Woodworking and construction projects require a precise understanding of the fundamental units of measurement in the lumber world: board feet and lineal feet. These units play pivotal roles in estimating and acquiring the right amount of lumber for diverse projects.
Board Feet: A Measure of Volume
A board foot is a unit of measurement for volumes of lumber that takes length, width, and thickness into account. The standard for board feet is a piece of wood that is 12 inches wide, 1foot long, and 1 inch thick. This works out to approximately 0.083 cubic feet.
Because a board foot is a measure of volume, it doesn’t care about the actual sizes of individual boards. 10 board feet of 2x4s contains the same amount of wood as 10 board feet of 1x6s. Therefore, ordering by the board foot ensures that you get the same amount of wood regardless of the individual board sizes.
The formula for calculating board feet is as follows:
Board Feet = Thickness in Inches × Width in Inches × Length in Feet ÷ 12
We sell cabinet-grade lumber by the board foot.
Lineal Feet: A Measure of Length
A lineal foot (or linear foot) is a unit of measurement that represents the total length of a quantity of lumber.
Crucially lineal feet do not take the width or thickness of the boards into account. Therefore, it’s possible for two bundles of lumber to contain different amounts of wood, even if they contain identical lineal footage. For example, 10 lineal feet of 1x6s will contain more wood than 10 lineal feet of 1x4s.
Many products that are sold by the lineal foot end up in square-foot applications, such as decking or siding projects. So it’s crucial to be able to convert the square footage of your project into lineal feet. Here’s the formula for doing so:
Lineal Feet = Your Square Feet ÷ (Board Width in Inches ÷ 12)
When calculating lineal footage, remember to take into account any gap spacing between boards.