Not only can finding a reliable firewood supplier be a challenge down here in southwest Missouri, but other factors can really muck up the works. Like everything else, before you buy, do your research first!
I recently decided that I would need about a face cord of firewood to have on hand just ‘in case’. Around this part of the Ozarks, you just never know when an ice storm is going to knock out the power and if you have a fireplace, good wood to burn can be a lifesaver.
However, when looking around, I quickly discovered that you need to know the right questions to ask. For instance, right now some local suppliers are asking $45 per rick. What’s a rick? That’s a good question. Some people will say it’s the same as a face cord which is a pile that is four feet high by eight foot long comprised of logs of some length. This generally works out to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 48 cubic feet (4x8x1.5). Other people, however, think of a rick as a truckload or pile of wood and so you really don’t know how much you have until it gets stacked. Another way to look at it is you shouldn't be paying much over a dollar per cubic feet in this part of the country. The bottom line however, is that it pays to ask all your questions ahead of time.
Another aspect of firewood buying is the type of wood and how seasoned that wood is. Ideally the wood you’re getting is a ‘hard’ wood variety like an oak of some type although almost any properly seasoned wood can burn well. ‘Seasoning’ refers to how much time has elapsed since the wood was cut or split. In order to burn well, wood must have spent some time in a well aerated location where the moisture content becomes much reduced (20% moisture or less). This generally takes about a full year with two years considered the ideal length of time according to some people I’ve talked to. However, the type of wood, how it’s stacked and how well it’s aerated all play a role.
The supply of the wood pictured above was from a gentleman by the name of Joe who sells wood by the pickup full for $45 at the time of this post (prices subject to change of course). You can reach him at 417-251-1205 for a current quote on cost and wood availability. I performed a rough measurement of the wood he left and came up with about 45 cubic feet. I'd also like to remark that, after burning some of this wood, I had no trouble with excess smoke like you might see in an unseasoned product!