What is a Rick of Wood? (Explained)

If you are trying to buy firewood, the various terms associated with the process can be a little confusing. Every industry has its specific units of measurement. Understanding the terminology related to firewood is useful, so you know how much wood you are buying and whether it will fit in your truck. For example, you might have heard of the terms rick and cord, making you wonder what is a rick of wood? This article provides answers to this and other common questions about firewood.

Read on to get the details!

What is a rick of wood?

rick of wood Image by Pexels from Pixabay

A rick of wood is a measurement for firewood that describes the quantity of wood you have. It is sometimes called a face cord and has less consistent measurements compared to a cord of wood. The width of a rick of wood is typically dependent on how the firewood was cut, which varies between local markets, regions, and suppliers.

The term “cord” was used as an official measurement for firewood and dates back to around 1610. Then, lumberjacks used ropes or “cords” to secure the wood. The term rick is thought to have originated because people often got confused between a face cord and a full cord. Sometimes buying the face cord (or rick of wood) thinking they were getting the same amount as a full cord. Using rick made it easier to distinguish the difference.

How many ricks are in a cord of wood?

The exact number of ricks in a cord of wood can vary depending on how wide the rick of wood is. However, a rick of wood is always smaller than a cord of wood. A cord of wood measures 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 8 feet long. In contrast, a rick of wood is typically 4 by 8 feet but varies in width between 12, 16, and 24 inches. So basically, a rick of wood is a fraction of a full cord- typically, a quarter, a third, or a half of a cord of wood.

A full cord of wood has a volume of 128 cubic feet and, depending on the type of wood, can weigh up to 5,000 pounds. So keep in mind that a cord of wood is definitely a lot of wood if that is what you end up purchasing!

Will a rick of wood fit in a pickup?

Yes, it can. A rick of wood or around half a cord of wood can fit into a small or short-bed pickup, with or without racks. A long bed pickup and standard truck can also hold a rick of wood without racks. With racks, you can potentially carry a full cord of wood. However, always check the load weight your specific truck can safely haul so you don’t overload it with a full cord of wood.

What is the best type of firewood to burn?

type of firewood to burn Image by Jeon Sang-O from Pixabay

For the best burning wood, you’ll want wood that has been seasoned for over a year. Compared to green wood, seasoned wood is easier to light, burns longer, and produces more heat. Most of the wood for sale is green wood that you need to let season to burn for next year’s firewood. Always make sure to confirm how long a wood has been seasoned before purchase so you can get the best results.

For wood that burns longer, you’ll want to go with hardwoods over softwood. Hardwood is denser and doesn’t require you to keep feeding the fire. Although hardwood is more expensive than softwood, you also don’t need as much wood per fire. Examples of hardwood are:

  • Like oak
  • Hickory
  • Madrone
  • Ash
  • Walnut
  • Fruit trees like cherry or apple

Having said that, some seasoned softwoods are also good woods to use. For example, pine wood smells festive and burns well, making it great for outdoor fires or kindling.

What is a rank of wood?

It’s easy to assume a rank of wood is just a misspelling of a rick of wood. However, these two terms are very different things. A rank of wood is the measurement of the number of wood piles you have in a rick or cord of wood. Ranking refers to the way you stack the wood, i.e., by putting each piece parallel next to each other without any spaces so you can measure it.


A rick of wood is a unit of measurement for a stack of wood and is a smaller bundle than a cord of wood. Sometimes a rick of wood can be referred to as a face cord, so make sure you clarify whether you are buying a full cord or face cord of wood. The difference is significant and can mean you won’t be able to transport it in your truck or have enough for what you intend to use it for.