A cord of wood is a stacked pile that is four feet tall, four feet deep and eight feet wide (128 cubic feet). If the pieces of firewood in the cord are cut into 16-inch lengths, a cord contains three rows, which are called face cords or ricks. Therefore, a rick is one-third of a cord, or about 42.6 cubic feet of wood.
Although wood is sold in many quantities, generally the only officially accepted measurement of quantity is the cord, according to the University of Tennessee Forest Products Extension. However, in some states, another legal measure is the “loose thrown cord,” which is used when the wood is just thrown into a pile rather than stacked. A loose-thrown cord of 16-inch long pieces takes up 180 cubic feet, and one of 24-inch pieces fills 195 cubic feet.
Federal and state regulations apply to the sale of firewood, and these regulations generally require that firewood dealers advertise and sell wood only in cords, or fractions of cords. Other terms, including face cord, rick, rack, pile and pick-up load are not permitted.
The measurement of firewood can change up to 10 percent each time the wood is stacked. For this reason, the first stack of wood is the legal measurement for a sale. If a dealer stacks a cord of wood in the delivery yard, this stack is the first and is the legal measurement. If a dealer delivers loose wood to you and you stack the wood, your stack is the legal measurement.
The bed of a full-size pickup truck can hold about 64 cubic feet of neatly stacked wood, according to the University of Tennessee Forest Products Extension.