How to Purchase Your Wood Supply

stack of firewood

What is a Cord?

A cord is an amount of wood that is contained in a space of 128 cubic feet when the wood is ranked & well stowed, which means the pieces of wood are placed in a row, with individual pieces touching and parallel to each other and stacked in a compact manner.

How to measure stacked firewood

Measure the length of the pieces in feet, multiply by the height of the pile in feet and multiply by the length of pile in feet. If length of pieces is in inches, divide the total by 12 to get cubic feet.

Here is an example:

Dry, Seasoned or Green?

Unless the wood is kiln dried, which assures a consistent moisture content of about 20%, the wood will vary quite a bit. It is not easy to determine the moisture content of firewood. Therefore, working with a reputable dealer is critical when purchasing seasoned wood which tends to be around 30% moisture content. Green wood can be in excess of 50% moisture content.

How to Store Firewood

  • Find sunny spot with good air flow
  • Place wood off the ground on stringers or old pallets
  • Only cover top of pile, to avoid trapping moisture
  • Depending on species, cut and split wood needs 6-8 months of drying time

How to Purchase Firewood

Purchasing firewood should be approached like any other business transaction—using good business practices. It’s best to be clear about what you want.


  • Quantity – cord or fraction of cord
  • Length of the pieces – short enough to fit in your wood stove or fireplace
  • Species Mix – a mix of hardwood
  • Split or not? – split wood dries faster
  • Dry or not? – kiln dry wood is about 20% moisture content, seasoned around 30%
  • Where? Where do you want the wood dumped?
  • Stacked? You will pay extra?

There's no central firewood dealers' directory in New Hampshire

The best source of firewood information is in the local community. Check with neighbors and friends who burn wood for suggestions. Scan local newspapers and bulletin boards for firewood listings.

Take Precautions

New Hampshire law requires that a receipt or delivery ticket be presented to the purchaser. It is important that a receipt is received for each load delivered. Never pre-pay for multiple loads until they are delivered.

The receipt should include:

  • Name and address of the seller
  • Name and address of the buyer
  • Date delivered
  • Quantity delivered and quantity upon which the price is based
  • The price for the amount delivered
  • A description of what was delivered

Once the wood is delivered:

  • Immediately inspect the wood to determine if what was delivered is what was ordered.
  • Stack the wood within 2 weeks to assure the volume ordered is the volume delivered.
  • Contact the seller, if problems or questions, before any wood is burned or moved.

Properties of commonly used New Hampshire woods

Pine, Hemlock, Spruce, Aspen:

Dries and splits easily, good for kindling but not a long burn. Watch out for sparks.

Maple, Birch, Ash, Beech:

Moderately easy to dry and split. Good for all-around firewood, provides medium burn length.

Oak, Hickory:

Difficult to dry and may be tough to split, best for long burn and developing good coals.


A mix of hardwoods is best with a small amount of kindling wood (pine, hemlock, spruce or aspen) mixed in. Talk to your dealer about your specific needs.


To prevent the spread of invasive insects, a quarantine is in place forbidding the transport of firewood across state lines and restricting the movement within the state. For the latest quarantine information go to or call (603) 271-2561.


If you have general questions feel free to call UNH Cooperative Extension’s Forestry Information line: 1-800-444-8978 or email

For regulatory questions contact the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures Division at (603) 271-3700.

Download the Resource for the complete brochure and a printable version.