How Do You Read a Wood Weight Table?


Quick Answer

Read a wood weight table by finding the moisture content and species of your wood and then finding the corresponding weight. Wood weight charts typically only list weights in terms of pounds per cord. A cord is a volumetric measurement for wood that corresponds to 128 cubic feet of cut and stacked wood. Because weight in pounds per cord is inherently imprecise, many engineers and architects prefer to use wood densities and volumes to determine exact weights.

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Full Answer

A cord is the most commonly used measurement for selling firewood. A cord corresponds to a 4-by-4-by-8-foot stack of cut wood. A cord also includes the air between each cut piece of wood. In some cords, the amount of air included with the measurement can be as much as 40 percent of the total volume. This imprecision is adequate for selling firewood, but unacceptable for construction and engineering applications.

Getting a more precise wood weight measurement requires using the wood's density and volume. For example, eastern hemlock, a common framing timber, has a density of 28 pounds per cubic foot. Density equals an object's weight divided by its volume. Therefore, if an engineer wants to know how much a 10-cubic-foot eastern hemlock timber weighs, she multiplies the volume (10 cubic feet) by the density (28 pounds per cubic foot). Because the cubic foot units cancel each other, the engineer finds the timber weighs 280 pounds.

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