How to calculate board feet

While  hardwoods and softwoods may look somewhat similar in size and shape in stacks at the lumberyard, the method for calculating the cost of each is quite different. Softwoods are dimensional lumber, meaning that they are cut into uniform sizes (2x4, 1x8, etc.). All of the boards of the same size in a stack at the lumberyard are going to be the same price. 

With hardwoods, the story is quite different. Hardwoods are sold by the board foot, which is a calculation of the cubic size of the board. A board foot is 12 inches by 12 inches by 1 inch, or one-twelfth of a cubic foot. 

 

The formula for calculating board feet is as follows: 

(length x width x thickness)/144 

Below is a handy chart to help you quickly calculate board feet.

 

Board Feet Chart