Board Feet

Calculating the Number of Board Feet in a Consignment of Lumber

BoardFeetOccasionally it is necessary to calculate the number of board feet in a pile of lumber.  The key to the problem is knowing that a board foot is 1′ (long) x 1′ (wide) x 1″ (high).  In other words in every cubic foot of lumber (1′ x 1′ x 1′), there are 12 board feet; the cubic foot makes twelve 1-inch slices of wood.

You are to load a consignment of lumber. Each piece measures 2- inches thick, 10-inches wide and 16- feet long. There are 30,000 pieces in the shipment. How many board feet would be listed on the Bill of Lading?
A. 800,000
B. 1,200,000
C. 1,440,000
D. 14,400,000
Answer: A

  1. Convert dimensions to feet:  2″ = 2/12 ‘ = 0.16666 feet; 10″ = 10/12’ = 0.83333 feet
  2. Multiply the dimensions to find the cubic feet of one piece of lumber:
    0.166666′ x 0.833333′ x 16 = 2.22 cubic feet.
  3. Each cubic foot equals 12 board feet, so one piece of lumber = 2.22 x 12 = 26.6667 board feet.
  4. There are 30,000 pieces of lumber, so the board feet of the whole consignment =
    26.7 x 30,000 = 799,964 board feet.  Closest answer is (A)

Alternatively, the calculation can be reduced to:

  1. Multiplying 2″ x 10″ x 16 feet and dividing the answer by 12.  This gives the number of board feet in one piece of lumber. (2 x 10 x 16) ÷ 12 = 26.6667 board feet
  2. Multiplying 26.6667 x 30,000 = 800,000 board feet
You are to load a consignment of lumber. Each piece measures 3- inches thick, 12-inches wide and 16- feet long. There are 30,000 pieces in the shipment. How many board feet would be listed on the Bill of Lading?
A. 96,000
B. 1,200,000
C. 1,440,000
D. 14,440,000
Answer: C
  1. (3″ x 12″ x 16′) ÷ 12 = 48 board feet per piece of lumber
  2. 48 x 30,000 pieces of lumber = 1,440,000 board feet of lumber, Answer (C).