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How to Buy Firewood


What should I consider when buying firewood?

As in any transaction, your safest bet is to deal with a reputable business. Before you purchase any wood, ask for the seller's name, business address, and phone number. Request a receipt with this information as well as the price, amount, and agreed upon type of wood. Without this information, it is difficult to settle a dispute should one arise. If the seller refuses to provide this information, consider doing business with a different company. If the seller refuses to give the agreed upon receipt at the time of delivery, record the delivery vehicle's license plate number.

Try to be present at the time of delivery, and either stack the wood yourself, or have the delivery person stack it, so that you both can determine the amount of wood delivered. If the delivery person can not wait, or you can not be there at the time of delivery, and you discover that the delivery is short when it is stacked, do not use any of the wood. Contact the seller immediately. If you cannot settle the matter satisfactorily, contact the Weights and Measures Division.

How is firewood measured?

Firewood may be measured by the cubic foot, the cubic meter, or the cord. If measured by the foot or meter, the wood is first stacked with all pieces placed parallel to each other. The wood is then said to be ranked. Wood must be ranked if it is to be measured accurately. Ranking minimizes the space between the sticks, or pieces, of wood. Some sellers use various cross-stacking methods to exaggerate the quantity of wood delivered. Do not attempt to measure cross-stacked wood.

What is a cord?

A cord has a specific legal definition in Minnesota:

  • One cord is 128 cubic feet in four foot lengths

  • If the wood is sawed, a cord is 110 cubic feet when ranked, or 160 cubic feet when thrown loosely into a truck

  • If the wood is sawed and split, a cord is 120 cubic feet when ranked, and 175 cubic feet when thrown loosely into a truck (Minnesota Statutes, Section 239.33)

Must I buy my wood in cords?

No. You and the seller may enter into any agreement you choose, but be aware that words like truckload, face cord, rick, fireplace cord, or pile, have no legal definition. The Weights and Measures Division cannot help you in a dispute if the wood is not sold by the cubic foot, the cubic meter, or the cord.

How do I calculate the number of cords I receive in a delivery?

If the wood is ranked, multiply the wood pile's height by its length and stick (piece) length (height x length x stick length) and divide by 110 if the wood is sawed, by 120 if the wood is sawed and split, and 128 in all other cases. Remember to make all your measurements in feet.

  • Number of cords of ranked sawed wood = (height x length x stick length)/110

  • Number cords of ranked sawed and split wood = (height x length x stick width)/120

  • Number cords of all other ranked wood = (height x length x stick width)/128

If the wood is loosely thrown into the back of a truck, measure the dimensions of the truck bed and the height of the wood in feet. Multiply the height of the wood by the length and width of the truck bed. Divide by 160 if the wood is sawed, or by 175 if the wood is sawed and split.

  • Number of cords of sawed wood loosely thrown into a truck = (height of wood x truck bed's length x truck bed's width)/160

  • Number of cords of sawed and split wood loosely thrown into a truck = (height of wood x truck bed's length x truck bed's width)/175

Labeling

All firewood sold or distributed across state boundaries or more than 100 miles from its origin must include information regarding the harvest locations of the wood by county and state. 

If it is packaged wood this information must be on the label or wrapper.  If it is bulk wood, this information must be on the delivery ticket.

The Department of Agriculture has some additional information on its website  for the public about pest control. There is also additional  information specifically for dealers.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

If you want more information regarding firewood sales, e -mail the Weights and Measures Division.

What do I do if I have a dispute about firewood sales?

Please fill out and submit our Weights and Measures Complaint Form.


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