# Board Foot Calculator

Total board feet: 0

Total cost: \$0

You can quickly figure out how much hardwood lumber you want to buy with this board foot calculator.

Enter the number of pieces, thickness in inches, width in inches, and length in ft.

If you want to calculate the total cost of the board foot, you can also add the price per board foot.

In case you didn’t know, one board foot of lumber is one square foot of one-inch thick lumber.

1 board foot = 144 cubic inches = 1/12 cubic foot

board feet = length (ft) × width (in) × thickness (in) / 12

You might want to determine tree removal cost or Asphalt quantity.

## What is a Board Foot?

A board foot is a unit of measurement used in the lumber industry to express the volume of wood. One board foot is equal to 144 cubic inches of wood, which is equivalent to a piece of wood that is 1 inch thick, 12 inches wide, and 12 inches long.

Unlike square footage, which measures area, board footage measures volume. This distinction is crucial when working with lumber, as thickness plays a significant role in determining the amount of wood needed for a project.

## The Importance of Board Feet in Woodworking

Board feet are used extensively in the lumber industry for several reasons:

1. Standardization: Board feet provide a standard unit of measurement for lumber, making it easier to compare and price different wood types and sizes.
2. Volume calculation: They allow for accurate calculation of wood volume, which is essential for estimating material needs and costs.
3. Pricing: Lumber is often priced per board foot, making it easier to determine the cost of materials for a project.
4. Project planning: Knowing how to calculate board feet helps in planning woodworking projects more effectively.

## What is a Board Foot Calculator?

A board foot calculator is a tool that helps woodworkers, carpenters, and lumber buyers quickly and accurately calculate the volume of wood in board feet. This calculation is based on the dimensions of the lumber – length, width, and thickness.

### How Does a Board Foot Calculator Work?

A board foot calculator uses the board foot formula to determine the volume of wood. The basic formula is:

Board Feet = (Length in inches × Width in inches × Thickness in inches) ÷ 144

The calculator allows users to input the dimensions of their lumber and automatically performs this calculation, saving time and reducing the chance of errors.

## Using a Board Foot Calculator

Using a board foot calculator is straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Measure your lumber: Determine the length, width, and thickness of your wood piece in inches.
2. Input the dimensions: Enter these measurements into the calculator.
3. Calculate: The calculator will automatically compute the board feet.
4. Interpret the results: The output will be in board feet, which you can use for estimating costs or material needs.

### Example Calculation

Let’s say you have a piece of oak that is 8 feet long, 10 inches wide, and 1.25 inches thick. Here’s how you would calculate the board feet:

1. Convert all measurements to inches:
• Length: 8 feet = 96 inches
• Width: 10 inches
• Thickness: 1.25 inches
1. Apply the formula:
(96 × 10 × 1.25) ÷ 144 = 8.33 board feet

A board foot calculator would perform this calculation automatically, saving you time and effort.

## Benefits of Using a Board Foot Calculator

1. Accuracy: Reduces the risk of human error in calculations.
2. Time-saving: Quickly calculates board feet for multiple pieces of lumber.
3. Cost estimation: Helps in accurately estimating the cost of lumber for projects.
4. Project planning: Assists in determining how much wood is needed for a project.
5. Versatility: Can handle various wood sizes and dimensions.

## Advanced Features of Board Foot Calculators

Some board foot calculators offer additional features that can be extremely helpful:

### Multiple Board Calculation

Many calculators allow you to input dimensions for multiple boards and calculate the total board feet. This is particularly useful when working with various sizes of lumber in a single project.

### Price Calculation

Some calculators include a feature to input the price per board foot, automatically calculating the total cost of the lumber.

### Conversion Options

Advanced calculators may offer the ability to convert between different units of measurement, such as switching between inches and feet or even metric units.

### Fraction to Decimal Conversion

Since lumber dimensions are often expressed in fractions (e.g., 3/4 inch), some calculators can automatically convert these fractions to decimals for easier calculation.

## Common Applications of Board Foot Calculators

1. Woodworking Projects: Estimating material needs for furniture making, cabinetry, and other woodworking projects.
2. Construction: Calculating lumber requirements for building projects.
3. Lumber Purchasing: Determining how much wood to buy for specific projects or inventory.
4. Timber Valuation: Assessing the value of standing timber or lumber inventory.
5. Educational Purposes: Teaching students about wood measurement and volume calculation.

## Considerations When Using a Board Foot Calculator

While board foot calculators are incredibly useful, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Nominal vs. Actual Dimensions: Remember that lumber is often sold by nominal dimensions, which can differ from actual dimensions. For example, a “2×4” board is actually 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches. Make sure to use actual dimensions in your calculations.
2. Rounding: Some calculators may round results, which can affect accuracy when dealing with large quantities of lumber.
3. Waste Factor: Consider adding a waste factor (typically 10-15%) to your calculations to account for cuts, defects, and mistakes.
4. Special Cases: Some wood types or cuts (like round logs) may require different calculation methods.

## Board Foot Calculator vs. Linear Foot

It’s important to distinguish between board feet and linear feet. While a board foot is a measure of volume, a linear foot is simply a measure of length. A board foot calculator focuses on volume, which is crucial for understanding the actual amount of wood you’re working with.

## Practical Examples of Using a Board Foot Calculator

### Example 1: Estimating for a Bookshelf Project

Let’s say you’re building a bookshelf and need to calculate the board feet for the shelves. You plan to use 5 shelves, each 36 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 1 inch thick.

Using the board foot calculator:

• Length: 36 inches
• Width: 12 inches
• Thickness: 1 inch

The calculator would show that each shelf is 3 board feet (36 × 12 × 1 ÷ 144 = 3). For all 5 shelves, you would need 15 board feet of lumber.

### Example 2: Purchasing Hardwood Lumber

Suppose you want to buy some cherry lumber for a table top. The lumber yard prices cherry at \$8.50 per board foot. You need a piece that is 6 feet long, 24 inches wide, and 2 inches thick.

Using the calculator:

• Length: 72 inches (6 feet)
• Width: 24 inches
• Thickness: 2 inches

The calculator would show 24 board feet (72 × 24 × 2 ÷ 144 = 24). At \$8.50 per board foot, this piece would cost \$204 (24 × \$8.50).

## Tips for Effective Use of a Board Foot Calculator

1. Always double-check your measurements before inputting them into the calculator.
2. When dealing with multiple pieces, use a calculator that allows for batch calculations to save time.
3. Keep a record of your calculations for future reference or project documentation.
4. Use the calculator in conjunction with a waste factor estimation to ensure you order enough material.
5. Familiarize yourself with the common dimensions of lumber in your region to make estimation easier.

References

• Jerold T. Hahn , Mark H. Hansen, Cubic and Board Foot Volume Models for the Central States, Northern Journal of Applied Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 2, June 1991, Pages 47–57, doi.org/10.1093/njaf/8.2.47
• Mesavage, C. (1956). Tables for estimating board-foot volume of timber. US Government Printing Office.
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