The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement

Firewood: Not all cords are equal


Wood remains one of the most popular sources of heat, particular­ly in rural areas.

While many people have access to their own supply, a large number of homeowners purchase their fuel.

Long-time users are familiar with the way the product is sold.

However, first-time purchasers should know that there are two ways of measuring firewood.

A “face” cord is a stack of firewood 4 feet tall by 8 feet long. The standard length of each piece is 16 inches.

A “bush” cord or “full” cord is a stack of firewood 4 feet tall by 8 feet long by 4 feet deep.

In areas where everyone seems to know everyone else, the transactio­ns are usually informal. Buyers tend to deal with familiar and trusted vendors, and purchasers know what they are getting.

However, agencies such as Measuremen­t Canada frown on the use of traditiona­l terms and urge consumers to be cautious when buying firewood.

In fact, Measuremen­t Canada recommends that the use of the cord as a unit of measuremen­t be discontinu­ed, as it is largely misunderst­ood and often misused by people selling firewood. For example, some sellers use illegal terms such as “face cord,” “stove cord,” “apartment cord,” “furnace cord” and “short cord” to refer to a quantity smaller than 128 cubic feet. Such terms frequently lead to confusion about the actual quantity of firewood being sold, the federal department says.

To avoid any confusion about the amount of firewood purchased or sold, Measuremen­t Canada recommends the use of the stacked cubic metre when purchasing or selling bulk firewood.

Get what you paid for

Ask for the firewood to be delivered stacked in the truck so that you can measure it before it is unloaded.

When receiving the firewood, be present at the time of delivery; do not rely on a neighbour to accept delivery on your behalf.

Ask for a receipt that shows the quantity and type of firewood purchased, the seller's name, address and telephone number and the price paid.

Write down the licence plate number of the delivery vehicle.

If the firewood is not stacked on the truck so that you can measure it, immediatel­y following delivery, neatly stack and measure the firewood to calculate the quantity you received.

Think you have been shortchang­ed?

If you received less firewood than you paid for, contact the seller before using any of the firewood and try to resolve the issue. If you are unable to resolve the issue or if you need additional informatio­n about firewood measuremen­t, contact Measuremen­t Canada.

Why burn firewood?

You won’t get a more intense heat source than firewood and when the wood burns out, the normal house will stay warm for hours as compared to fossil fuels and wood pellets.

It is a renewable energy resource.

Burning firewood releases no more harmful greenhouse gases than would be produced if the wood was to simply rot on the forest floor.

It produces a comforting atmosphere in the home.

Firewood heats you in many ways, as you will soon find out if you intend to cut and store your own heat source.

Once a tree has been felled, it must be cut into blocks, split, put into piles and allowed to dry. Then, the seasoned wood must be transporte­d to a storage area or into your home.


Seasoning of logs is basically a drying process, traditiona­lly logs would be cut one season (or year) before they were ready to burn.

Logs are seasoned by cutting and storing in a dry place for a period of time long enough to reduce their moisture content to less than 30 per cent.

Restrictio­ns on moving

Did you know that moving firewood can spread invasive insects?

Canadian Food Inspection Agency policies control the movement of firewood from regulated areas of Canada.

These restrictio­ns have been put into effect in light of the proliferat­ion of the emerald ash borer. How does bark burn?

Bark actually has more heat value than the wood. When mixed with kindling, bark helps get your fire started.

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