Ordering lumber by the board foot

Because the board foot is a unit of measurement that offers a standard way of totaling the volume of stock regardless of dimensions, it is commonly used when dealing with lumber. As shown at left, the standard board foot is equivalent to a piece that is 1 inch thick, 12 inches wide and 12 inches long. To calculate the number of board feet in a particular piece of wood, multiply its three dimensions together. Then divide the result by 144 if the dimensions are all in inches, or by 12 if one dimension is expressed in feet. For the standard board, the formula is: 1" x 12" x 12" -f 144= 1 (or 1" x 12" x 1' -f 12 = 1). So if you had an 8-foot-long l-by-3, you would calculate the board feet as follows: lx3x8-nl2 = 2(or 2 board feet). Other examples are shown in the illustration. Remember that board feet are calculated on the basis of nominal rather than actual sizes.

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