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Thread: BF for a project

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Exclamation BF for a project

    Hello everybody,
    I am kind of new here and in woodworking. I know how to calculate BF. But do you have any rules or from your experience - can you tell, like for table I would need approximately 60-80 BF of wood or for bookshelf I will buy 35-40 BF.
    I know every table could be different, but in general how much you will be buying for projects?
    Thank you, Ed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Floydada, Tx
    I try to add 30% to the numbers. This will give me some room for extras or for working around bad spots in boards. Plus this will allow your shop to stock up on extra lumber. Example: I refunished a secetary desk and needed 25 sq/bdft of maple veneer for this job. I bought 30 bdft. Now I have some extra maple for a different job or if I have to make patches at a later time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    I pick my boards with where they will play in the project as a guide. If I need 100BF and I buy 125BF, I will probably be OK. Will I coincidentally get the best figure patterns for the legs and the top? Probably not.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    don`t ever buy "just enough" .........stuff happens, things go awry and parts end up on the to how much extra?`s a balance of space and money but wood like everything else isn`t getting cheaper.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  5. #5
    Welcome to the forum Ed.

    I like to think about a project not so much in terms of total bdft required, but rather in terms of the actual pieces required. I "build" every project (except lathe projects) in AutoCad first (3d solids). It always surprises me when I do this (ie, hmmm, didn't think about that). There are two advantages: it forces me to look at the project at its most basic level before I actually start, and it lets me make any modifications before I start cutting (and wasting) wood. So if you're comfortable with computers I recommend a CAD program...doesn't have to be AutoCad.

    Having built the thing in AutoCad, I now know every piece, its dimensions, and where it goes. Next I get the wood and lay the pieces out roughly using chalk. I mill my own lumber, so my project wood is all non-standard dimensions, some clear, some mostly firewood, some big, some small, but it's important to lay out the pieces. Glenn mentioned figure. This is the only way to give yourself the best shot at having the nice figured wood allocated to the "show" pieces. Only then do I start cutting.

    You buy your wood, which means standard dimensions. So lay the project pieces out on paper that represents standard dimensional lumber. Then you can say I could get these three pieces from a 1x6, these ten pieces from two 1x8s, etc. This will give you the absolute minimum lumber requirement, assuming all of each board is usable...which it won't be. So buy extra. If it's readily available buy a little can always go back...otherwise use the recommendations you find here (Glenn's number is 25%, Al's number is 30%). They're probably both right sometimes, and both wrong sometimes. Actually, it's a crap shoot. Now you can think about bdft, because that's how you're going to be charged.

    There is one consideration in buying overage...if you're trying to get a project all from the same log, then use a higher number. You may end up with some extra, but when that log is gone it's gone. The extra will not go to waste.

    An artifact of this approach is that eventually you will recognize that similar projects require a similar number of bdft, but in my opinion that's interesting but only important when it's time to lay down the credit card.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Eduard, welcome to the Family!

    I agree with what everyone is saying, buy more than you need, but yeah, how much more is not an easy thing to figure out, but the 25-30% figure usually works.

    Good luck with it, we would like to see some pics when you get going!

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Thank you for all advises.
    Time to make a few drawings for a project. Planning to build sewing desk for my wive. Will post a pictures in progress. And more questions

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Hi Eduard ,
    Welcome to you and all your questions. Glad to have you here interested and eager to push on with your projects. Don't ever hesitate to ask questions and please share with us pictures of your work. None of us began at age 6 using the table saw and figuring plans! Thankfully we can work together helping one another with things we may have figured out, because we messed up sometime prior!
    Good luck and welcome.
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