See also: billet, shid, faggot
In most English-speaking countries firewood is sold by the cord, 128 cubic feet, although Australia is trying to change to sales by weight. In metric countries, it was often sold by the stere.
In the United States, firewood should be purchased by the cord or fraction of a cord, and not by the “rack”, “pile”, “truckload”, and so on, since the cord is legally defined and the other terms have no legal meaning. The wood should be stacked with the bolts as parallel as possible, leaving gaps as small as possible. (A well-stacked 128-cubic foot cord actually contains around 85 cubic feet of wood.) By “cross-stacking” the bolts, an unscrupulous dealer can increase the amount of empty air in a cord by as much as 50%.
Freshly cut wood can be more than half water by weight. Splitting it and storing it in a covered location (for about 9 months) will reduce the moisture content to below 25%. Unseasoned wood is hard to ignite, provides less heat (lots of water to boil off!), keeps going out, and deposits more creosote in the chimney and more particulates in the air.
For the U. S. Forest Products Laboratory's comparison of the characteristics of firewood from different species, see www.mb-soft.com/juca/print/firewood.html
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Last revised: 19 August 2008.