What is a rick of wood?


For those new to the world of firewood, the term “rick of wood” might sound unfamiliar. However, it’s a standard measurement that holds significance in the world of heating and outdoor activities. We’ll explore the term a rick of wood in this investigation, as well as its size and practical applications, and also add a personal experience.


For centuries, firewood has warmed hearths and homes, and “the rick” has been a trusted way to stack and measure this essential fuel. But where did this term come from, and how has it evolved over time?

  • From Old English Roots:

The word “rick” itself has Old English origins, where it referred to a pile or heap of various materials, including wood. By the Middle Ages, the term specifically denoted organized stacks of firewood, often used for trade or personal use. These early ricks weren’t standardized in size, but they typically followed regional guidelines for practicality and efficient drying.

  • Evolution & Regional Variations:

The Industrial Revolution brought greater standardization to firewood measurement, with the “cord” emerging as the dominant unit. However, the rick never truly faded away, particularly in rural areas of the American Midwest. These regions continued to utilize ricks, often adapting the size to specific log lengths and local traditions.

  • More than Just Measurements:

The rick transcended its practical function to become a symbol of rural life and resourcefulness. Its rustic charm and efficient stacking techniques earned it a place in folklore and literature, further solidifying its connection to a simpler way of life.

What is a Rick of Wood?

Imagine a neatly stacked pile of firewood, about four feet tall and eight feet long, with logs crisscrossing at the ends for stability. That’s a rick, folks! While not an official unit of measurement, it’s a regional term used in parts of the United States, particularly the Midwest, to describe a specific quantity of firewood. But here’s the catch: the width of a rick is variable. It depends on the length of the logs. Shorter logs, like those around 16 inches, will create a wider rick, while longer logs, like 24 inches, will result in a narrower one.

My brother, ever the resourceful one, recently faced the mystery of the rick firsthand. He was enthusiastic about the rustic charm of the crisscrossed logs, but also a bit confused about the precise quantity. He contacted the seller, who explained the variable nature of risks and, just like a seasoned wood whisperer, offered to measure the specific dimensions of his purchase. Armed with this knowledge, my brother could calculate the approximate wood volume and make informed decisions about his firewood needs. He even learned a valuable lesson about the importance of clear communication when purchasing firewood.

Understanding Firewood Measurements

It’s crucial to comprehend the conventional units of measurement when it comes to firewood. The terms that are most frequently used are “cord”, “face cord”, and “rick”.

A stack of wood logs that is four feet high, four feet wide, and eight feet long is a common definition of a cord of firewood. This results in a cord’s total wood volume being 128 cubic feet.

On the other hand, a face cord (also known as a rick in some regions) varies in size depending on the length of the firewood logs. A face cord typically represents one-third of a full cord, but this can vary to different sizes depending on the length of the pieces. However, the most common face cord dimensions are 4 feet high, and 8 feet long, with a depth of the log length.

The word “rick” frequently generates the most misunderstanding because a firewood rick’s dimensions can vary significantly depending on the locale. For instance, a four-by-eight-foot pile of wood is referred to as a “rick” in Oklahoman custom. However, the depth can change. Generally speaking, half or a third of a complete cord’s worth of wood is referred to as a rick of wood.

These measures have an immediate effect on your firewood’s ability to heat. One might anticipate that a complete cord of seasoned, dry wood will hold as much heat as 150–200 gallons of heating oil. When it comes to purchasing firewood for various purposes, such as a serious fire pit, barbecue, camping, or winter heating your home, having a clear understanding of these measurements can greatly impact your choices.

Remember that these are only suggestions. Numerous variables, such as the kind of wood, its dryness, the efficiency of your stove or fireplace, and the harshness of the winter, might affect how much firewood you actually need.

Recall that weight matters just as much as volume when buying firewood. Compared to green wood, seasoned firewood burns more easily, is lighter, and emits less smoke. Thus, while determining the quantity of firewood to purchase, take into account both weight and volume (cord, face cord, rick).

One winter, my neighbor and I decided to compare our respective wood purchases to see who had received the best value. He had selected two ricks of wood, but I had purchased one entire cord. We discovered that, even with the volume differential, we had spent almost the same amount because my wood was seasoned and his was not. Not to mention that my wood produced more heat and I had fewer insect issues.

Thus, keep these common units of measurement in mind the next time you’re shopping for firewood logs to help you make an informed choice that will see you through the winter in comfort and possibly even save a few pennies!

Rick Vs Cord Of Wood

When it comes to measuring firewood, two common terms you may come across are “rick” and “cord.” While a rick of wood refers to a specific stack of wood measuring 4 feet high, 8 feet long, and 4 feet deep, a cord of wood is a larger unit of measurement. A cord is a stack of wood that measures 4 feet high, 8 feet long, and 4 feet deep, but with tightly stacked logs. This difference in stacking makes a cord denser and typically contains more wood than a rick. A cord of wood is equivalent to approximately 128 cubic feet, whereas a rick may contain less wood due to the potential for gaps and irregular stacking. It’s important to understand these distinctions when purchasing firewood to ensure you receive the desired quantity for your needs.

Rick of Wood Cord of Wood
Dimensions 4 ft x 8 ft x 4 ft 4 ft x 8 ft x 4 ft (tightly stacked)
Volume Varies, typically less wood Approximately 128 cubic feet
Stacking Can have gaps and irregular stacking Tightly stacked logs
Quantity Smaller quantity Larger quantity
Common Usage Residential use, smaller orders Commercial use, larger orders


Rick Vs Face Cord Of Wood

When it comes to measuring firewood, two terms that are often used interchangeably are “rick” and “face cord.” However, it’s important to note that there is a difference between the two. A rick of wood typically refers to a stack of wood that measures 4 feet high, 8 feet long, and 4 feet deep. On the other hand, a face cord of wood is often a stack that measures 4 feet high and 8 feet long but with varying depths. The depth of a face cord can vary depending on the size of the logs being used, with common depths ranging from 16 to 24 inches. This means that a face cord may contain less wood compared to a rick, as it does not have a standardized depth like a rick does. It’s important to clarify the dimensions and depth when discussing firewood orders to ensure you receive the desired quantity for your needs.

Rick of Wood Face Cord of Wood
Dimensions 4 ft x 8 ft x 4 ft 4 ft x 8 ft (variable depth)
Volume Varies, typically more wood Varies, typically less wood
Depth Standardized depth of 4 ft Variable depth (commonly 16 to 24 inches)
Stacking Can have gaps and irregular stacking Tightly stacked logs
Common Usage Residential use, smaller orders Residential use, smaller orders


Choosing the Right Amount of Firewood

Estimating how much firewood you’ll need is made easier by knowing the difference between a firewood rick and a cord of wood, regardless of whether you want to heat your entire house throughout the winter or just enjoy the occasional cozy fire. A smaller wood burner, for example, might only need one rick of wood to last the whole winter, but a larger fireplace or wood furnace might need multiple cords. It’s wise to determine your needs before making a firewood purchase. If you’re not sure, speaking with a firewood supplier might give you a more precise estimate depending on your unique situation.

Firewood Buying: How Much Do You Need?

Navigating the firewood maze can be tricky, but knowing your wood needs is crucial. Here are key factors to consider:

  1. The Big Three
  • Winter’s Wrath:Colder winters naturally require more firewood to stay warm. Assess your region’s average winter temperatures to gauge your needs.
  • Heating Habits:Do you enjoy crackling fires daily, or are they reserved for special occasions? Frequent fireplace use translates to higher firewood consumption.
  • Appliance Efficiency:Modern, high-efficiency fireplaces and wood stoves extract more heat from less wood, impacting your usage.
  1. Beyond these, consider
  • Storage:Do you have ample space to store a full cord of wood, or would smaller, manageable ricks be more practical?
  • Budget:Cords offer better cost per unit, but the initial investment is higher. Ricks require more frequent purchases but are easier on the wallet upfront.
  • Convenience:How often are you willing to restock? Buying a cord means fewer trips, while ricks offer flexibility for smaller needs.
  1. Remember:
  • Average use:Homes using firewood all winter typically require 3-5 cords.
  • Rick vs. Cord:Weigh cost-effectiveness (cord) against convenience (rick) based on your needs.

By understanding these factors and your personal preferences, you can confidently navigate the firewood market and choose the amount that keeps you warm and cozy all winter long

Choosing the Right Firewood

Choosing the right firewood can dramatically impact your winter experience. From crackling warmth to fragrant smoke, different types of wood offer unique benefits and drawbacks.

  1. Hardwoods vs. Softwoods: The Heat is on
  • Hardwoods:Dense and heavy, these woods like oak and maple burn slower, produce more heat, and last longer. Think of cozy winter nights and efficient fuel.
  • Softwoods:Lighter and easier to ignite, pine and fir burn faster and provide less heat. They’re ideal for kindling or outdoor fire pits but be prepared for more smoke and sparks.


  1. Beyond Heat: Aroma, Sparking, and Coaling
  • Aroma:Hickory and Applewood add a delightful fragrance to your ambiance, perfect for fireplace evenings or BBQs.
  • Sparking: Be cautious with softwoods! They tend to produce more sparks, posing a concern in indoor fireplaces.
  • Coaling:Some woods, like oak, leave long-lasting embers perfect for maintaining warmth between stokes.


  1. Eco-Conscious Firewood: Heat Your Home, Respect the Planet
  • Source Locally:Minimize transport emissions and support local suppliers. Opt for seasoned wood to avoid burning green, smoky wood that pollutes the air.
  • Sustainability Matters:Burning wood is generally a more sustainable option than fossil fuels, but choose responsibly. Look for sustainably sourced firewood to minimize environmental impact.


  1. Caring for Your Fireplace: Wood Choices Make a Difference
  • Creosote Control:Hardwoods naturally produce less creosote, reducing the risk of chimney build-up and fire hazards. Save yourself the hassle of frequent chimney cleanings!

Remember, the perfect firewood choice depends on your needs and preferences. Consider heat output, aroma, sparking, coaling, sustainability, and chimney care to fuel your winter with warmth, comfort, and responsibility.

How Much Does a Rick of Wood Cost?

While “rick” doesn’t have a universal size, it typically refers to roughly half or a third of a full cord (128 cubic feet). This translates to a variable cost depending on your location and the type of wood. On average, expect to pay anywhere between $75 and $200 for a rick of firewood. However, factors like premium hardwoods, delivery fees, and the season can significantly impact the price. To ensure you get the best value, compare prices from different vendors, consider buying larger quantities (like a full cord) for better cost per unit, and prioritize seasoned wood for better-burning efficiency despite potentially higher upfront costs. Remember, the cheapest option might not always be the most cost-effective in the long run.

Storing and Stacking Your Firewood

Once you’ve made your purchase, you must stack your wood carefully to preserve its quality. Properly stacking your firewood can help air flow through it, which will help young wood dry more quickly and keep seasoned wood dry. It can be rather satisfying to see a perfectly stacked pile of firewood ready for the winter, and a well-stacked rick also takes up less room!

Final Thoughts

Selecting the proper firewood is essential for meeting the heating needs of your home. You may make a better choice and get the most value for your money if you are aware of the different firewood measures and terminology. Whether purchasing a single rick or a whole cord of wood, don’t forget to take into account the kind of wood, its stacking condition, and whether it’s green or seasoned. After all, buying firewood is an enjoyable activity in addition to helping one stay warm!

Recall that finding firewood doesn’t have to be difficult. If you have the correct information, it may be just as comfortable and inviting as a warm, well-lit fire on a winter’s day. Now go ahead and use your newly acquired knowledge of firewood to enjoy the winter’s chill. And when you’re enjoying that perfect fire, you’ll know it was worth every penny.


Q: What exactly is a “rick of wood”?

A “rick of wood” is a traditional term used to measure a stack of firewood. It typically refers to a neatly stacked pile with specific dimensions, commonly 4 feet high, 8 feet long, and 16 inches wide.

Q: Why is the standard rick size important for firewood enthusiasts?

The standard rick size is important for its convenience and manageability. It allows for efficient stacking, optimal storage space utilization, and proper air circulation to keep the wood dry.

Q: How does a rick of wood contribute to home heating?

A rick of wood serves as a common unit for homeowners using wood-burning stoves or fireplaces for heating. It provides a manageable supply that can last for an extended period, especially during colder months.

Q: How much firewood is in a face cord?

A: The amount of firewood in a face cord can vary depending on the depth or width of the stack. Common depths for a face cord range from 16 to 24 inches. It contains less wood compared to a full cord.

Q: Which measurement is better to use when buying firewood?

A: It’s recommended to use the standardized measurement of a cord when purchasing firewood. This ensures a consistent volume of wood and helps avoid confusion or discrepancies in quantity.

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