Image of a rick of wood stacked neatly

What is a Rick of Wood?

If you are new to buying wood for your fire pit from a local firewood supplier, you might be wondering what all these names you’ve been hearing or reading about the different sizes of firewood bundles they sell.

Cords, half cords, face cords, quarter cord, quarter face, eighth of a cord, etc., etc.  And then there’s the dreaded rick of wood, which I’m going to cover in this article.  After learning about a rick, the other sizes and names should make a little more sense.  

So, what is a rick of wood? A “rick” is essentially a stack of firewood that is 4 ft. tall and 8 ft. long, offered in a variety of widths depending on the firewood supplier, region, local market, etc. This configuration is also often referred to as a face cord.  The width of a rick (or face cord) is typically found in 12 in., 16 in., or 24 in. options. This means each firewood log in a particular stack is going to be one of these three lengths.  Firewood logs cut to 16 in. are the most common.

Rick of Wood Blog Article Pinterest Image

Having a good understanding of the different wood bundle size options and their respective names will help you make sure you aren’t paying for more than you are getting.  Take the time to ask what a rick, or face cord, is to your firewood supplier and decide if its the right amount and dimensions for your fire pit or other needs.

Having a good understanding of the different wood bundle size options and their respective names will help you make sure you aren’t paying for more than you are getting.  Take the time to ask what a rick, or face cord, is to your firewood supplier and decide if its the right amount and dimensions for your fire pit or other needs.

What’s a Rick?

I had to look it up.  According to the Oxford dictionary, the term “rick” is derived from the old English word hrēac, meaning stack or pile, usually of farm-related items such as hay, wood, corn, etc.  The name made its way to North America at some point and is still pretty common in the midwest U.S.  Now you know.

How Big is a Rick of Wood?

To understand how big a rick of wood is, it’s probably a good idea to know a little bit about what a cord of wood is.  A cord of wood is a stack of wood that is 4 ft (48 in.) high by 4 ft (48 in.) wide by 8 ft (96 in.) long.  

Image of a full cord of stacked firewood
A full cord of firewood

A rick is basically a fractional portion of a full cord.  Based on the rick widths provided in the highlighted description at the beginning of the article, and understanding that a full cord of wood is 48 in. wide, the following breaks out firewood rick width by their corresponding size relative to a full cord.

  • a 12 in. wide rick will equal 1/4 of a cord of wood
  • a 16 in. wide rick will equal 1/3 of a cord of wood
  • a 24 in. wide rick will equal 1/2 of a cord of wood   

The numbers above translate to the potential dimensions of a rick of wood being:

  • 12 in. rick @ 4 ft. high by 1 ft. wide by 8 ft long, or
  • 16 in. rick @ 4 ft. high by 1.33 ft. wide by 8 ft. long, or
  • 24 in. rick @ 4 ft high by 2 ft. wide by 8 ft. long  

This is why it’s important to know the width of the firewood rick you might be purchasing.  

As mentioned before, a firewood rick in one part of the country, or from different vendors, might not be the same.  The difference in the amount of wood you are purchasing could be significant and might fall short of or exceed your needs.  You can’t assume the sizes are the same everywhere. Take the time to check early on in the vendor selection process.

How Much Does a Rick of Wood Weigh?

On the high end of the firewood weight scale are your red and white oaks, weighing in at almost 2.5 tons (5,500 lbs) per cord.  On the low end of the scale are your spruces, weighing in at about 1.25 tons (2,500 lbs) per cord.  Using the width numbers we talked about in the section above, you have a range from about 2,750 lbs on the high end and 625 lbs on the low end for a rick of wood.

How Much is a Rick of Wood?

Typically there are about 550 to 650 pieces of split seasoned wood in a cord of wood, depending on how well it’s cut and whether it’s stacked tightly.  This would mean you are looking at about 275 to 325 pieces of firewood in a rick.  

For planning purposes, remember that the lengths of the logs/width of the rick will vary so make sure you know what’s available and factor that in if you have a specific amount of firewood you need.

How Much Does a Rick of Wood Cost?

Using data from vendors in 10 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, the price range for a firewood rick, or face cord, of oak is between $150 and $250.  

Prices will vary based on the type of wood (maple, black locust, red oak, etc.), whether it’s seasoned or not, how it’s seasoned (kiln dried or air dried), the local market, etc.

If you are having your firewood delivered, be sure to factor in a delivery fee of $1-2 per loaded mile.  Some firewood suppliers will start charging after a set number of miles have been traveled to keep the fee from getting out of hand.

If this is your first delivery with a particular firewood supplier, it can’t hurt to ask if they’ll waive the delivery fee on your order.  Many suppliers do provide free delivery but be prepared for that cost when researching vendors and budgeting for firewood.

Many suppliers charge a fee for stacking of about $20-$25, but some do it for free, so be sure to check if you’re not interested in doing it yourself. Check with your firewood supplier first to see if stacking is an option as some don’t offer it.

An image of a freshly chopped and stacked rick of wood
A freshly split rick of wood

Conclusion

For seasonal fire pit use, a rick of firewood can be the ideal size.  It’s not too much but will cover you when you need it.

If you are using firewood for other purposes than a backyard fire pit, like a smoker, or in your fireplace, you may want to consider buying wood by the cord.  If you don’t use it all over the period of a year, as long as it’s kept dry and away from insects and other critters, it should last quite a while.

Again, make sure your local firewood dealer is clear on the rick (or face cord) dimensions they offer so you know what you are getting.  If the vendor delivers the wood to your home and after either you are they stack it, make sure you got what you paid for. The stack should measure 4 ft. high by 12, 16, or 24 in. wide by 8 ft. long.  Don’t hesitate to call them back if you feel you didn’t receive what you were owed.

If you are looking for firewood for sale in your area, check out the Backyard Toasty firewood sellers directory here. The directory only includes U.S. vendors for now, but I will be adding more countries very soon.

Thanks for reading!

John

Related Questions

What type of wood is going to give me the most for my money when buying a rick of firewood?  

I’d recommend black locust or hickory, as both are extremely dense hardwoods that burn very hot and long and are widely available throughout the U.S.  Both are near the top of the firewood BTU* charts.

There are many other wood types that give off a higher level of heat (in BTUs) but they’re not typically sold by most firewood suppliers.  

If you can’t find black locust or hickory, plain old white oak, or oaks in general for that matter, are great options that burn very well and are widely available.

*A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is the heat necessary to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.  The use of BTU ratings in firewood indicates the capacity of a particular type of wood to generate a certain amount of heat per cord.  This is typically referred to as heat energy and the higher the number the better.

For more on the subject, check out the article here, Best Burning Firewood for Your Fire Pit, on my top choices in firewood.

What is seasoned firewood?

Seasoned firewood is wood that has been chopped, stacked, and allowed to dry to a point where the wood’s moisture content is lower than 25% or better.  Properly seasoned wood burns hotter and longer, and with less smoke than wood that has not been adequately seasoned, or green, as it is typically referred to.

How long to stack a rick of wood?

This isn’t exactly a scientific answer, but assuming a rick of wood with an average number of pieces, say 300, with the wood dumped immediately adjacent to where you plan to stack it, and with a new piece placed every 5 seconds, by a single person, factoring in one 5 minute break, it will take ~30 minutes.  Add someone else into the mix and you’re done in 15 minutes or better!

The stacking experience and fitness of the stacker(s), the conditions outside, and the specific weight of the individual pieces being lifted due to wood type will all be factors, so plan accordingly.  

Don’t overdo it for the sake of finishing quickly.  It’s very hard work stacking wood. Take breaks or come back later to finish the job if you find yourself getting tired quickly.  

Give your back a good stretch as well before you start stacking. I’m always unpleasantly reminded the next day when I wake up if I haven’t stretched properly.

For more on the topic of stacking firewood, check out my article here on how to do it the right way and why it’s so important to do so.

Image of a backyard fire pit