Board foot calculator

Written by Adam Morris
3 Min read

Welcome to our Board Foot Calculator!

This tool is designed to help you calculate the volume of lumber in board feet. Whether you’re a professional carpenter, a woodworking hobbyist, or a DIY enthusiast planning your next project, understanding how to calculate board feet is crucial. This calculator makes it easy for you to determine the total number of board feet in your lumber based on its dimensions.

What is a board foot?

A board foot is a unit of volume for timber. It is equal to the volume of a one-foot length of a board one foot wide and one inch thick. Board foot is commonly used in the lumber industry and is a standard measure of lumber volumes.

How to calculate board foot units?

Calculating board feet is straightforward. You simply multiply the length (in feet) by the width (in feet) by the thickness (in inches), and then divide by 12. The formula is:

Board Feet = (Length x Width x Thickness) / 12

Using the lumber calculator

Let’s say you have a piece of lumber that is 10 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 1 inch thick. Using the calculator, you would input these dimensions and the calculator would do the rest. In this case, the calculation would be (10 x 5 x 1) / 12, which equals 41.67 board feet.

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  1. What is a board foot? – A board foot is a standard unit of measure in the lumber industry that represents a piece of wood that is 1 foot by 1 foot by 1 inch.
  2. How do I calculate board feet? – To calculate board feet, multiply the length (in feet) by the width (in feet) by the thickness (in inches), and then divide by 12.
  3. Can I use the calculator for any type of wood? – Yes, the board foot calculator can be used for any type of wood as long as you know the dimensions.
  4. What if my lumber dimensions are not in feet? – If your dimensions are not in feet, you can convert them to feet before using the calculator. There are 12 inches in a foot.

The board foot or board-foot is a unit of measurement for the volume of lumber in the United States and Canada. It equals the volume of a one-foot (305 mm) length of a board, one foot wide and one inch (25.4 mm) thick.

Board foot can be abbreviated as FBM (for “foot, board measure”), BDFT, or BF. A thousand board feet can be abbreviated as MFBM, MBFT, or MBF. Similarly, a million board feet can be abbreviated as MMFBM, MMBFT, or MMBF.

Until 1970s in Australia and New Zealand the terms super foot and superficial foot were used with the same meaning.

One board foot equals:

  • 1 ft × 1 ft × 1 in
  • 12 in × 12 in × 1 in
  • 144 in3
  • 1/12 ft3
  • ≈ 2,360 cubic centimeters
  • ≈ 2.36 liters
  • ≈ 0.00236 cubic meters or steres
  • 1/1980 Petrograd Standard of board

The board foot is used to measure rough lumber (before drying and planing with no adjustments) or planed/surfaced lumber. An example of planed lumber is softwood 2 × 4 lumber sold by large lumber retailers. The 2 × 4 is actually only 1+1⁄2 in × 3+1⁄2 in (38 mm × 89 mm), but the dimensions for the lumber when purchased wholesale could still be represented as full 2 × 4 lumber, although the “standard” can vary between vendors. This means that nominal lumber includes air space around the physical board when calculating board feet in some situations, while the true measurement of “board feet” should be limited to the actual dimensions of the board.

For planed lumber, board feet refer to the nominal thickness and width of lumber, calculated in principle on its size before drying and planing. Here the actual length is used.

Briefly, for softwoods, to convert nominal to actual, subtract 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) for dimensions under 2 inches; subtract 1⁄2 inch (13 mm) for dimensions over 2 inches and under 8 inches; and subtract 3⁄4 inch (19 mm) for larger measurements. The system is more complicated for hardwoods.

Remember, the Board Foot Calculator is a helpful tool, but it’s always a good idea to double-check your measurements and calculations before starting a project. Happy woodworking!

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