Did I get short-changed ordering wood online?

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Forum topic by Dave11 posted 09-06-2013 05:26 PM 1862 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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33 posts in 2805 days

09-06-2013 05:26 PM

Hi. I’d never ordered wood online before, but saw some good reviews here about it, so decided to take a chance. Used one of the well-respected dealers that many here have used, that I won’t name for now.

Shipment came today. I got:

1 piece 8.5” X 13/16 X 44”

3 pieces 8” X 13/16 X 38”

4 pieces 7.75” X 13/16 X 48”

By my figuring, this comes to approx 15.5 bdft. I paid for 20 bdft.

This about a 25% shortage. Is that reasonable? I know for firewood at least, when you pay for a cord, you might get anywhere from a half-cord to a cord and a half, and no one seems to make a fuss (but me).

Is this expected? I wanted a few opinions before I contact the company.


18 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2913 days

#1 posted 09-06-2013 05:37 PM

I calculate 19.26 bd ft in this package. Multiply the width by the length in inches. divide by 144 sq inches. If the faces are planed then the 13/16 thickness is considered an inch. If the 13/16 is not planed then you got ripped off for 25%. If it is planed then you got a fair deal.

View Moose82's profile


91 posts in 2909 days

#2 posted 09-06-2013 05:37 PM

When I figured it out I come up with about 19.25 bf. I am sure you are paying for 4/4 lumber. The way I figured was width x length x thickness / 144. Thickness in this case I assume is 1”. What is the company name? I dont think they short changed you.

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 2350 days

#3 posted 09-06-2013 05:38 PM

The NHLA has a rule book for the standards used to measure lumber:

With that being said you have to look at how shorts are measured. This may vary between softwood, hardwood and tropical hardwood – very different.

Just find the species of wood you have and check to see the standard measurement. Then contact the company via e-mail and ask how they tally the wood.

By calculating the actual width and length you posted I came up with 19.26 BD./FT. How did you calculate your footage?

Lumber is calculated at the thickness it was cut at, not the surfaced thickness after machining. So a 12” X 12” X 1/2” thick piece of oak is one board foot – a 12” X 12” X 1” thick piece of oak is also one board foot.

View Dave11's profile


33 posts in 2805 days

#4 posted 09-06-2013 05:46 PM

Oh, my mistake was using the actual dimensions of the wood. It has been planed on both sides (though a couple of pieces have slight bows in them that I don’t think will disappear after planing to 3/4 inch, if that’s what I end up using). It would seem though that you should be paying only for what you actually get. Glad I asked.

I guess though the missing 0.75 bdft is expected?

View bondogaposis's profile


5151 posts in 2588 days

#5 posted 09-06-2013 06:03 PM

19.26 bf is correct. Wood is sold by nominal thickness not actual, therefore 13/16 = 1 inch in the weird word of board feet. It is a system that has evolved over several hundred years. When all lumber was rough cut you would get a one inch board green. If it shrunk during storage you still paid for one inch. Then they started drying and planing it. Starting out 1 inch green, then with shrinkage and planer shavings accounted for you get 13/16”. They figured out how to charge for the water and the planer shavings. Of course it is competitive, so prices really are set by the market and I doubt anyone really wants a bucket of water and a pile shavings to go with their lumber.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 2350 days

#6 posted 09-06-2013 06:06 PM

I would think that trying to find something in their pile that would add the extra .75 without going over wasnt there so you got 19.26.

I would say its the nature of the beast, when we order from the big boys we order say 100 feet and get 112.5 because that is just what they had for wood. They won’t cut a board up to make the measurement. But you pay for the 112.5 that they actually delivered.

Now if you prepay they won’t give you that overage because you already paid.

You also pay for any waste in SLR if you had them do it.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2814 days

#7 posted 09-06-2013 11:04 PM

I’d be a bit miffed about almost 1bf shortage.
You paid for 20bf, that should be the minimum, not the goal.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Dave11's profile


33 posts in 2805 days

#8 posted 09-07-2013 12:04 AM

I too thought they might go over the 20 bdft a bit, just to make sure they weren’t under, but they chose not to, maybe for weight reasons, since it was being shipped. But it was oak and not one of the cheaper woods, so I was a little surprised to be slightly shorted.

Maybe next time I’ll accidentally get 20.75 bdft.

View Tony_S's profile


953 posts in 3320 days

#9 posted 09-07-2013 12:47 AM


Did you realize you where ordering material that had been surfaced to 13/16”?

I’ve never ordered lumber online personally…..but if I did, and I ordered 4/4, rough sawn or surfaced, and received material less than 1” rough sawn, or 15/16” surfaced…I’d be pissed, and they’d be getting thier lumber back.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View JTJr's profile


11 posts in 2912 days

#10 posted 09-07-2013 01:15 AM

So I’d look at it this way. .75 board feet is about 12” of the 8.5 board.

Would I be miffed at losing 12” on a 44” x 8.5” board. That might be 8 pen blanks. It might be the difference between choosing where you made the cutoff for a measurement, or having no choice but to square the ends by trimming.

I think that I would be a bit miffed.


View Dave11's profile


33 posts in 2805 days

#11 posted 09-07-2013 07:06 PM

Lots of good insight here. There seems to be some disagreement though, with some seeming to say the missing 0.75 bdft is expected (or at least not a big issue) to those saying it would make a difference to them.

At the same time, I’d feel a little strange about calling them to complain about 0.75 bdft missing. So I guess I’ll order from somewhere else next time, and see if I do better.

But this place had overall the best reputation, here and in other places. Maybe it was a fluke.

They do say that the lumber is planed both sides, and is 13/16, so that was disclosed ahead of time. What might be an issue is that a couple pieces have a slight bow, with little room to fix them if I want 3/4 inch pieces.

View Loco's profile


210 posts in 1987 days

#12 posted 09-07-2013 09:42 PM

LOL. 13/16 is an inch. Sounds like a young wives tale….......... ;-)

-- What day is it ? No matter. Ummmm What month is it ? No moron. I paid for a 2 x 6. That means Two inches by six inches. I want the rest of my wood.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3974 days

#13 posted 09-07-2013 11:51 PM

1” rough lumber can be surfaced planed to 13/16” and still be considered 1” stock. This is an Industry standard. It costs to surface wood. Rough lumber is also less expensive than surfaced lumber.

The one thing that is not right is that they did not send the complete 20 BF. They should have gone over but never should they send less than what was purchased.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View rjpat's profile


46 posts in 2215 days

#14 posted 09-07-2013 11:54 PM

If the edges were surfaced also, it would be 20.5 BF

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 3009 days

#15 posted 09-08-2013 01:13 AM

When I’ve ordered online, I’ve always ordered from cr muterspaw the wood I get is 4/4 not 13/16 skip planed garbage. And I always get at least 20bf when I get the 20bf package, I’ve also seen packs where they mark “bad sections” and don’t count that towards the board food allotment.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

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