Exploring the Ozarks Outdoors: freshare.net

Know the Facts Before Buying, Selling Firewood

By University of Mo. Extension

First posted on 11-07-2008

Many people who buy cordwood for their home wood stoves admit they don’t understand the transfer process. Some dealers talk in terms of a “rick,” a “rank” or a “pickup load.”

Others mention a “face cord” and still others talk in terms of a cord or fractions of a cord. Sometimes the definitions vary from dealer to dealer and from locality to locality.

“We would like to think that most dealers are honest and the transaction is fair. But this is no way to run a business,” said Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

Schultheis shares here the most common questions he receives about buying and selling firewood, along with his answers to the questions.

Q: Homeowners with wood stoves are stocking up on firewood for their winter heat supply. I understand there is a state law governing how firewood is bought and sold?

A: Yes, by state law, firewood must be sold by the cord or fraction of a cord, and it must be accompanied by a bill of sale in accordance with requirements of the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Division of Weights and Measures. Rick, rank, face cord, truckload and pile are not legal units of measure for sale of firewood.

Q: How much is a cord of wood?

A: A cord of wood measures four feet high, four feet wide and eight feet long, totaling 128 cubic feet. Any combination of these measurements is fine as long as they total 128 cubic feet when the wood is stacked in a compact manner.

Q: What’s the easiest way to measure a stack of wood?

A: A simple way is to measure the length, width and average height (all in inches) of the compactly-stacked pile of wood. Multiply these three figures together and divide the result by 220,000. The answer is the number of cords. Multiply this number by the dollar cost per cord to get the price the buyer should pay.

Q: Any other tips on getting a fair deal when buying firewood?

A: First, don’t pay for the wood until it has been stacked and measured by both the buyer and seller. Second, get a receipt with the seller’s name, address, phone number and vehicle license number, along with the price, amount and kind of wood purchased. And third, if a problem with a seller cannot be resolved, contact the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Division of Weights and Measures at 573-751-5639.

Q: Where can I get more information on buying and selling cordwood?

A: Contact the nearest University of Missouri Extension Center and ask for MU Guides G5450 and G5452, which give details about buying and selling cordwood, and about the burning characteristics and heat content of various woods. Or contact Schultheis at the Webster County Extension Center, (417) 859-2044.


how is it that a person just wanting to make a few extra dollars cant sell less than a cord or fraction of a cord but these thieves can sell 5 lousy pieces of wood the size of tooth picks at gas stations for 6 bucks a bundle? I will take my chances and have been selling for years.Everyone is satisfied with the TRUCKLOAD they get. not cord / 1/2 cord / rank/ etc .

By Travis on December 24, 2011 - 9:04 am

u should never ever buy wood that you havent looked at and you only buy it after it has been delivered and you have made sure that it is in fact what you are paying for! lots of people will tell you that you are getting a cord and it sometimes turns out that you are not getting a cord! so always ask alot of questions about what you are buying and if you are not sure dont be afraid of bust out the old tape measure and make sure you are getting what you are paying for!! dont forget to make sure the wood is the species that the seller says it is!!! good luck….mandi

By mandi evans-conway on December 15, 2009 - 9:00 pm

I am 85 years old. On 12/08/2008 I bought i pickup load of wood by a vendor in the Wall Mart parking lot in Mtn. Grove. MO. I paid $100.00 for the load delivered. Also I paid another $100.00 on the same check made out to Donna Shelton for another load to be delivered the next day. Since then I have been trying to contact the man (Terry Hicks) to get the wood delivered. I have benn given three different phone numbers and about four of five different people have been involved and Terry Hicke has since moved. I cannot get an address, only approximate location of his new dwelling and I have not been able to contact him by phone. I do have his truck licence numbe. #293 977. I do know now that I should not pay for something till I get it. I was just too trusting. I have since gotten wood elswhere and am now wanting to get my $100,00 back. I have since read up on the laws governing such sales and conclude that nothing was done right or acording to law.Is there any advice orhelpfor me? Bob Lee

By Bob Lee on January 17, 2009 - 11:22 am

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