# Board Foot Uselessness

LOL.... ;~) And I never even felt the hook...

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In wrote:

Your not looking at it right. A board foot is 144" square inches(12x12x1) It doesn't matter how thick or wide it is, its still sold at a board foot. I buy a lot of 5/4 and 12/4 poplar for frames, the 12/4 is the same price as the 5/4(1.55 bf). I can see why you might pay a premium for some exotic woods, but most domestic should be the same.
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On Mon, 13 Oct 2003 04:50:09 +0000, ChairMan wrote:

Cubic, cubic, cubic...
-Doug
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OK, I'll pile on. The main difference is because per linear foot doesn't take width into account. Do you want linear foot prices for 4" wide, 6" wide, 8" wide, etc? Of course, you would need that for 4/4, 5/5, 6/4, etc, so now instead of having a per BF price for different thicknesses, you would have per LF pricing for a combination of width and thickness. Presto! Twice the number of variables. I think we'll stay with board feet.
todd
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If the BF pricing is variale based on width and thickness, why does it make any diff to price it by board foot or linear foot?
Seems to me we're talking pounds or kilograms... It makes no difference what the unit is.
Which is what Bruce's original point was. The concept of a BF was, at one point, to negate the variance in how the wood was cut and price it by the volume you were buying.
Once the pricing per BF varies with thickness and width, the wood may as well be priced per linear foot, as you're no longer buying a *volume* of wood, you're buying a *particular* board...
By the linear foot.
djb
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wrote:

Well, where I shop, the total price is just marked on each board, so all of this is a moot point.
To address your question, with board feet pricing, there is one variable - thickness. With linear foot pricing, there are two variables - thickness and width. I think it's just a practical matter of posting prices. If you have a price sheet for linear foot, for each species you would have to have a matrix of thickness and width to arrive at a per LF price for a particular board. As we know with BF pricing, you just have a price for each thickness. It seems to me that LF pricing works on things like molding where the only variable is length. That gets me thinking about another way to explain this.
A pricing scheme should be based on the number of variables in the product. Molding is priced per LF because that's the only variable. Since hardwood lumber is variable by both length and width (for a given thickness) you need a measurement that takes both into account (a la board feet). I think you could have a better argument for a per square foot pricing model for lumber that a per linear foot.
todd
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Wrong, and demonstrably so.

My point.

I think lineal foot is, in essence, a square foot measurement.
djb
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wrote:

Too bad you didn't bother to demonstrate it. I'm looking at a price list for Cherry right now. There's a price for 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 6/4, 8/4, 12/4, and 16/4. Guess what all those measurements are? They're thickness. That means the price varies by thickness. On my price list, it's the only thing that price varies by. Looks like it's the only variable to me.

Can't argue with that logic. By the same token, I guess square feet is essence cubic feet. Interesting that you decided not to comment on one of my points. Do you want a price list with a matrix of thicknesses and widths?

todd
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That
thing
You mean the price (per board foot) of 3/4 is different from 4/4 that is different from 5/4? That is not logical as most price by the bd. ft. and only vary for say, 12/4 and up, if at all. Ed
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wrote in message

list
12/4,
I don't know where you buy your lumber, but here in the Chicago area, there a only a few decent places to purchase hardwood lumber. I have two price lists in front of me. Owl Hardwood charges \$4.67/BF for 3/4 cherry, \$6.47 for 4/4, \$6.74 for 5/4 and ... well you get the idea. Same for The Hardwood Connection. I don't know what's illogical about it. I think it's been pretty well discusses that documented that it's more expensive to finish thicker lumber. There may also be a supply/demand thing happening too.
todd
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Sorry todd. Here you go:
Board feet is a measure of volume. Thickness (one dimension) is not the only variable as we also have to take width (a second dimension) and length (the third dimension) into account.
So the assertion that "with board feet pricing, there is one variable - thickness" is demonstrably false.
djb
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wrote:

The board foot price builds in the length and width for a particular thickness. You keep avoiding the question of how you are gonna make a price list. You want to have a matrix or what?
todd
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Dave Balderstone notes:

Possibly not, but the board foot measurement evened things out, removed one variable. Go back to linear feet in the hopes of benefiting the consumer, and you get a true diversity of effect. Check out prices on the few hardwoods Lowe's and HD sell the next time you're at one. They sell by linear feet and the prices range from double bf costs to triple.

You think? Bruce believes this. I don't. It was to remove a variable.

Thicker boards cost more because they are more difficult to dry, usually creating greater losses in the kiln, thus raising the price per cubic inch (since you don't like working with bf).
Charlie Self
"The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf." Will Rogers
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"Dave Balderstone" < snipped-for-privacy@NOSOCKS.balderstone.ca

Because there would be a different price for every width of each board also if all was sold by the linear foot. Normally wood sold by the board foot is not uniform in width as it is normally sold with rough edges. If the wood that is sold in BF was sold by the foot, you would need a price for all widths, 2", 2-1/8", 2-1/4", 2-3/8", 2-1/2", 2-5/8", 2-3/4", 2-7/8" and so on. That is 8 different prices for 1 thickness of wood that is between 2 and 3" wide. Now multiply that times the boards that are 3", 4", 5", 6", 7", 8", 9", 10", 11", 12" and so on. There would be 96 different prices for 1 thickness of wood ranging from 2 to 13" wide. Measuring in BF is simply easier to price with 3 or 4 different prices depending on thickness.
Wood sold in linear feet is milled to specific widths and normally there are only 6 different widths sold between 2 and 12" wide for each thickness.
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On Sun, 12 Oct 2003 23:48:51 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com (Bruce) wrote:

Board foot is a volume measure. You can have length measures, area measures, volume measures and value measures. The first two are obviously too trivial to be useful (usually). The last (taking into account extra-value for wide boards, good figure etc.) is too complex to be widely useful.
So volume measures sit at a usability maximum between being too sophisticated and not sophisticated enough. Anyone with a tape measure can use it, and it's (almost) unambiguous and objective, no matter who does the measuring.
Here in the UK, we also use volume measures, but use the cubic foot instead of the board foot (12 bf in a cube foot).

Only at retail. If you're buying a whole flitch (a sawn butt) from a small timberyard, you'll probably deal in cube feet or bf. Anything else just gets too complex to work out. Wood is cheap, bulky and awkward to assess or judge more precisely than this - and you've both got other work to be getting on with.
BTW - Do you ever use "Hoppus feet" or similar in the USA ? They're a measure for round logs, indicating a value based on their likely yield as sawn timber.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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Took a lot of posts to get this far, which is to say, to the right answer.
A foot is a convenient measurement, as is a meter, a cubit, or anything else. You've got to have a standard reference. All you decimal freaks can stow your arguments, we're talking two marks on a stick; how you divide or multiply after that is not germane. As the whole thing starts at the log, we find three common measurements depending on use in the USA.
1. Cords. A convenient way of figuring how much wood you have to cut to fill a cart or a railroad car, and the numbers don't get as big when your basic unit is already 128 cubic feet. Of course there's a lot of air in a cord, depending on who stacks it, and the logs themselves. Not a reliable measurement for other wood usage.
2. Pounds. If you have a lot of air in your stack, it doesn't make as much pulp, and though in the rough and ready days of abundance a general equivalence between cords and pounds was good enough, this age of reduced cutting and narrow profit margins makes the weight of the stack the basis for payment. BTW, species and moisture content of the load determine prices on equal poundage here.
3. Board feet. Back to a volumetric measure, because the real value is once again in the cartage and kiln operation. A truck or car is of fixed volume, as is a kiln, and the number of boards per cord is anything but precise. How can one chisel at this level? well, the days of unedged boards are gone, so the new subdivision is "grade" of board. Softwood is graded differently than hardwood, taking into account its primary use is presumed functional rather than aesthetic, though display grades are available. Frequency of occurrence of a length/width "cutting" is the primary criterion in hardwood.
Now to value added, which is a result of the high end and hobby market, where thicker and wider boards are sold more dearly. Industry buys in such quantities and requires such a variety of "cuts" that they can buy a relatively lower grade (skip planed for optical evaluation) and by gluing/glazing for a finish, make great use of everything but, as they used to say in the slaughterhouse - the squeal. Hobbyists and the high end custom business want wide boards and greater thicknesses, and since the cost of material is much less than the labor cost of the piece, they're willing to pay more for this super display grade lumber.
I guess this last should endear the sellers to the socially conscious members of the group, as it soaks the rich for the privilege of supporting their silverware on an 18 inch wide single board borne on 2x2" solid legs rather than four 4.5" wide boards borne on glued-up and glazed-to-hide-the-fact legs.

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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com (Bruce) wrote in message

You are making this too complicated. Ignore thickness, width, length when comparing price.
You are looking at 3 different pieces of lumber. They are priced at \$15, \$20, \$25. The \$20 one is about 1/3 longer than the one priced at \$15 and they are both 1" thick. The \$25 board is shorter than either of the other 2 but it is 2" thick. Assuming you need 1" stock for your project, which is the better buy? To tell you would have to measure the length, width, and thickness of each board to arrive at the volume, then divide by 144 to get the b.f. OR if they were marked in price per b.f. you could just compare the price per bf.
2" and 1" stock of the same wood are two different animals. If you need 2" stock you can't buy 1" and if you need 1" and you get 2" instead you have to resaw it first before surfacing it, so why would you even bother unless it was significantly less expensive? And how could you tell if it was cheaper unless it was marked in b.f?
-Chris
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huh?
Of course you know that thickness plays into the board foot calculation so not sure where you're going with the linear foot suggestion.
I think they charge more per board/ft of 8" wide stock than they do 4" wide stock too. Simple economics caused solely by the fact that trees are round. Higher yield with narrow vs. wide and same for thinner vs fatter.

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