From Sawdust to Tears: Converting Board Feet to Linear Feet!
Have you ever found yourself standing in front of a pile of lumber, scratching your head and wondering how much you need to get the job done? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Deciding how much lumber to buy can be a daunting task, especially when you’re not familiar with the terminology. But fear not! We’re here to guide you through the seemingly complex process of converting board feet to linear feet.
What is a Board Foot?
A board foot is a unit of measurement used for lumber that represents a piece of wood that is one inch thick, one foot wide, and one foot long. However, not all boards are one inch thick, which is where the math comes in.
To calculate the number of board feet in a piece of lumber, you need to know the thickness, width, and length of the board. Use the following formula:
thickness (in inches) x width (in inches) x length (in feet) ÷ 12 = board feet
For example, if you have a piece of lumber that is 2 inches thick, 6 inches wide, and 8 feet long, you would perform the following calculation:
2 x 6 x 8 ÷ 12 = 8 board feet
Easy-peasy, right? But what if you need to know how many linear feet of lumber you need for your project? That’s where the conversion comes in.
Converting Board Feet to Linear Feet
To convert board feet to linear feet, you need the width of the board. The formula is:
board feet ÷ width (in inches) = linear feet
For example, let’s say you need to buy lumber for a bookshelf that is 6 feet long and 2 feet wide. You want the shelves to be 10 inches deep, so you need boards that are 1 inch thick.
1 x 24 x 72 ÷ 12 = 12 board feet
Now you need to figure out how many linear feet of lumber you need. If you’re using boards that are 6 inches wide, the calculation would be:
12 ÷ 6 = 2 linear feet
So you would need to buy two 1-inch-thick, 6-inch-wide boards that are 6 feet long.
Common Lumber Sizes
Now that you understand how to convert board feet to linear feet, it’s helpful to know the most common sizes of lumber that you’ll find at your local hardware store. Here are some of the most popular sizes:
- 1×4: one inch thick, four inches wide
- 2×4: two inches thick, four inches wide
- 2×6: two inches thick, six inches wide
- 4×4: four inches thick, four inches wide
- 4×6: four inches thick, six inches wide
When to Use Board Feet vs. Linear Feet
Knowing when to use board feet versus linear feet is important for making accurate calculations and avoiding costly mistakes. Here are some situations where you’ll need to use each measurement:
- Buying rough lumber: When you’re buying rough lumber from a mill or lumberyard, the price is usually based on board footage. Knowing how to calculate board feet will help you determine the cost of the lumber and compare prices between different suppliers.
- Estimating materials: If you’re building a structure such as a deck, shed, or barn, you’ll need to know the board footage of the materials you need in order to estimate the cost.
- Buying finished lumber: When you’re buying finished lumber from a store, the price is usually based on linear footage. This means you need to know how many linear feet of lumber you need in order to calculate the cost.
- Estimating trim: If you’re installing trim such as baseboards or crown molding, you’ll need to know the linear footage of the area you’re working on in order to estimate the amount of material you need.
Tips and Tricks
Now that you’re a pro at converting board feet to linear feet, here are some tips and tricks to make the process even easier:
- Use a lumber calculator: There are plenty of online tools that will do the conversions for you. Simply enter the measurements of your lumber and the calculator will tell you how many board feet and linear feet you need.
- Round up: When calculating how much lumber to buy, it’s always better to round up to the nearest whole number. This will give you a little extra material in case you make a mistake or need to make adjustments on site.
- Plan ahead: Always plan your project ahead of time and create a detailed list of the materials you’ll need. This will help you avoid making unnecessary trips to the store and ensure that you have everything you need to complete the job.
- Buy extra: If you’re working on a large project, it’s always a good idea to buy a little extra lumber just in case. Even the best plans and measurements can be off, and having extra material on hand will give you some flexibility and peace of mind.
Converting board feet to linear feet may seem like a daunting task at first, but with a little practice and some basic math skills, you’ll quickly become a master. Remember to use the proper measurements for each situation, and always plan ahead to avoid costly mistakes. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to tackle any woodworking project with confidence and ease!
|Lumber Size||Thickness (inches)||Width (inches)|
- Lumber prices and market information. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2021, from https://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/wood-pricing-lumber-market-information
- Board Foot Calculator – ToolBase. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2021, from https://toolbase.org/Calculators/Board-Foot-Calculator
- Linear Footage Calculator – Inch Calculator. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2021, from https://www.inchcalculator.com/linear-footage-calculator/