3 Steps You Should Use to Figure Out Board Feet for a Woodworking Project

2. Make a Parts List

Now you’ll have to start putting some thought into things. Use a spreadsheet, or an old fashioned piece of paper and pencil, start jotting down the individual parts to your project. Let’s use a basic end table as an example: top, legs, and aprons. Put down the sizes of each of those parts, like this would work:

Part
Rough
Thickness
Final
Thickness
Width
Length
Quantity
Net
Board Footage
Top 4/4 3/4″ 20″ 20″ 1  2.78
Legs 6/4 1-1/4″ 1-1/4″ 18″ 4  .78
Aprons 4/4 3/4″ 2-1/2″ 17-1/2″ 4  1.25

TIP: To calculate board feet: rough standard thickness X actual width X actual length divided by 144.  Use the thickness of the material you intend to start with, not end with. For example, the 3/4″ top will start from 4/4 lumber. The legs will start from 6/4 lumber. This is because you must start with 4/4 lumber in order to achieve a final 3/4″ thickness; likewise, you must start with 6/4 lumber to achieve a final 1-1/4″ thickness. 

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