cord of wood

What is a Rick of Wood and How is it Different From a Cord?

In Exterior Wood, Tips by Jamie

Are you thinking about buying or using firewood in your home? While searching for the right wood, you may have come across the terms “rick” or “cord.” While these may sound like nothing more than a simple name, they’re actually important to know the difference between them.

While these two terms are similar, a rick actually refers to the individual sections stacked in a full cord. A cord of wood, on the other hand, is a 4 X 4 X 8-foot block of chopped firewood.

In this article, we’ll go into full detail about the difference between a cord and a rick of wood. By the time you finish reading, you should have a good idea of how to differentiate the two terms.

What is a Rick of Wood?

In short, a rick of wood simply refers to the way a cord of wood is stacked. Each section of a cord is considered a “rick.” Because the way a cord is stacked can vary, a rick of wood can have an infinite number of measurement possibilities.

Typically, a rick of wood will be one-third of a cord and measure out to roughly 16 inches. A rick of wood is sometimes referred to as a “face cord” and the size, weight, and other measurements largely depend on the area in which you’re trying to purchase the wood.

Where Does the Name “Rick” Come From?

The word “rick” originally comes from an old English word that refers to a stack or pile of something. The original use of this word could have referred to a variety of farm items including hay, sticks, and corn to name a few. The term “rick” is still widely used this way, and the meaning is the same all around.

What is a Cord of Wood?

A cord of wood usually consists of three ricks. While a rick refers to one section of a pile, the pile itself is considered a cord. Cords of wood are measured by volume, so they don’t always look identical. However, you always end up with the same volume of firewood, regardless of the shape or size of the pile.

cord of wood measurements

Where Does the Name “Cord” Come From?

The use of “cord” in measurement reportedly dates all the way back to the 1600s. During that time, wood was sold in bundles. These bundles were wrapped in a cord, therefore giving the unit of measurement its name. While its origins likely had various measurements attributed to the “cord,” today, a single cord measures out to a volume of 128 cubic feet.

What is the Difference Between a Rick and a Cord of Wood?

The main difference between a rick and a cord of wood is that one refers to an entire bundled pile (the cord), while the other refers to a section of the pile in question (a rick). In most cases, one cord will consist of three ricks. However, cords that have a shorter and wider shape may have more than three cords as the volume is dispersed in a wider range.

Which is Bigger?

A cord refers to the entire pile, which makes it the bigger of the two. With that said, some cords of wood are placed in a way that the volume of both the cord and each of its ricks have the same amount of volume. In terms of the actual measurements of each individual piece of firewood, these logs will all likely equal out to the same amount.

Rick vs Cord Measurements

When it comes to size measurements of ricks and cords, a cord measures out to a 4 X 4 X 8-foot block of wood bundled together. On the other hand, a rick is said to measure out to an 8 X 4-foot stack of wood that measures out to 16-18 inches deep.

The height and width of the rick and cord both measure out to the same amount. However, a cord measures out to be four feet deep while a rick only measures out to 16-18 inches.

Rick vs Cord Weights

The total volume of a cord always measures out to 128 cubic feet, however, the weight can vary depending on the way a cord is stacked together. The weight also varies by soft or hardwood consistency as well as the wet or dryness of the wood in question. Wet wood will weigh more and have more density while dry wood will appear lighter. While a hardwood cord can weigh around 5,000 pounds, a softwood cord can weigh half of that amount.

Rick and Cord Costs

The cost of a rick or cord very much depends on where you live. States are responsible for regulating the price and sale of firewood, so some areas may charge more while others will be more affordable.

Along with your general location, there are other things that dictate how much a rick or cord of wood will cost. The thickness of the wood in question, whether or not the logs are split, the level of moisture in each wood piece, how clean the wood is, and what time of year you’re in all factor into the total cost of the wood.

Generally, firewood is cheaper during the spring and summer than it is during fall or winter. During the warmer months, a cord of wood will cost around $150-$250. On the other hand, you may be looking at $350-$500 if you’re buying in the colder season.

With these cord prices in mind, you’ll likely be looking at paying $50-$85 for a single rick during summer and spring, and $115-$170 for a rick during winter or fall.

Firewood Measurement FAQs

How do I Know a Rick or Cord is Good Quality?

To make sure the bundle of firewood is of good quality, it’s smart to know about the attributes of the firewood you’re looking for. If you know what a certain species is supposed to look like, you can inspect the rick or cord the seller shows you to make sure you’re getting the correct product. It’s also smart to check the rick or cord for dampness and mold before paying as well as stacking the wood in your truck first.

How Do I Properly Store My Firewood?

The most important thing for you to do is to make sure the firewood isn’t stored any closer than five feet from your home’s foundation. Doing this will ensure that pests like termites or other bugs won’t make their way into your home.

Stack the wood away from any wooden wall and only bring in the wood you need to burn for the next two days. Lastly, you should take care to protect the firewood from the elements as well. By doing these, you’ll ensure the wood maintains its quality for as long as possible.

Are a Face Cord and a Rick the Same Thing?

Although these terms have technical definitions, they’re used interchangeably and generally refer to the same section of a full cord.

Parting Thoughts

When searching for firewood, it’s important to have a good idea of how much firewood you need. Because of that, you need to know the difference between a rick and a cord. When you don’t need too much wood, or you don’t want to spend a lot of money at a time, a rick is the best option. However, a full cord will last you much longer.

We hope this article has been helpful and you have a better understanding of how to tell the difference between a rick and a cord of wood.