Wood -- Cubic Inches vs. Pounds

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by socalq, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. Friends --

    Some websites list wood by cubic inches, and others by pounds. Is there are rule of thumb as to how many cubic inches equal how many pounds (or vice-versa)?


  2. Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
  3. Thanks, Martin!

    The problem I'm having is that on some sites wood is listed by cubic inches, and on others it's by pounds. I'm trying to figure out on a per pound (or per cubic inch basis), how they compare!  Very frustrating...
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    If there's a formula I don't know it. I have seen theses websites and sometimes it hard to tell how big the bag is. Now maybe go to where ever and buy some chips and weight out the bag. That way you can find out how much they weigh.
  5. 3 years and 3 1/2 months later I may have the answer. I was looking at Lowe's.com trying to remember if I needed anything else and it occurred to me that I used up most of the last of my chips on my last smoke.

    They have Cowboy Brand chips in a few species 180 cu-in for $5.49

    The have a new unrated brand called Bradley selling at 1.6lb pack for $21.86

    I have been wondering the same thing ever since I started shopping for chips for my MES and it's frustrating when there is no uniform unit of measurements for stuff. Manufacturers are looking to screw you any chance they get these days...a can of tuna used to 6 oz and they think we are idiots and don't realize they are now 5 oz...quarts used to be 32oz and they think we are idiots not realizing we are being sold 28oz for what used to be a quart jar of many things. It aggravates me because I want the danged quart or the full sized can of tuna, even if it is more expensive. Recipes for years are based on common American measurements...but some people are gullible enough to not even notice so they (manufacturers) do it because by and large most people are suckers.

    Anyway, rant over. I'm here to help fight the good fight and get the truth and information out to the people.

    I found this great page on this web site:


    All dry chips considered "dry" and all and all species considered the same density we may be able to use this calculation. Yes I realize there are denser woods than others, but are any of you NOT using a hard wood? Hickory, Mesquite, Apple, Cherry, Pecan, Alder...I think those are all hard woods, its not like we are smoking with pine and cedar or poplar right? I would imagine the hard woods are somewhat similar in density for the purpose of dry weight.

    So the chart says 1 cu-in=.01lb. This seems to jive on the surface. That means a 180 cu-in=about 1.8lbs or 1-3/4lbs.

    So the above mentioned Cowboy chips come in at around $3.05 a pound pre-tax (sorry bout your luck of you are in Cali or Hawaii but in VA sales tax is 5.3% rural and 6% urban areas, some States have no sales tax, but dont think they aren't getting a piece of your arse in other ways)

    The 1.6lb pack of Bradly chips is a rip-off in comparison at $13.66 a pound! What...are they, certified organic or something?! They count on people being ignorant and having way too much money on their hands.

    I am seriously thinking about keeping my DR chipper now. It's useless because of the size for my property, I'd rather just by truckloads of mulch, but with the price of chips and the fact that my 10 acres is almost all hardwood, it might pay for itself! I have no fruit wood though, but I do have walnut!

    Anybody ever smoke with beech?

    I"m going to buy a couple bags because I need something else from Lowe's anyway. I'll weigh them and compare and post my results. If it's conclusive I may start a new thread just to re-stamp it in the forums for "we the people" to know!
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can buy hardwoods at your local cabinet shop supplier....    1 board foot = 144 cubic inches...   weighs about 1.4 lbs......   and it ain't no $14...  and it's dry....  ready to go....  look for Alder, Maple, Oak etc...   some pallets are Oak but you never know where they have been.... 

    Saw them up, use the sawdust...   for years, smokers used dust and some commercial smokers still do.....

    Todd makes a smoke generator that uses dust....

    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
  7. First, I want to say I found the issue of posting external links after posting that link for the calculator. I simply cant imagine why that would be and problem with this site, but apparently the rule is ZERO external links. If anyone wants that information for the calculating site, PM me and I'll give you my email address and give it to you personally off of this site...for free...

    So far the link is still there though. A mod may just not have axed it yet.

    Not my circus not my monkeys as the saying goes. This is Jeff's ship and he can sail it controlling information to crew as he sees fit while you're on the voyage. This somewhat discourages me to start a thread on this subject, because I am a freedom of information guy. This site may be an income stream for some, and I get that, but I wont participate long in a commercial for others. Thing is, the web, for now is wide open. There is a TON of free info out there.

    I will do my best to stay within the confines of the TOS (can someone "link" me to that...I cant find it, it should be right on the site header if the site is a stickler about it.). The only reason I am a member here is it looks like a good knowledgeable group of folks that patronize the site. I want to be a part of that, and as you can see by my post ratio, I give as much as I receive. That's what I believe in.

    I had the greatest welding instructor that ever lived and he was a "victim" of union upcommance as an apprentice in the Post WW2 era. He dedicated his life to sharing information to as many people as possible because he believed "a rising tide lifts all boats". When we are all as smart and informed as we can be, we make better "people" as a whole. He wanted to be sure no kid ever had to hand a journeyman welder his chipping hammer and wire brush for 10 years before ever seeing a welding arc like he did in the hard core union days when old men protected their jobs by holding down the young men's growth.

    With that said:


    I always have a great appreciation of your input. I really appreciate and love the old timers...that's who I always seek out everywhere in life. Even in my extended family, I gravitate to the elders to absorb their wisdom.

    What a great idea going to a cabinet maker. I have several contacts and a couple friends that are cabinet makers, and not only do they deal with great woods, but they know how that wood has been handled. Like you said about pallets, you never know sometimes what that wood has touched or been treated with. A trusted cabinet maker would know that about most of his wood and could tell you when he doesn't.

    This thread/conversation was started for and is about commercial wood chips bought at retail points, so I'll get back to that subject in a minute in a separate post.

    But, I AM interested in Todd's sawdust smoker, and Dave, your DIY wood sourcing is excellent advice. Be careful though, you know Amazen is a sponsor and he sells sawdust...right? HE, he...but hey, you did plug his smoker product though, so I'm sure you're good.

    As a metal man, I like to DIY stuff. I admit, I did press the "easy" button and bought the MES-30 digital. Got a great deal and wanted the ease of electric. I don't have days to sit around a smoker...I aint retired yet! And I don't make my living smoking meat or even with food in general...THAT I would consider retirement because to make real income on food is very hard work. So in retirement, food may be the way I go to keep busy and have something I love to do and make a little money.

    So Dave, can you tell me what metal the Amazen smokers are made from? I didn't see it on the web site. If it is stainless, the good stuff, a magnet will not stick to it and it wont have a coating.

    Also, what is the difference between the dust, pellet, and tube smokers? Is the perforation smaller for the dust and larger for the pellets?

    I like the idea of the cabinet maker resource. It's a mess to just saw wood for the dust (A dust collector helps but a man would need that gear to do it right), but for chunks it's easier. I could get a buddy to reserve some dust for me and I dont use chunks right now, but if I could get strips from him, I could use my DR Chipper to make chips.

    Next time I'm up at the metal shop I work out of, I'm going to look for some perforated stainless. I want to make my own dust smoker. Todd's are relatively inexpensive, but a metal man should make his own if he can! I want to try it with cold smoking something like cheese while the weather is cold.

  8. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As for external links, I've been salting my posts with search terms instead of the actual links. I'll mention something in a text string that could be copied and pasted into a search, whether on Google or just from here on-site.
  9. Thanks Blue, that's a solid workaround and kind of where I was headed.

    I realize a site can get unruly trying to moderate. Maybe a good idea would be to allow premium members to post links in the body of their text rather than just in the signature. A premium member should be a trusted member and the membership revoked for 3rd strike violations.

    I have thought about buying premium, and would if there were more solid bennies like that. I feel like just the value of the Q View posts I've made and will be making, and the few recipes/methods I post are a greater value to the site than the $15 bucks already, especially when you consider what some people charge just for a recipe[​IMG]

    I'm still feeling things out here before jumping in. I don't have time to spend constantly on a site and only come here when I have something to say or a few minutes to kill. I am always too late when asking for advice because it usually occurs to me right before I need it! I don't feel like my status here gives me the bonifides to really jump in and advise others yet either. I have joined other cooking sites only to ditch them because the membership was weird and every time I posted something got uncomfortable.

    The people here seem really cool though, I hope to gel and be part of something we all learn from and make the best food possible...ourselves.

    I think the biggest problem people will have with my posts is I tend to write small books! [​IMG]  
  10. So here's the deal, I bought a bag of chips at Lowe's yesterday to test this and here's the results:

    This 180 Cu-In bag weighed in at 2lbs .08 oz. So basically 2lbs.

    That's not far off of the 1.8lbs I came up with using that formula. It's .2 lbs which is about 3.2 oz. difference. That's a variable of about 10%. Not too shabby.

    I am planning an order of a variety of chips I found on Amazon that I am interested in (pray tell, I will not link it[​IMG]). When I get those, I will have 4 other species of the 180 Cu-In bags to weigh for comparison. Then I may make a thread to sum it all up for people to see easily.

    This is an aggravating aspect of retail products for smokers. I realize there are all kinds of DIY alternatives and I will be exploring that on my own property and locally as well. I have mostly hardwoods on my 10 acres and there are orchards all over here in the central Piedmont of Virginia. I am going to contact them to see if I can get fruit woods. My dad has Apple and Cherry on his property and I have oak, maple, walnut and beech at least that I know of and probably hickory. I need to get my national Audubon books out and educate myself.

    BUT, this topic is for retail products and my new thread will be specifically about that. Hopefully it will save some people some money and aggravation.[​IMG]  
  11. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The feel of this board reminds me of the old yahoo group BAM.  ("Pork fat rules"). It's like we're sitting around the kitchen table, or, in this case, blowing smoke around the smoker. I've said before, I was on some boards in the 1990s where the antagonism reached the point of direct physical threats. Not here.
    chef k-dude likes this.
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Kurt, morning....   Holey Kow....  you are wound up...

    Anyway....  I tested the AMNPS and a magnet does NOT stick to it.....

    The difference between dust and pellets is the divider....   dust is a single perforated strip.....   pellets is a triangular wall to prevent "cross burn" into a different row...

    Hole size... I don't know.... 

    About premium membership....   It is my understanding, premium members are allowed to "advertise" to some degree because they are treated as supporting/sponsors of the site...  

    Off site links "used" to be treated as "OK" if the theme of the thread "needs it" to maintain continuity...   Now I don't know...   I put them in so folks know what I'm talking about....  I figure folks will click on it....  get some information... and return.....

    The other alternative is to give hints as to what you are talking about and have them search, possible for hours, to find it...  maybe get PO'd and not return.....  

    Either way, if my stuff is out of bounds, it will be deleted and my post will sound stupid... which they do at times anyway....

    I try... if I fail, Oh well....

    I'm just here to try and pay it forward for all the great, inspirational help I received when I got here..  The End...
    texasdavid likes this.
  13. Ha ha! Thanks Dave!

    I am not drinking drinking these days and pumping the B12 so maybe a little stoked[​IMG]

    I am well known for talking and typing too much[​IMG]. I tend to save up stuff and post all at approximately the same time. You wont see me for quite a while and then I'm on it like "stank on manure"...then poof...gone again!

    Some call it "TMI" and some just say "Short story, Ken...give us the short story"...[​IMG]

    I can take it...humbly...[​IMG]
  14. Right-on Blue,

    Now pass me another beer and rip a pinch off that Butt for me to taste that bark![​IMG][​IMG]

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