Choosing and buying cabinet quality lumber - Buying by the Board Foot

board foot buying do it yourself woodworking lumberUntil the late 1800s, lumber was sold by the pound, so under that system, dry board foot was less expensive than green wood. So obviously something had to be done.

The system of measurement that evolved centers around the board foot, a measurement that covers all the dimensional variables of cabinet- grade lumber - thickness, width, and length.

Today, when you purchase this type of lumber, you buy it by the board foot. Even if the dealer has the boards already priced, he arrived at those prices by first figuring the number of board foot each contained. It's a good practice to double-check the dealer's figures. To do this and also to help you estimate your lumber needs, you should learn how to figure board feet.

A board foot, simply, is equal to 144 cubic inches of wood. Think of it as a piece I inch thick and 12 inches square. Since board footage is always calculated in quarters of an inch thickness, starting at no less than 1 inch (even if you order less than an inch, you'll pay for the i-inch thickness), a 5/4 board 6 inches wide and 72 inches long would be figured like this: 1.25 (thickness) X6 (width) X72 (length)=540. Divide 540 by 144 to determine the number of board feet in the stock. If the board foot length is stated in feet rather than inches, use the same method but divide your total by 12 instead of 144.