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Forum topic by DWoodhead posted 01-24-2018 01:20 PM 812 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DWoodhead

3 posts in 267 days


01-24-2018 01:20 PM

I am new to woodworking. I am trying to learn how to purchase lumber. I kind of understand the formula for calculating board ft. However, I am confused with the answer I get when I try to figure it out. My question is simple. If I am trying to buy (10) boards that measure 1”x4”x10ft how many board feet is that for all 10 boards? Sorry for the dumb question but any answer would be greatly appreciated. Maybe once I know the answer I can figure it out on my own from there.


16 replies so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 763 days


#1 posted 01-24-2018 01:28 PM



If I am trying to buy (10) boards that measure 1”x4”x10ft how many board feet is that for all 10 boards?

- DWoodhead

((1×4 x 10) / 144) x 10 = 33.33 bft

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Holt

271 posts in 2745 days


#2 posted 01-24-2018 01:30 PM

One board foot is a piece of wood one inch thick and twelve inches on each side.

So for your board 1” =1
4” = 1/3 of a foot
10 ft = 10

So 1×1/3×10 = about 3.33 board feet.

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

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jmos

856 posts in 2485 days


#3 posted 01-24-2018 01:37 PM

A couple things to keep in mind:

Dimensional lumber, or construction lumber, is different – if your buying 2×4’s they are sold by the linear foot, and they are not actually the dimensions stated (a 2×4 is 1.5”x3.5”.)

For hardwood, the thickness is nominal, so if your buying hardwood that has been surfaced on 2 sides (S2S), the thickness will be less than the nominal size listed (say 7/8” think for a 4/4 board) but you pay for the full 4/4. The place I used to buy from I was lucky if I could get a 4/4 board that was actually 3/4” thick.

-- John

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tomsteve

808 posts in 1335 days


#4 posted 01-24-2018 01:48 PM

1” times 4” times 120”(10’) =480 cubic inches.
divided by 144= 3.33 cubic feet or 3.33 board feet per board.
3.33 bd ft times 10 boards=33.33 board feet total

board foot is simply cubic feet splained differently

theres board foot calculatin machines available on the WWW to use for free,too.

oh, and welcome to the forum.

View gargey's profile

gargey

1013 posts in 891 days


#5 posted 01-24-2018 02:06 PM

333.3 board feet.

:)

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bondogaposis

4925 posts in 2467 days


#6 posted 01-24-2018 02:08 PM

It is easier to think of a board foot as 144 cubic inches, forget about the 12”x12”x1” nonsense. The easiest way to calculate is: (length in inches x width x thickness)/144= bf. I used to pack a small calculator to the lumber yard, now I have a phone that can calculate.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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CaptainKlutz

447 posts in 1610 days


#7 posted 01-24-2018 04:00 PM

Entire “board foot” measurement can be daunting even when you understand it!

Much simpler approach to buying wood is: #1 Visit favorite lumber store,
pick out enough nice looking boards to make your project (adding extra 10-15% for inevitable mistakes),
let nice check out person measure and calculate the bdft, then
pay them what they require to leave store with your wood.
Works for me. :)

PS – the inch to foot conversion is only hard part. One trick when picking boards that are roughly same length, use tape measure and keep adding together all the widths recording final measurement in feet, then measure length in feet and multiply length/width (4/4 lumber). If buying 6/4 or 8/4 lumber need to multiple by 1.5 or 2 for extra thickness.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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DWoodhead

3 posts in 267 days


#8 posted 01-24-2018 07:55 PM

Guys, I want to thank all of you for your quick response and very thorough and helpful answers. I have a really good idea now of how to move forward with future purchases. This was my first post to this forum and I am overwhelmed with the responses and the willingness of so many people willing to help out a new person getting into woodworking. Again, thank you all and I truly appreciate everyone’s response.

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dbray45

3320 posts in 2893 days


#9 posted 01-24-2018 08:22 PM

Other things to keep in mind

If you buy 8” wide lumber, allow for the ripping and jointing of both boards.

Watch for cupping and twisting – if you rip the boards smaller and glue them to flatten them, you also lose width as well.

Watch the ends for checking and splits and plan what you will cut on what boards.

Rule is that if you buy exactly what you need, you will not have enough.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Vindex's profile

Vindex

93 posts in 938 days


#10 posted 01-29-2018 08:39 PM

I use this excel spreadsheet from woodworkerssource: https://www.woodworkerssource.com/help/Project-Planner-Board-Feet-Calc2.xlsx

It calculates the board feet for me.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

2386 posts in 1503 days


#11 posted 01-29-2018 08:52 PM



1” times 4” times 120”(10 ) =480 cubic inches.
divided by 144= 3.33 cubic feet or 3.33 board feet per board.
3.33 bd ft times 10 boards=33.33 board feet total

board foot is simply cubic feet splained differently

theres board foot calculatin machines available on the WWW to use for free,too.

oh, and welcome to the forum.

- tomsteve

Just a small correction to the bolded line above. You are correct that it is 3.33 board feet but board feet are not equivalent to cubic feet. There are 12 board feet (12”x12”x1”) per cubic foot (12”x12”x12”)

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Drew's profile

Drew

350 posts in 3216 days


#12 posted 01-29-2018 10:17 PM


If I am trying to buy (10) boards that measure 1”x4”x10ft how many board feet is that for all 10 boards?

- DWoodhead

((1×4 x 10) / 144) x 10 = 33.33 bft

- Ron Aylor

This is not correct.

((1×4 x 120) / 144) x 10 = 33.33 bft is correct. Or ((1×4 x 10) / 12) x 10 = 33.33 bft
Or better yet:
Length (1200) x width (4) x thickness (1), all in inches, divided by 144.

-- TruCraftFurniture.com

View Walker's profile

Walker

146 posts in 588 days


#13 posted 01-30-2018 12:55 AM

I usually just google “Board Foot calculator”, click on the first result, then plug the numbers in.

http://extension.missouri.edu/scripts/explore/G05506.asp

Most of the time I go with Captain Klutz’s method, but sometimes I want to know the price of a project before buying anything.

-- ~Walker

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ScottM

671 posts in 2262 days


#14 posted 01-30-2018 01:26 PM



I usually just google “Board Foot calculator”, click on the first result, then plug the numbers in.

http://extension.missouri.edu/scripts/explore/G05506.asp

Most of the time I go with Captain Klutz s method, but sometimes I want to know the price of a project before buying anything.

- Walker

I use this one a lot when comparing prices between one who sells by board foot and one who just sells the board for a flat price or linear foot.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2880 posts in 2630 days


#15 posted 01-30-2018 01:48 PM

The board feet answer has been thoroughly covered, but you can buy lumber three ways, actually.

If you get on Craigslist and go to Materials, then type in Lumber, you’ll see a lot of different people selling lumber a lot of ways.

By the board foot, the most common and what was explained here.

By the Linear foot, which is 12” of the plank, no matter how thick or how wide it is. Just the length. Sometimes, this can be a real bargain, but always have your phone with your calculator out to do the board foot calculation so you can see how much they are really charging for the board foot price. 12” of a 4” wide board may not be any bargain, but 12” of a 14” wide board probably is a real bargain. I’ve bought a lot this way, cash in hand.

By the load. Sometimes, this is the absolute best way to buy lumber. A HUGE load I bought some off of a month or two ago just got sold around me here. (In St. Elmo, Chattanooga). He had about 1800 board foot, total, of walnut, cherry, oak and hickory. I know from picking through it that the hickory was junk, (full of powder post), but he had all remaining 1800 board foot up for $3600. Even if you gave him that, (and a lot of that lumber was really, really nice), that is a lousy $2 a board foot. BUT, if you walked up with say, $3000 or $3100, you might be able to grab it for a stupid wholesale price.
When I bought it, he had almost 3000 board feet in storage, and boy, that was some fine lumber. I just didn’t have any more money or space to store more than what I bought. He sold more to other people, than sold the remaining load for a real bargain.

I know when I bought from him, I cherry-picked about 130 board foot of walnut and cherry and a tiny bit of hickory for $350 total. That was $2.69 a board foot for top shelf nine year old planed on one side lumber, mostly a true 1” or 1 1/8” thick, random widths up to 13” wide, with most boards going 8-9 foot long. I took mostly the walnut, since it is the most expensive for me to buy anywhere else.

So there is always more than just the measurements! Bargains are out there, if you hunt….

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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