What is a Board Foot?

Brian asked 7 months ago

I hear the term board foot all the time and the wood at the store is priced by the board foot.

What exactly is a board foot and why is it important to know?

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1 Answers
sondich answered 2 months ago

I’ll take this one…

Board footage is a measure of volume rather than length or area.

Lineal footage = Length

Surface footage = Length x Width

Board footage = Length x Width x Height (lumber thickness count)

Board footage calculations are important to know if you are working with woods of varying thicknesses.

However, keep in mind that hardwood lumber thickness is measured in rounded quarters, not actual thickness. For example, a red oak board that has been planed to 1 3/8″ is measured on a 6/4 count, not 1 3/8″. Whereas, length and width are typically measured by tape. This is part of the calculation is not intuitive to new woodworkers and is often the source of errors.

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  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
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