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A cord is a cord -- or is it?

COUNTRYSIDE: Most folks think a cord is a measure of wood four feet wide, four feet high and eight feet long, and a "rick" is 1/2 of a cord -- two feet wide, four feet high, and eight feet long.

Well, that is the legal cord, but there are some woodcutters/sellers that will try their darndest to convince the unsuspecting, or unknowing buyer that a "rick" is any length of sticks stacked four feet high and eight feet long. Not so! The only "legal volume rick" is one with sticks two feet long, stacked four feet high and eight feet long. These "short rickers" selling wood less than two feet long are cheating folks of millions of dollars nationwide by charging for a cord of the short ricks when they are "short" by a foot wide or even more!

Let's see how these slickers do it. Let us say, after much bargain hunting, you see a sign saying "firewood for said, $50 a cord, $25 a rick." You see that the wood is a nice hardwood like oak, ash, hickory, etc., well-seasoned, and the woodseller will take off $10 if you haul it. A very good-sounding deal. The wood is stacked in stands of steel fence posts set eight feet apart, four feet tall, showing you, dear "sucker," that two of these seem to be a cord. But when you get home and set up the same posts side by side, close enough together to hold the ricks, and the seller has finished stacking your fresh cord," you see something ain't right.

You walk around it -- it is four feet high and eight feet long -- you measured the stands yourself. Your father (if yer young enuff), or a friend comes by and you ask him if he notices anything "odd" about your "cord?" Both of you circle the cord, then he says, "It don't look wide enuff!" "Wide enuff? What do you mean? There sits two ricks -- one cord, ain't it?"

"Nope," says your friend, taking your tape measure. "Look at this, the sticks in your rick are only 18 inches long -- you only got a three-foot wide cord." You have been gypped out of a quarter of your paid-for cord! By doing this four times, the woodseller will have one extra cord to sell -- and he got $12,50 from each person.

Some woodsellers around here are trying to foist off ricks with only 12-inch long logs in them. Guess how "short" that cord will be? Twelve inches x 2 is only 24 inches -- only half a cord!

So how do you ensure that you get a full cord? Set up the stands so that the outsides of the ricks come to exactly four feet, then have the woodseller fill the space between the ricks. This is the only way you can get a cord -- by making certain that you wind up with a 4' x 4' x 8' cord.

The terms for these "short ricks" are many -- face cords, stove cuts, truck loads -- the terms are as varied as the sellers. But it amounts to the same thing, you think you are getting a cord while being shorted a foot or so wide -- around a week's worth of firewood that you paid for. Good luck, and keep warm.

-- H. L. Baggett 60 Hankins Hollow Rd., Tennesee Ridge, TN 3 7178
COPYRIGHT 2001 Countryside Publications Ltd.
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Baggett, H. L.
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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