Board Foot Calculator: Measure Lumber Volume Accurately

Our board foot calculator is an efficient tool that can be very helpful to woodworkers. This simple tool aids in accurately determining the quantity of lumber required for a woodworking project. A board foot is a standard unit of measure in the woodworking industry, accounting for the length, width, and thickness of lumber. It is used as a measurement of volume for hardwood lumber.

When purchasing lumber, you’ll find that most lumberyards or online retailers calculate the cost of lumber based on this board foot number.

By inputting your dimensions into the calculator below, you can get a precise estimation of the board feet needed, thereby curtailing waste and ensuring cost-effectiveness. This tool can be instrumental in planning, budgeting, and executing carpentry projects with precision and efficiency.

Calculate Board Feet

The calculator below will allow you to calculate board footage for the lumber dimensions you enter. It will also give you the total price if you choose to include a price per board foot. Simply enter the dimensions of your lumber in width, length, and thickness, and the calculator will tell you how many board feet you have.

Board feet: 0

Total price: $0.00

What is a Board Foot?

Measuring a plank of wood and marking with a pencil

A board foot is a specialized unit of measure used specifically in the lumber industry. One board foot represents a volume of wood that is 12 inches long (linear feet), 12 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. You can determine the board feet of any lumber piece, provided it has uniform measurements throughout.

The concept of a board foot comes into play when dealing with varying dimensions in woodworking projects. It’s not just about the length of the wood, but also its width and thickness that determine the total volume. For example, a piece of wood 2 feet long, 6 inches wide, and 2 inches thick would be 2 board feet.

Board feet are different than square feet, which is a unit of measure used for the total area of a material. Board foot calculations take into account the thickness and volume of the wood in addition to its length and width.

To calculate board feet in a piece of lumber using the length, width, and thickness, you can use the following board foot formula:

length (in feet) x width (in inches) x thickness (in inches) / 12 = board feet

Using a board foot calculator can simplify this process, all you need to do is input the dimensions, and we’ll do the work and then output the total board footage.

How to Use the Calculator for Best Results

This calculator is quite simple to use once you know the measurements you need to supply. You’ll easily be able to discover the board footage and lumber costs. The following are a few tips to help you know for certain that you are accurate with your measurements.

  1. Start with Measurements: First, measure the width and thickness of your lumber in inches. This should be done in nominal measurements. For example, a piece of finished lumber you purchase may be planed and surfaced to be 3/4″ thick but the nominal measurement is usually 1 inch. The same goes for width. A 6-inch board (nominal measurement) is usually finished to 5.5 inches.
  2. Length Matters: Proceed to measure the primary length in feet. If the lumber extends beyond whole feet, measure the additional length in inches. This ensures you account for every bit of your wood. You can add these inches onto the board footage calculator by filling in the inches field.
  3. Accuracy is Key: Always double-check your measurements. Even a slight misreading can lead to discrepancies in the final board foot value.
  4. Consider Waste: When planning any project in woodworking, you will always have some waste to consider. This is inevitable during the cutting and shaping process. You’ll need to plan for a little more than you need, typically 20 – 30% more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of calculating board feet in woodworking?

Calculating board feet is crucial in woodworking because it standardizes the way wood volume is measured, allowing for more accurate costing and planning. It helps you purchase the right amount of lumber for a project, preventing costly overages or shortages. More importantly, it allows for a comparison of costs across different sizes and species of lumber. This measurement method helps to ensure that you are getting fair value and helps in making informed decisions when purchasing wood.

Can I use the board foot calculator for any type of wood?

Yes, the board foot calculator can be used for any type of wood. The unit of measurement, board foot, is a standard in the woodworking industry and applies across all types of lumber. It’s not specific to any species or size of wood.

Can I calculate board feet if my measurements are in centimeters, not inches?

You will first need to convert your measurements from centimeters to inches and feet, as the standard unit of measurement used in the board foot formula is inches for width and thickness. Length should be entered in feet unless the value is less than a foot.

How do board feet and square feet differ in the context of woodworking?

Total board feet provide a more useful measurement than square feet in woodworking due to the three-dimensional nature of the work. While a square foot only takes into account the length and width of a piece of wood, a board foot also considers the thickness. This third dimension is crucial because woodworking often involves cutting and shaping lumber into specific dimensions.

What if my wood piece is not a perfect rectangle?

Our board foot calculator assumes your wood piece is rectangular. If your wood piece is irregularly shaped, you might have to calculate the board footage manually, taking into account the various dimensions. Alternatively, you could approximate the wood piece as a rectangle, but this may result in slight inaccuracies in your calculation.

Final Thoughts

This board foot calculator is a must-have tool for woodworking enthusiasts and professionals alike. It eliminates guesswork, reduces waste, and aids in cost-effective project planning by giving accurate measurements of the lumber needed. By understanding the concept of board feet and using this calculator effectively, you can streamline your woodworking projects and ensure they are both economically and materially efficient.

You will see this measurement a lot if you are ordering lumber online or from a local lumberyard, depending on the type of lumber you are purchasing. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with how board feet are measured and what it actually means. Once you have a good understanding of it, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions in your quest for finding cost-effective lumber for your projects.