Advanced Tree Recycling

Lumber Board Foot Calculator


Free Board Feet Worksheet

Single page, small print

Each time you go shopping, print copy on front and back so you have a shopping list for each species of wood.

Free Board Feet Worksheet

Three pages, large print

Each time you go shopping, print copy on front and back so you have a shopping list for each species of wood

Use these worksheets to help budget your next project.

Key Takeaway:

  • Board foot calculation is a crucial skill for woodworkers and construction professionals: Board foot is a unit of measurement used in the lumber industry to indicate the volume of wood in a board. Understanding how to calculate board foot is essential for accurate material purchasing and budgeting.
  • Improper use of board foot measurement can lead to costly mistakes: Without understanding board foot measurement, it is easy to miscalculate the amount of wood needed for a project and waste money on excess materials or run out of materials mid-project.
  • Useful tips for purchasing lumber include examining the wood for defects, calculating the board footage required, and requesting the boards be surfaced or dimensioned to specific measurements: These tips ensure that the correct amount of materials is bought, and the boards meet the project’s necessary standards.

Understanding Board Foot Calculation

As someone who is new in the world of woodworking, I found the concept of board foot calculations to be intimidating. However, understanding board foot calculation is crucial for every woodworker out there. In this segment, let’s break down board foot calculation into two parts.

  1. Firstly, let’s discuss the definition of board foot and why it is an essential concept for woodwork enthusiasts to know.
  2. Secondly, we will explore why board foot calculation is significant when it comes to estimating material costs for your projects.

Definition of Board Foot

Board foot is a term used to quantify the volume of lumber in the woodwork industry. It refers to a measure of volume that is equal to one board that is 1-inch thick, 12 inches wide, and 1 foot long. In essence, it refers to the measurement of sawn timber in cubic inches. The calculation determines the number of boards needed for a particular woodworking project.

Understanding the definition of board foot is significant, especially for purchasing lumber in large quantities. The term simplifies complex measurements and ensures uniformity when dealing with woodwork materials. Notably, it measures lumber’s quality rather than its dimensions, allowing for easy comparison between different types of wood.

One advantage of using board feet as a unit of measurement is that it allows for cost-effectiveness when purchasing lumber by bulk. The calculation method helps buyers determine how much wood they need for their project without overpaying or running out of raw materials.

Pro tip – Always ensure that you accurately calculate your required board footage to avoid overspending on raw materials while working on your projects.

Board foot calculation may sound boring, but it’s the key to not getting ripped off at the lumberyard.

Why is Board Foot Calculation Important?

Accurate board foot calculation is fundamental to woodworking projects. It is essential to avoid underestimating or overestimating lumber needs, which contributes to costly mistakes and delays. Without knowing the right board footage for a project, the woodworkers may end up with insufficient material or pay more for excess product. Moreover, it helps create an accurate budget for the project by calculating material costs and optimizing usage from each piece of available lumber.

In addition to its crucial role in budgeting and proper use of resources, board foot calculation allows customers to communicate effectively with lumberyard staff. Since the volume of wood depends on the thickness, width, and length of each piece, calculations based on board footage serve as a universal language for both customers and sellers. With accurate measurements of board footage, customers can avoid miscommunication, misunderstanding, and overspending due to lack of knowledge or experience in buying lumber.

A pro-tip for maximizing accuracy while measuring board footage is multiplying thickness by width first before multiplying by length. This technique compensates for warped boards that might measure shorter on one end than the other due to variations in wood grain and drying process. By taking these considerations into account when purchasing materials via board foot calculation, woodworkers can reduce waste material drastically while delivering high-quality deliverables within budget constraints.

Get ready to decipher lumber lingo like a pro, or risk looking like a plank.

The Language of the Lumberyard

When I first entered the lumberyard business, I quickly realized that every industry has its own language. And just like any new language, you have to learn it from scratch. However, one area where many customers face a challenge is with the measurement of wood. Understanding the board foot calculation is essential when purchasing lumber. In this next segment, we’ll explore the challenge of new customers in understanding board footage. From there, we’ll delve into an explanation of board foot calculation, so you leave here confident in your understanding and ready for your next project.

The Challenge of New Customers

Acclimating new patrons to the lumberyard presents challenges. New customers may be unfamiliar with board foot calculation, leading to confusion and frustration. Clarifying the process can strengthen customer relationships, boost sales, and build brand trust. Understanding how to calculate board feet affords lumberyard visitors a firm grasp of their material needs, enabling informed purchase decisions.

A comprehensive explanation of board foot calculation is necessary for first-time buyers. Lumberyards are complex environments with multiple dimensions of information specific to the industry jargon. Offering practical Board Foot education gives potential patrons a competitive advantage in navigating this language.

It is important to remember that while experienced builders understand terms like FMG or rough-sawn readily, newcomers require more engagement. A detailed breakdown allows unfamiliar clients to participate more easily in discussion, cementing confidence and loyalty from early interactions.

The challenge of new customers has persisted throughout the history of timber yards and continues today, highlighting an ongoing need for strong educational programs around board foot calculation and tool use.

Get ready to do some math and impress your lumberyard with your newfound knowledge of board foot calculation.

Explanation of Board Foot Calculation

Board Foot Calculation Demystified

To effectively use lumber at the lumberyard, understanding board foot calculation is essential to avoid overcharging or wastage of materials.

A 4-Step Guide to Board Foot Calculation:

  1. Determine the length, width, and thickness (in inches) of the board in question.
  2. Multiply all three dimensions together (length x width x thickness) to get the total cubic inches.
  3. Divide the total cubic inches by 144 to get the total board footage.
  4. Round up the result to the nearest whole number for better estimation.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that one board foot measures 12”x12”x1”, meaning a single board can have multiple board feet depending on its dimensions.

For ages, board footage has been used as a basic measurement for wood traders because it provides a standardized unit even when dealing with odd sizes.

Calculating board feet: Because counting trees is way too hard.

Real-World Use of Board Foot Calculations

As a woodworking enthusiast, I’ve come to realize the importance of understanding how much lumber I need for a project. That’s where the board foot calculator comes in. In the real-world use of board foot calculations, there are two main areas that I find especially helpful: calculating material cost and navigating the lumberyard.

When it comes to calculating material cost, the board foot calculator takes the guesswork out of the equation. And, if you’re buying lumber at the lumberyard but aren’t sure where to start, these tips will guide you on how to select material with the lowest cost and highest quality.

Calculating Material Cost

The cost of materials is a crucial factor in any construction project. A precise calculation of the required lumber and its cost, helps in efficient planning and budgeting. One such method to achieve this is by ‘Calculating Material Cost’ with respect to the board foot measurement.

Board Footage RequiredTotal Square footage required * Thickness of desired wood/12
Cost for Board Footage(Total cost / Total Board Footage) + waste allowance (as %)
Fractional MeasurementsIf board is less than or equal to 1”, measure as if actual. If larger than an inch, round up to the nearest even number.

It is important to keep the waste allowance separate while calculating each individual piece’s board footage requirement. Additionally, it is necessary to include the correct deduction percentage based on personal preference or organization policy while including wastage expenses.

Historically, when lumber was sold by length, width, and thickness instead of fractional measurements like today, calculations were done manually using rudimentary tools like chalk lines or rulers. However, digitized calculators and automated ‘board foot calculator’ apps now simplify this method for quick estimates.

Don’t be afraid to haggle at the lumberyard, just remember that ‘board feet‘ is not a form of currency.

Tips for Buying Lumber at the Lumberyard

When it comes to purchasing lumber, there are certain things that one should keep in mind to make the most out of the experience. Here are some helpful tips for buying lumber at the lumberyard:

  • Know the project specifications and measurements beforehand.
  • Inspect each board for knots, warps, splits, and other defects.
  • Avoid boards with excessive moisture as they can result in warped and misshapen cut pieces.
  • Choose boards with fewer imperfections as they require less material trimmings and wastage.
  • Bulk orders save time by reducing frequent trips to the lumberyard; however, buying fewer boards allows buyers to be more selective in their choices.

It is also crucial to remember that not all woods are created equal, and it is essential to check which type of wood embodies better characteristics depending on individual project requirements. In addition, different woods have varying prices, so budget-conscious buyers can use this information when selecting materials. By employing these tips for buying lumber at the lumberyard, buyers can ensure that they leave with quality materials suited for their construction needs.

Therefore using appropriate guidelines while buying the right quality lumber is crucial as even slight misjudgments while doing so lead to a waste of resources such as time and money ultimately derailing or delaying one’s construction plans quite extensively.

Transform your cutlist into a handy parts list for smoother woodworking operations and happier customers.

Make Your Cutlist a ‘Parts List’ instead

Making a precise list of parts instead of a standard cutlist is a better approach in woodworking. By doing this, you will have a clearer idea of the parts you need. Here are five points to remember:

  1. Label all parts of the project
  2. Specify the sizes of each part
  3. Note down the required quantity of material
  4. Add an additional 10% material purchase to account for waste
  5. Organize the list so that it tracks the build order

It’s important to list down every single part of the project to get an accurate estimation of material purchase. Keep in mind to avoid waste by adding 10% more material than your estimates. Here’s a Pro Tip; keep this parts list handy, and use it to plan future projects.


The board foot calculator is a valuable tool for measuring and calculating the amount of wood needed for various projects. This tool provides accurate calculations and saves time and money for the user. With the ease of access to online calculators, it is crucial to choose a reliable source that provides error-free calculations. Therefore, it is recommended to use the Board Foot Calculator for all wood measurement and calculation needs. Not only does it provide quick and efficient results, but it also eliminates the potential for mistakes in manual calculations. Using this tool will ensure accurate measurements and a successful project outcome.

Five Facts About Board Foot Calculator:

  • ✅ A board foot is a measure of volume used to determine the amount of wood in a board. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Board foot calculations are used when purchasing lumber at the lumberyard. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ To calculate board feet, multiply the thickness, length, and width of a board in inches and divide by 144. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ When estimating the amount of lumber needed for a project, it is recommended to add 50-100% to account for mistakes, defects, and redesigns. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Board foot calculators can be found online and can help simplify the process of calculating board feet. (Source: Team Research)

FAQs about Board Foot Calculator

What is a board foot calculator?

A board foot calculator is a tool that helps woodworkers determine the amount of hardwood lumber they need to buy from a lumber yard. It’s a formula that takes into account the thickness, width, and length of the board.

How do I calculate the total board feet for my project?

To calculate the total board feet for your project, you’ll need to determine the thickness, width, and length of the lumber you plan to use. Multiply these dimensions together in inches, then divide the result by 144 to get the total board footage.

What is board foot price?

Board foot price is the cost of one board foot of hardwood lumber. Lumber yards typically sell wood by the board foot instead of per-board or per-linear foot because boards come in various thicknesses, widths, and lengths.

How many board feet of lumber do I need to buy for my project?

The amount of board feet you need to buy for your project depends on the dimensions of the lumber you plan to use. Calculate the board footage for each piece, then add them up to get the total board footage. Add in a percentage for waste and mistakes.

What is the board foot formula?

To calculate board footage, multiply the thickness, width, and length of the board in inches, then divide the result by 144. The formula is: (thickness in inches) x (width in inches) x (length in inches) ÷ 144 = board footage.

How do I calculate board footage for multiple boards of different sizes?

To calculate board footage for multiple boards of different sizes, add up the board footage for each board separately. Then, add the totals together to get the total board footage for all the boards. Remember to add extra for waste and mistakes.