Board feet estimate (waste factor ?)

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Forum topic by rnels21 posted 05-09-2019 12:52 PM 983 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 1116 days

05-09-2019 12:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Does anyone know the typical waste favor when estimating a project ? I’m thinking it’s 10% – 15%. Thanks

-- MSsurvivor

10 replies so far

View Robert's profile


4835 posts in 2815 days

#1 posted 05-09-2019 01:17 PM

It depends on the project and to some degree, the species of wood.

Simply adding up board feet and adding a factor, like 20% usually doesn’t work for me because I can’t translate that into anything unless without knowing the widths of boards. Or else you’ll end up with a lot of waste.

For example, lets say you need several panels 1” wide. If you are figuring based on 6” wide boards vs. 12” wide boards you will get a much different, maybe less desirable result.

Typically, I use CutList to generate the cutting diagrams. But you need to know what widths of the stock you’re dealing with first.

I usually let the boards talk to me (yes strangely I’ve heard them say “I will make a good bookmatch panel”) LOL and hope a defect or grain matching issue doesn’t wish I’d gotten 2 more boards :-)

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View pottz's profile


22315 posts in 2319 days

#2 posted 05-09-2019 01:36 PM

well ive never really thought about it i always but a lot more than ill need and whats left just goes to another say probably less than a few percent of wood goes into the trash so i dont spend a lot of time figuring it out.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View diverlloyd's profile


4179 posts in 3192 days

#3 posted 05-09-2019 01:45 PM

50% if you waste less then you have extra for another project. If you waste that much then you won’t be disappointed as if you would be to using a lesser of a waste percentage. It also leaves a buffer for screw ups or for cut pieces that you don’t like.

View edapp's profile


347 posts in 2764 days

#4 posted 05-09-2019 02:18 PM

Got to be closer to 50% unless you are hand selecting boards of the right thickness and width/length for a specific project

I order random widths and lengths usually which means the waste is likely close to 50%, depending on the project needs. And by “waste” I dont mean trash i mean not used for that project.

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6097 posts in 3686 days

#5 posted 05-09-2019 03:50 PM

I use 20% and that generally works for me.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Rayne's profile


1319 posts in 2874 days

#6 posted 05-09-2019 03:57 PM

I just ran into this issue recently myself. This is my opinion, but buying by Board Feet seems highly inefficient. Buying based on Sq Ft on a per board basis seems to be far more accurate from my experience. You just switch it over to board feet when calculating what you’re paying for. For example: If you’re ordering all 4/4 boards, calculate the Sq ft of what you’ll need for the project, add 10%, select your boards to meet the Sq Ft requirement based on your project, then switch to Board Feet to get an idea of what you’re cost is. Buying by Board Feet has resulted in multiple trips because the thickness of the board is a pre-determined figure that wasn’t as important as having the sq ft to cover the areas I want to cover properly. Just my logic and has worked the past 2 trips to buy lumber.

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Fred Hargis

7356 posts in 3828 days

#7 posted 05-09-2019 03:59 PM

I’ve always went more-or-less by what Bondo suggested, the 20 %. But it is Kentucky windage, and can be a little off from teme to time.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View AlaskaGuy's profile (online now)


6831 posts in 3644 days

#8 posted 05-09-2019 04:16 PM

It depends on the species, the grade, is it S4S or ruff cut.

I usually about figure 25%. I had some common ruff cut cherry that was about 50%. Best to get more that you need. I ran short on a project and when I went to get more I couln’t find a good grain and color match to the previous batch.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View CWWoodworking's profile


2311 posts in 1513 days

#9 posted 05-09-2019 04:53 PM

When figuring for cost, 50%

Actual? It will be all over the place depending on numerous factors.

When considering grades, don’t lock yourself into FAS or common. There is value in both.

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 5077 days

#10 posted 05-14-2019 08:09 PM

Depends on the wood – - if it is to be cut from a Slab.. like the legs for the stand up desk to be steam bent…. 50%. If you are starting from relative straight, not “knotty” material like Kiln dried Oak or Poplar, or maple…. 15-20%

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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