Calculating Board Feet

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Hardwood lumber Is sold at most lumberyards by the board foot, which can make calculating the amount of lumber you need a little confusing. The three boards below, for Instance, all equal 2 board feet, though their physical dimensions are quite different A board foot is actually V12 of a cubic foot of rough lumber, or 144 cubic inches. It is the equivalent of a piece of stock that Is 12 In. wide, 12 in. long and 1 In. thick But any combination of dimensions that multiplies to 144 Is equivalent to one board foot. To calculate the number of board feet a piece of (umber contains, its thickness times Its width times its length (all In Inches) then divide by 144. If one dimension Is easier to calculate In feet rather than Inches, divide by 12 instead. When calculating board feet, don't forget to build some waste into the project estimate. The pros generally count on close to 30% when they're buying S2S stock, and 40% with roughsawn lumber (mostly because they can't see the defects until after planing).

rough), and roughsawn boards that arc simply cut from the log, dried and shipped to the lumberyard.

Because of their diverse uses, hardwoods are offered in a much larger variety of thicknesses than standard lx and 2x softwoods. This has led to the quartering system for determining lumber thickness, which allows you to buy hardwoods in Vi-in. thickness increments from V4 in. on up. Most yards offer popular hardwood species in three, four, live, six, eight, ten and even twelve quarter thicknesses (which read as SA, 1/4, 5A, &A, 8A, WA and 12/-i on the label at the rack). These correspond to rough (pre-planed) thicknesses of SA in., I in., PA in., IV2 in., 2 in., 2in. and 3 in. , -> I

Roughsawn '




If tte extent of your hard-wood needs amounts to only an occasional project, buy S4S boards at the yard. They'll come planed on both faces and jointed flat on both edges, ready for cutting Into project parts. If you have access to a jointer, consider buying S2S lumber, which still has rough edges but the faces are planed smooth. The most economical hardwood comes roughsawn to the lumberyard Aid will require you to do all of the surface preparation yourself. Some lumberyards will plane your stock for a nominal fee, if you ¬ęton't own a planer.

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Wood Working 101

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