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**Board Foot - Linear Feet - Quarters

## Shop Measurements

Introduction: Last week I had a student making a
project in the wood shop. He was thoroughly confused about
wood measurements so we had a little lesson on the subject.

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If you are trying to figure out what a board foot or how
many board feet are required to build a project or if you
are trying to determine the difference between linear feet
and board feet, an explanation is offered below. In
addition, shop projects material thickness is referred to in
quarters: three quarter, four quarter, five quarter, etc.

Nearly all shop
project and construction project plans talk to these three
measurements when determining material needs. So let us help
you figure it all out.

**Board feet:**

A board foot refers to a specific
volume of lumber. That is to say the width times the length
times the depth equals the number of board feet. A one foot
(12 inches) long by one foot (12 inches) wide by one inch
thick equates to one cubic foot of lumber or one board foot
of lumber.
Board feet refers to the thickness and width of
lumber, before drying and plaining. It is
lumber in the rough. Most shop and construction lumber is
planed at a mill yard before it is delivered to a retail
sales store although rough lumber can be purchased at
specialty lumber sales stores.

To determine the number of
board feet in a project such as a deck we simply measure the
width and depth and multiply them together then multiply the
product times the thickness of the material.
A 12 X 14 foot deck made with 3/4 thickness decking
would equate to 12 X 14 X 3/4 = 126 board feet of material.
Normally we don’t refer to lumber in terms board feet as the
thickness is taken for granted. We refer to the quantity of
decking required in square feet. In this example it would be
168 sq. ft.

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**Linear feet:**

One linier
foot is simply a one foot length of lumber regardless of the
width or thickness. The
term is often referred to as the international foot although
in other countries it may be expressed in meters.

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**Quarters:**

All wood
thickness is referred to in quarters or quarter inches,
which is the thickness of the material before milling. A
finished planed 3/4 inch thickness of wood is referred to
as four quarters (4/4). A one inch thickness would be
expressed as five quarters (5/4) although it only measures
one inch thick. Shop project hardwoods can be purchased up
to eight quarters (8/4) which measures 1 and 3/4 in
thickness. All thickness measurements in wood are referred
to in its rough form that is before milling.
A rough finish 4/4
would actually be one inch thick.

There you have
it, the mystery of shop and project lumber measurement is
solved.