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How to Calculate Board Feet

You may at some time come across a project that requires you to supply the amount of wood that you need in board feet. A board foot is a unit of cubic measure for lumber, equal to one foot square by one inch thick. There is a very simple equation that will allow you to determine how many board feet of lumber you will need for a project.

Length(inches) x Width(inches) x Height(inches) / 144 = Board Feet

In the following example, we are trying to determine board feet for a 1" x 8" x 8'
piece of lumber...

We start by calculating the length-which in this example is in feet-to inches. We do this by multiplying the number of feet(8) times the number of inches in a foot(12).

8' x 12" = 96"

We now multiply this number times the width and height.

96" x 8" x 1" = 768"

Next, we need to divide this number by 144 which is the number of cubic inches in a foot.

768" / 144 = 5.33 board feet

5.33 board feet is your answer. Please remember to add in extra for waste when determining board feet. The salesperson at your lumber yard will be able to help you determine how much extra should be added for waste for your specific project.

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