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How much does a cord of oak weigh?

Adirondack

Adirondack

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The question is in reference to buying a trailer and making sure it will carry the weigh. It will have a 3,500 lb axle so I am wondering the dementions to carry a load of oak to the top of the sides. The trailer might be 6X10 floor so I am wondering how high the sides should be?
 
Wood Doctor

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It depends on which oak species you are talking about and whether you are hauling it green or dry. These two factors alone can vary the estimate of the weight of a cord of oak by at least 1,500 lb.
 
chucker

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red oak is 6300 common green and dry is 5500 at 20% moisture. so 1/2 a cord green is 3150 and dry being 2750 pounds ... you can get away with 16" sides on a 6x10 foot floor... stacked with out have to worry about falling out from the higher sides!!
 
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PA Plumber

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The question is in reference to buying a trailer and making sure it will carry the weigh. It will have a 3,500 lb axle so I am wondering the dementions to carry a load of oak to the top of the sides. The trailer might be 6X10 floor so I am wondering how high the sides should be?
A 6' x 10' bed would need sides approx. 2.1333 feet tall.
 
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Adirondack

Adirondack

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Thanks. Good point. I think I would be mostly be hauling dry white/red oak but I probably should bet on the fact it might be green oak. I think from the posts I will go with 2 2x10's with three inches between. That should be close enough. 1/2 cord would be safe to carry.
 
Mntn Man

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As you can see...

The height of the sides is relative.



This was 3/4 of a cord when stacked dry ash. I have a slightly smaller load on this trailer right now (fairly green ash) and the axle weight is 4500. Pushing the limits, but the tires are rated for it. Having brakes would definetly be a major plus so I don't go too far with big loads.
 
Brushwacker

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Species Green Dry

Oak, Red 4888 3528
Oak, White 5573 4200

From the Nebraska reference:
http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g1554/build/g1554.pdf?redirected=true

Missouri has another, very similar numbers:
http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G5450
Very realistic for sure on the green. I weighed a healthy 1/3 cord mixed oak white,black, pin just under 1900 lbs. Another time I had a healthy 1/3 of pin oak well over 2000 I think it was 22?? lb..The pin oak was unsplit and a good size tree. The other was fresh split .
Its been a long time since I weighed dry wood but I think wood seasoned, stacked for most of a year may weigh a little less.
 
Wood Doctor

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magnumhntr

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My tandem with two 3500lb axles will take about 1 1/4 cords of green oak, but it doesn't like it. It has heavy duty trailer tires on it with 60lbs of air in them, and I built it solely for the purpose of hauling wood. No way would I try and put a full cord of green oak, or dry oak for that matter over a single axle...

Chris
 
xlr82v2

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The height of the sides is relative.



This was 3/4 of a cord when stacked dry ash. I have a slightly smaller load on this trailer right now (fairly green ash) and the axle weight is 4500. Pushing the limits, but the tires are rated for it. Having brakes would definetly be a major plus so I don't go too far with big loads.
Mntn Man,

What tires are you running on your trailer? I've got one that's just like yours, except it's a chevy, with 15" rims. Finding 15" LT tires is like finding a needle in a haystack! Looked at switching to 16" rims, but finding them with the proper "5 in 5" bolt circle, is another needle in a haystack!

Can anyone help???
 
laser

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Short answer, don't do single axle. Even if you have a 7000lb axle with brakes...if something goes wrong, you're screwed.

Now for the OCD observations:

Some schools of thought say that you only get 74~96 actual cubic feet of wood in a stacked cord, depending on how you stack/cram your wood. In a trailer, you can probably cram tighter because you can wedge things in. If they are smaller splits, and mostly round, I have read that's even more air, and those numbers above are for very little round edged wood (apparently).

http://mb-soft.com/juca/print/firewood.html These numbers are from the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory and other sources, and seem pretty meticulous. Definitely more detailed than other sources, and I tend to trust more detail over less detail.

So on average, you are looking at a 34% loss of capacity on a trailer/truck due to air, if stacked perfectly tight, not going over the sides. I think the only way to do better is to have rectangular splits. You can make up for this by heaping it on top. Good luck with calculating that volume.

So I do this: Calculate your total volume of the trailer capacity, subtract 30%, take that number and multiply it by 50lbs per cubic foot if dry, unless it's green, then you need a better number (I'd say north of 65lbs/cf), and that's what you are likely carrying if it's split normal. If it's round on the edges from smaller logs, you're probably going to have more air. If it's in large rounds, you'll have even more air if you stay below the sides, but more "capacity" because they are easier to stack and tie down, and the rounds have less air, so it might wash out...can't find numbers on that. You will run out of axle quick with rounds, though.

With dual 3500lb axles, you are talking 7k capacity, and most trailers that have enough frame and bed and tires to do one cord are going to weigh 1500~2000lbs (depending on the metal, and the amount of treated wood), so you might get 5000lb capacity out of one, which should get you one cord even if it's hand tossed (if you have the sides, you can do the weight).

And check those tires to make sure they are rated high enough to match the axles. A two cord trailer gets on the super-heavy duty side of things, and you aren't pulling it with a normal vehicle...unless you want a Darwin award.

Anything over 2k lbs should have brakes of some sort. I've yet to see a vehicle rated for over 2k lbs for trailers without brakes. Maybe a dually. Just because people do it, doesn't mean it's smart. I pulled 2500lbs in my trailer, and got stuck in traffic, and had brake fade very quickly, and that was with 4 wheel disk. Add snow, ice, or rain, it gets really interesting. I'm upgrading as soon as I get some money, and I don't tow unless it's sunny outside and never again in traffic.
 
xlr82v2

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Short answer, don't do single axle. Even if you have a 7000lb axle with brakes...if something goes wrong, you're screwed.

Now for the OCD observations:

Some schools of thought say that you only get 74~96 actual cubic feet of wood in a stacked cord, depending on how you stack/cram your wood. In a trailer, you can probably cram tighter because you can wedge things in. If they are smaller splits, and mostly round, I have read that's even more air, and those numbers above are for very little round edged wood (apparently).

http://mb-soft.com/juca/print/firewood.html These numbers are from the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory and other sources, and seem pretty meticulous. Definitely more detailed than other sources, and I tend to trust more detail over less detail.

So on average, you are looking at a 34% loss of capacity on a trailer/truck due to air, if stacked perfectly tight, not going over the sides. I think the only way to do better is to have rectangular splits. You can make up for this by heaping it on top. Good luck with calculating that volume.

So I do this: Calculate your total volume of the trailer capacity, subtract 30%, take that number and multiply it by 50lbs per cubic foot if dry, unless it's green, then you need a better number (I'd say north of 65lbs/cf), and that's what you are likely carrying if it's split normal. If it's round on the edges from smaller logs, you're probably going to have more air. If it's in large rounds, you'll have even more air if you stay below the sides, but more "capacity" because they are easier to stack and tie down, and the rounds have less air, so it might wash out...can't find numbers on that. You will run out of axle quick with rounds, though.

With dual 3500lb axles, you are talking 7k capacity, and most trailers that have enough frame and bed and tires to do one cord are going to weigh 1500~2000lbs (depending on the metal, and the amount of treated wood), so you might get 5000lb capacity out of one, which should get you one cord even if it's hand tossed (if you have the sides, you can do the weight).

And check those tires to make sure they are rated high enough to match the axles. A two cord trailer gets on the super-heavy duty side of things, and you aren't pulling it with a normal vehicle...unless you want a Darwin award.

Anything over 2k lbs should have brakes of some sort. I've yet to see a vehicle rated for over 2k lbs for trailers without brakes. Maybe a dually. Just because people do it, doesn't mean it's smart. I pulled 2500lbs in my trailer, and got stuck in traffic, and had brake fade very quickly, and that was with 4 wheel disk. Add snow, ice, or rain, it gets really interesting. I'm upgrading as soon as I get some money, and I don't tow unless it's sunny outside and never again in traffic.
Don't do single axle, if something happens, you're screwed? Bull Hockey. :) Except for the flat tire part... yeah, you're screwed... especially if you don't have a spare!

I had a flat on my pickup bed trailer on Thanksgiving day, loaded stacked level with the sides (.6 cord) with half seasoned Pin Oak, and didn't know anything was wrong until I pulled in the driveway and got out of the truck. Couldn't feel a thing inside my Duramax 2500HD that was also loaded stacked level. The tire hadn't shredded yet, so it wasn't flat for long, but it was definitely flat. And, by my calculations, that was with approximately 2590 lbs of wood loaded...

Might I have been screwed if I was pulling that same load with a 4 cyl short bed Ford Ranger or the like? Maybe... I don't know. Maybe not.

As far as the calculations... I just do it the old school way...

For example, I know that my PU trailer is approximately 77 cubic feet level to the sides (that's with the wheel wells figured in), which is equal to .603 cord. So, if I tightly stack it level with the sides, I know that I have .603 cord of wood on board. Then all I have to do is consult one of the charts, and determine how much a cord of whatever species of wood I have weighs, green or dry, and then multiply that weight by .603. That tells me, probably within 200 pounds or so, how much weight is in the trailer.

Simple enough, works for me. No need to re-invent the wheel. Your method is just as much a guess as the old school way... just too many assumptions going on at one time.

:cheers: :cheers: :cheers:
 
Mntn Man

Mntn Man

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Mntn Man,

What tires are you running on your trailer? I've got one that's just like yours, except it's a chevy, with 15" rims. Finding 15" LT tires is like finding a needle in a haystack! Looked at switching to 16" rims, but finding them with the proper "5 in 5" bolt circle, is another needle in a haystack!

Can anyone help???
I know. I had a heck of a time finding them. I went to the local dealer and wandered around for a while to even find the 15 inch pile. Then, to find heavy duty tires, in a pair, that were good enough to use, whoa! Why aren't there any 15 inch tires out there anymore? I know of plenty of vehicles that still use them. On a side note, I have a new 15 inch trailer tire in the garage I should get a match for (I think it is 18-1900lb rated).
 
oneoldbanjo

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My wood trailer is 66" between the sides and just short of 10' long. The sides are made from 2x8 pressure treated boards stacked on top of each other......so technically I have just a bit more than 1/2 chord of capacity. I do however carefully stack the wood and I suppose I can get another 1/4 to 3/8 chord above the boards. When stacking green Oak or Hickory the trailer gets very, very heavy. The trailer is a single Low Boy axle on the trailer and 12 ply tires and they handle the load fine......but it sure can leave ruts in the field when loaded down heavy. I have a 1/2 Ton Chevy 4 wheel drive and I really don't want to haul much more weight than I have when the trailer is full - the truck would haul more but it still drives nicely with this size trailer. When unloaded the trailer bounces and bounces down the road and I had to put the LED tailights on the trailer as I was constantly replacing bulbs as the filaments don't like all the bouncing.

If I had to do it over again I would make the trailer a bit less wide and a little taller - maybe with folding sides to help when loading and unloading. I always stack the wood in my current trailer to get the most wood in the trailer - if the sides were tall it sure would save a lot of time to be able to just throw the wood in the trailer and not worry about stacking. This trailer is as wide as a car hauler and it would be more manageable if it was a little less wide.
 
laser

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It's pretty consistent that properly stacked wood has an air gap that consumes 30 some odd percent of the total space the wood pile takes up. Yeah, it's an estimate, but it's statistically significant.

For what you are doing, it helps to error on the side of caution, assume you are carrying more weight than you are. Moisture will make more of a difference than air gaps for trailer capacity.

For what I do, I need more accuracy, ball park isn't close enough.

One day, I'll set up some 4x4x8 boxes, stack firewood in them, and pour sand in there (a known amount). I'll do that a few times and figure out an average, and report back to you guys with my numbers. ;)

Then we will know how much air is in there on average.

But about single axle...my paranoia comes from being hit by a hill billy in TN, near Knoxville. I had the wife and dogs in the car, moving cross country, and a guy driving an E250 hit my trailer while we were going downhill around a curve. I was doing 50mph. He bounced off my trailer at 80mph, and shot across the median, but he popped and threw his tire in my path, and I couldn't dodge it. If that had been a single axle, I would not have been as fortunate, going downhill, around a corner, at highway speeds, to maintain control as I did. Did I mention I was in a minivan?

I'm not worried about things failing, or me screwing up so much. It's all the other idiots out there that put you in situations that you can't compensate for. Tandem axle helps me relax a little bit.
 
avalancher

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I pull a 16ft trailer with 20 inch sides with my dodge dakota, and when that trailer is full is poses some real problems when it comes to stopping.
Last summer I pulled a real boner.I went and got some topsoil from a local gravel pit and watched as the loader dumped the bucket in the truck.Looked okay, so I signaled for him to load one more scoop.Big mistake.

The first scoop he took from the top of the pile,the second he took from the bottom and it was pretty wet.After pulling away from the pile, I knew I was in trouble.After going over the scales and stopping at the weigh shack to pay up, I asked how much weight I had on the trailer.13000lbs.

I told him that I was way overloaded.Asked if the loader guy could scoop some out.he said no way, if they damaged my trailer they would be liable, he suggested a shovel.I didnt have one.

I paid up and left, hit the highway and kept it at 30mph.Seemed to be going okay till I hit the offramp.As I came up to the light going really easy, I applied some brake and nothing happened.Stood on the brakes and all four wheels locked up.Slid right through the intersection and right back on to the onramp.

To make a long story shorter, I did make it home in one piece,but I did approach every light after that at 5mph.Got home, mopped out the floor boards and changed my shirt and underwear.

I never will know how the twin 3500 axles,tires and even the frame held up,but my hats off to the guy who built this trailer!
 
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