16th Cord of Wood

1/24th cord of wood

That is about 1/24th cord of wood piled by the front door grate…

1/48th cord of wood

…and that is about 1/48th cord of wood piled under the front half of the wood stove in the tiny cottage. Together they make up 1/16th cord of wood or about eight cubic feet. A cord of wood, the official measure for fire wood, is 128 cubic-feet. That’s 4’x4’x8′. Depending on how tightly it is stacked the actual amount of wood can vary somewhat. Depending on the species and how dry it is the weight will vary as well as the total energy. We mostly burn sugar maple as that is what we primarily have although there’s also some iron wood, elm, beach, birch and other woods. Denser woods generally have more energy than lighter woods like poplar although the latter can be great as kindling for starting fires.

According to this chart the above sixteenth cord stack, if it were solely sugar maple, would be about 234 lbs and yield about 1.5 MBTU (million BTUs) of energy for heating our house, if our stove was 100% efficient.

We have been using about one of those sixteenth stacks of wood per ten to fourteen days. During the colder spells we go through the wood faster, the ten days. As we get closer to spring the stacks will last longer and longer. This means that during the coldest part of the winter it takes about 0.15 MBTU to heat our cottage per day or about 62,500 BTUs per hour. Given that it was often -20°F and windy during those times that’s pretty good. When the roof insulation and window shutters are done this should improve.

The cottage is far more comfortable, brightly lit, warmer and less drafty than the old farmhouse which we now use for a barn for Frosty the kitchen pig or any other critters that need extra attention. Burning less wood also means we spend less of our time cutting, blocking, stacking and hauling firewood. A definite advantage to living small in a high mass house.

Side note: Big Ag is at it again, spreading lies and demanding subsidies from the government and thus you, tax payers. Please go see this post and contact your Congress Critters asking them to oppose NAIS and stop giving out subsidies to agriculture. Did you know that 96% of ag subsidies go to Big Ag? Do you really want to finance them with your tax dollars?

Outdoors: 5°F/-7°F High winds, 4″ Snowy in the morning, Sunny
Farm House: 29°F/31°F
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/55°F Frozen Water

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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4 Responses to 16th Cord of Wood

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey Walter,
    I wrote to you a few years ago when I lived in Alaska and drilled you on pig questions (which I have learned much from). My wife and I have since moved to the lower 48 and bought our own farm and have been slowly getting it ready for our move to a permanent farm life. The old house on our place is rough, but the land has the character we desire. Eventually, I’d like to raise swine and have a sustainable lifestyle. Just like to thank you for a great blog which I check on frequently…Chris

  2. Katharine says:

    Hey Walter,

    I find it interesting that your wood stove is shown off the ground. What was your idea for that? Is it more efficient this way? How high is it, it looks approximately 3 ft or so.


  3. Tara says:

    Your house is an amazing machine. That you do so much with so little.

  4. Indi says:

    Pretty amazing and efficient. Good job.

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