Face Cord vs Full Cord – The Main Differences Discussed

Rudy Richard

Knowledge Based

As winter is approaching, you would be looking to buy firewood. Like the purchase of all other products, there are certain aspects that you would consider while buying the wood. In this article, I will be telling you about Face Cord vs. Full Cord, the most commonly used measuring units for firewood.

First of all, let me tell you that the firewood is not sold according to weight. Rather, it is sold by the area it covers and the size of the logs. However, the amount of wood you would get will differ each time.

Yes, the difference between a face cord and a full cord lies in their volume and dimensions, affecting the amount of firewood you receive. The face cord is typically 1/3 of a full cord, varying in consistency and legal definitions, while a full cord is a standard and consistent measurement of 128 cubic feet used for bulk firewood supply.

Face Cord vs Full Cord: Breakdown of Major Differences

Face Cord
Full Cord
1/3 of a full cord
A standard unit of measurement
Typically 4 feet high x 8 feet wide x
4 feet high x 4 feet wide x 8 feet long
the length of the firewood pieces
Length of Firewood Pieces
Varies, often 16 inches
Typically 16 inches long
Total Volume
Approximately 42.67 cubic feet
128 cubic feet
May vary depending on supplier
Standard and consistent measurement
Common Use
Residential heating, camping, and
Bulk firewood supply for heating or
smaller fireplaces
commercial use
Legal Definitions
Not always regulated, varies by region
Regulated by legal definitions in some areas

What is a Face Cord in Firewood?

A face cord is one of the standard units for buying firewood. Many units are being used in the market but they are not much reliable as they are not standardized sizes. To some extent, the face cord also ensures certain variations due to 16” or 18” log size.

Here is a tip for you when buying a face cord of wood. To ensure you are getting the right amount of wood, use your basic mathematics skills. Let me tell you how. Just quickly check if you have three rows of 16” deep firewood logs.

Learn More: The Best Chainsaws for Cutting Firewood

Dimensions/Face Cord Size

Face cord is measured as 4’ х 8’ х 16” (4 feet in height, 8 feet in length, and 16 inches in width or depth). This amount of wood is one-third of a full cord. Though the face cord is also a standard unit, you will find variations in the amount of wood you get when buying from different sellers.

Calculating the Volume of a Face Cord:

The volume of a face cord is measured as 4’ х 8’ х 16”. The calculation is for 4 feet high, 8 feet long 16 inches in depth. A loosely or roughly stacked firewood of these dimensions is considered a face cord of firewood.

What is a Full Cord?

Have you ever seen or imagined a beautiful scenario of the winter season? If so, then you would have considered a pile of wood besides burning wood and the crackling sound of burning wood. Let me tell you, a huge pile of firewood stacked in 128 cubic feet of area, is said to be a full cord of wood.

A full cord is the most reliable and standard unit for measuring firewood. There are no such variations in the quantity of wood you will be getting with this measuring unit. Therefore, it is a much more reliable unit to be used than others such as; a face cord, rick of a cord, half of a face cord, etc.

Dimensions/Full Cord Size:

If we talk about the dimensions of a full cord of firewood, then it is 4 feet high, 8 feet in length, and 4 feet in depth. This is normally the biggest size of firewood. The firewood is not sold in kilograms so the method of area is used. The logs are stacked up in the area of 128 cubic feet with the dimensions 4’ х 8’ х 4’, and the amount of wood in the area is a full cord of wood.

How is Firewood Measured?

The measuring of firewood is carried out in cubic meters. The length and width of logs are considered as measuring unit for buying and selling firewood. Commonly, firewood is stacked covering the space of 4 feet in width and 8 feet in height. That is considered as a full cord of wood.

While a face cord is half of a full cord. It can vary but generally, it is said to be the half of it. Thus, we can say that a half cord is around 2/3 in width as that of a full cord and 4 feet in height.

There are many other terms that are used in the market for buying wood. However, they are not very reliable as their measurements are not fixed and can vary. For instance, Rick of firewood is said to be another name for the face cord however, the measurement of the rick of a cord varies from area to area.

Benefits of Buying a Full Cord:

There are several benefits to buying a full cord than any other measurement of firewood. As I told you earlier, a face cord can vary in the amount of wood it carries for different sellers. The same is the case with rick of wood which is quite ambiguous in terms of defining the amount of wood it holds.

The area from where you are buying also affects the quantity of the wood. However, there is no such case with the measurement of a full cord. It is a fixed size and most probably you will get the right amount for which you have paid.

Moreover, a full cord can last for a season even if you are burning more than 4 fires a week. So, you do not need to worry about buying and stacking wood multiple times in a season.

Uses of a Full cord and a Face Cord:

The uses of a full cord or a face cord are more or less similar. The reason is that the basic purpose of both is the same, that is burning. However, as both sizes are measured differently at one aspect of depth, they can be used for different purposes.

For an outdoor cooking sort of activity, a full cord would be ideal especially if you are cooking for a large number of people. However, a face cord of ideal for heating purposes inside the house.

Moreover, as I told you earlier buying a full cord instead of a face cord is beneficial, so you can buy a full cord and cut it to the required size. Though it will take a little time and effort you will save your money and the required size of a wood log.

Storing a Face Cord and a Full Cord:

There are several methods for stacking firewood indoors and outdoors. You can find the methods with detailed descriptions on Chainsaw Guru. However, let me tell you that for stacking a full cord American method is best. It holds a larger quantity and is easy to build.

For a face cord, try stacking with the Criss Cross method. It has been used widely for long. However, if your wood is not kiln-dried, you may use the German or Norwegian method of stacking wood. These methods enhance the airflow between the logs and help them dry quickly.

Moreover, you can choose a method according to the area that is available to you and is convenient for you in building and getting wood out of it. If you are planning indoor stacking, you may try the end pillars stacking method or Amish, to get an aesthetic sight of your stack room.

Read More: The Best Mini Chainsaws of 2024 for Pruning and Trimming

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How many face cords are in a full cord?

Typically it is said that a face cord is 1/3 of a full cord. However, a slight variation is normal and can be expected in measurements. A face cord is 4’ х 8’ х 16” while a full cord is measured 4’ х 8’ х 4’. Thus, you can say more or less 3 face cords are combined to make a full cord.

2. How long will a face cord last?

The answer to this question completely depended upon the question of consumption. If you are burning one fire or two then the face cord will last longer than if 4 fires are burned.

Similarly, the timing of wood burning also decides how long it may run. The type of wood you are getting is also a factor to be considered while calculating the consumption of wood.

3. How many fires face cord?

If you are burning 1 or 2 fires in a week then the face cord will last up to the season. However, if you are burning 3 to 4 or even more fires per week, then a face cord will last up to 3 or 4 months roughly. Other than that, the type of wood, dryness, and efficiency of burning also affect the number and duration.

4. How do you calculate face cord?

A face cord is measured in cubic feet and a face cord is said to be around a 1/3 of a full cord. It is calculated by the dimensions of the staked wood. A face cord can be calculated by stacking the logs that are 16 inches in depth, 4 feet high, and 8 feet long. Overall it makes 128 cubic meters.

Last Words: Face Cord vs Full Cord

Since there are so many measurement options out there in the market you may get frustrated and confused. Thus, I believe this article will serve as a good guide to you for buying wood. Also, it clears your many of the concepts so that you know which measuring unit is best for buying firewood.

This article carries out a clear demonstration regarding a Full Cord vs. Face Cord. I have explained to you the dimensions of the two units and how they are calculated. Also, I told you how you may get less wood than you paid for.

Buying a full cord will be beneficial to avoid being subjected to any fraud. I hope you will consider all the suggestions and the knowledge shared with you while buying firewood. Enjoy the season with the crackling sound of burning wood and hot chocolate.

Want to read a free e-book to get started as using chainsaw as a professional? Time to claim it for free here!

Rudy Richard