Holzklafter [German]


In Switzerland, a unit of volume used for wood (literally, a “wood Klafter”), = 2.916 cubic meters (about 103 cubic feet). The unit is the dimensions of a standardized pile of firewood, what in English is called a cord (with different dimensions).

The Konkordat of 1835 describes the Holzklafter as:

7. Das Holzklafter soll auf der Borderfläche ein Quadratklafter oder sechs und dreißig Quadratfuß halten; die Tiefe desselben oder die Scheiterlänge bleibt dem örtlichen Gebrauche anheim gestellt; doch soll dahin getrachtet werden, selbige auf eine (nicht allzu große) Länge zu bringen, die nicht in kleinen Bruchtheilen, sondern in ganzen und halben Fußen gegeben sei.

7. The Holzklafter should have a face of a square Klafter or 36 square Fuss. Its depth or the billet length remains left to local usage; however, should it be attempted to standardize on one (not too big) length, it should be  given, not in small fractions, but in whole and half Fuss.

The Konkordat made the Fuss = 0.3 meter, so under it the face of the cord was 3.24 square meters. A total capacity of 2.916 cubic meters indicates billets exactly 3 Fuss long, which makes the Holzklafter exactly ½ cubic Klafter.

If the billet length was less than 3 Fuss, the wood would be stacked higher to keep the volume constant. The width of the stack was not changed.

Some variations:

Canton Billet
cubic meters
Aargau, Basel-Landschaft, Freiburg, Schaffhausen   3.402
Bern, Glarus, Lucerne, Thurgau, Zurich 3 The standard described above. 2.916
Solothurn 4 Same as the Klafter of the Grand Duchy of Baden 3.888

Noback, (1851) vol 2, page 1112.


Vienna had a fuelwood measure called a Klafter. Sometimes, however, especially outside the city, e.g., in Croatia, it was incorrectly referred to as a Holzklafter. The Viennese Klafter varied with the length of the billet, see the chart.


Noback, (1851) vol 2, pages 1461 and 1891.

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