calculating lumber needs

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Forum topic by rut posted 02-20-2012 01:36 PM 1321 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rut's profile


65 posts in 2558 days

02-20-2012 01:36 PM

I’m starting on a project to build new kitchen cabinets. I’ve drawn out the cabinets to scale on paper and know all the dimensions.

What I’m having trouble doing is estimating the amount (board feet) of wood I need for the face frames and raised panels and drawers.

Is it safe to take the total sq inch of the cabinet front and use that or is there a nifty formula for calculating this.
The lumber company states on their web site that select grade yields about 83% usable lumber.


4 replies so far

View millzit's profile


111 posts in 2478 days

#1 posted 02-20-2012 01:44 PM

hey rut. i generally get pretty close with my estimates, but i always add 10% to the total for mistakes in estimating and milling. i also generally select the lumber myself to eliminate the unusable sticks. it costs a little more but well worth it. if you only get 83% usable and add 10%, then you need to add 27% to your total estimate. by the way, your method sounds good and it’s better to have too much stock than not enough. you can always use the left overs for weekend projects…........

-- cut that out!

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2868 days

#2 posted 02-20-2012 01:47 PM

I have great trouble with this. I milled a bunch of wood for an upcoming project, sent it to a professional cabinetmaker friend of mine, and his first question was, “is that enough wood?” I end up adjusting the project around the wood I have milled. Not the best way to go about it:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View TheDane's profile


5534 posts in 3838 days

#3 posted 02-20-2012 02:04 PM

I usually figure about 25% waste if I am milling my own stock. For small projects I will often just bite the bullet and buy milled stock at the BORG.

I have only done one large project with face frames, so my experience is limited, but all I did was calculate the number of lineal feet of 4/4 (2 1/4” wide) I needed then convert that to board feet.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View dannelson's profile


194 posts in 2546 days

#4 posted 02-20-2012 02:24 PM

be careful when ordering bdft unless its s4s material ,when ordering in the rough, the mills will measure in the rough ,charge in the rough,and than if you have to straight line rip and surface it all gets calculated in the rough dimension and it can leave you short 10 to 15 % over is common

-- nelson woodcrafters

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