Owego Sawmill

What are Board Feet?

BoardFootA board foot is a unit of measurement that is similar to a square foot. For instance, each of these sizes are equal to one board foot:

  • 4/4 x 4" x 36"
  • 4/4 x 12" x 12"
  • 8/4 x 6" x 12"

Square footage multiplied by the thickness of the lumber (4/4=1; 8/4 =2; etc.) equals the board footage.  Take all measurements in inches and use the following formula:

T x W x L / 144 = BF

All of our lumber is sold by the board foot and the quantity you type into the 'Quantity' box for ordering should refer to the number of board feet you need.  We offer a selection service of $0.50 per board foot for size requirements or selection specifications you have.

Why is hardwood lumber sold by the board foot, anyway?

Lumber-sizeYou might be used to seeing softwood lumber, such as pine or fir, sold by the lineal foot in nominal sizes like 1x12, 2x6, and so on. The most common use for these woods is in the construction trade where most items have a standard size; doors, studs, etc. Therefore it's easiest to softwoods in specific dimensions.

However, hardwoods get used for a broader assortment of projects. A woodworker gets to decide the final size of the table, dresser, jewelry box he or she is making. Also there people using hardwoods for flooring, intarsia, turning, cabinetry, etc, and all of which use different sizes for different projects.

At the sawmill, then, the sawyer is cutting hardwood logs for the best yeild and not a specific size; and therefore all the boards will vary in size from one to the next. Ultimately, this gives the woodworker the widest possibilities from a single board. Since hardwood lumber varies, the National Hardwood Lumber Association agreed that the method of measuring hardwood lumber is the board foot.