Posted by on 9 November 2018

Those who know us know that we love a good fire, and this winter looks to have lots of opportunity for such, with first snow expected this weekend.  In preparation, therefore, we’ve been looking to procure firewood.

After several rounds with unscrupulous sellers trying to play games with me regarding the quantity of wood (one tried to tell me that a “cord”–which he originally wrote in his ad as a “quart”–was “a term for multiple ricks,” and a rick contains 80 logs), I hunted down the actual legal definition, in an official .gov (NIST, National Institute of Standards and Technology) publication: NIST Handbook 130, Uniform Regulation for the Method of Sale of Commodities.

See definition, on page 115: Cord. – The amount of wood that is contained in a space of 128 [cubic feet] when the wood is ranked and well stowed. For the purpose of this regulation, “ranked and well stowed” shall be construed to mean that pieces of wood are placed in a line or row, with individual pieces touching and parallel to each other, and stacked in a compact manner.​

Anybody using any other definition is at best ignorant, and at worst dishonest.

So, the next time somebody tries to pull a fast one on you, you now have an authoritative source to ask him to give you an accurate, meaningful, consistent number.

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