Getting enough lumber

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Forum topic by JADobson posted 08-23-2013 12:34 AM 1073 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1335 posts in 2351 days

08-23-2013 12:34 AM

Ok, I don’t want to be a pain but I was wondering if someone would double check my numbers to make sure that I’m getting enough lumber for my project. This is the first time that I will be buying lumber and I just want to make sure that I’m doing it right and getting enough. So if someone is willing to help me out I would really appreciate it.
Here goes:
My plans (for an Arts and Crafts Side Table) state that I need:
4 Legs 2” x 2” x 21 7/8”
4 Stretchers 7/8” x 3” x 14”
4 Aprons 7/8” x 1 1/2” x 14”
4 Panels 1/2” x 6” x 8 1/2”
1 Top 7/8” x 20” x 20”

Ok so I think that I need 2.5 bf of 8/4 for the legs, 5.5 bf of 4/4 and 1.5 bf of 2/4. Does that sound about right? Any help is greatly appreciated.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

4 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5155 posts in 2591 days

#1 posted 08-23-2013 12:47 AM

Mathematically it is correct. It is cutting it real close though. I like to add 20% so I can have freedom to utilize the best looking portions of the boards and also to allow for mistakes and waste.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Marcus's profile


1165 posts in 2260 days

#2 posted 08-23-2013 12:51 AM

I think you’re under a bit. Don’t forget waste and that the lumber you find won’t exactly match your dimensions. For example, with the legs, I would probably try to find a piece of lumber that is 5”x48”x2”, which would be 3 1/3 bd ft. You might be able to get away with a bit shorter, but that gives you an idea of my thought process anyways

View Patrick Garrett's profile

Patrick Garrett

38 posts in 1984 days

#3 posted 08-23-2013 12:52 AM

Are you planning to buy rough lumber? If so, you’ll want to add at least 1/4” thickness to each board for planing waste, and possibly a little more if the boards you find aren’t very flat. I usually go for 10/4 or 12/4 for 2” thick legs, unless you want to make them appear quarter-sawn on all four faces. To do that you can miter four thinner boards along the long edges and glue them up to present quarter-sawn faces all around.

You may be able to get the stretchers and aprons out of 4/4 lumber if it’s very straight and you’re comfortable with flattening and thicknessing, but 5/4 would be a safer bet if you’re just starting out.

The 1/2” panels will work if you can get S2S (surfaced on 2 sides) but you’ll want 3/4 or 4/4 if you’re starting with rough lumber.

I usually buy enough so I can afford to scrap one of each apron and stretcher and about 20% of the top. That way if I run across a hidden defect in a board or mess up a joint it doesn’t require another trip to the lumber yard.

Hope that helps!


-- Makes airplanes by day, planes wood at night <|>

View JADobson's profile


1335 posts in 2351 days

#4 posted 08-23-2013 01:23 AM

Thanks for your help everyone. I know that I should plan for waste, but I just wanted to make sure I was doing my calculations correctly. And no, Dusty, I don’t want to make another trip to the lumberyard. My local shop doesn’t sell QS white oak so I’m picking some up while I’m in Vancouver (1,600 km from home).

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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