Buying lumber by the board foot is an exercise in estimation. Board footage is a measurement of volume, and this is the necessary way to measure hardwoods when they're sold in random widths and random lengths. 

Here's how you figure out board footage for a project:

  1. Start with a project idea, plan or sketch

  2. Make a parts list, and determine the board footage of each part

  3. Add it up, then estimate a waste factor

Be sure to check out our video tips for more details:

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

Here's the basic formula for board footage:

board footage calculation