Woodworking is great we all love to build things out of trees but while trees grow out of the ground money certainly doesn’t grow on trees so it’s important before we start our projects that we know what were up against financially and if we can afford to build that next project. So I’m going to try my best to teach you how to work out the costs from the materials you’ll need to build that project.
Firstly I must admit I’m fortunate living in a metric society to me it makes more sense but the irony is I rarely use it. I’m a cross between a kind of a hybrid when I need to work out how much material I need and the costs involved because I use both metric and imperial to get the job done. You see in Australia many don’t know inches, the basics, some, maybe but this is a metric nation and so all the lumber yards work in metric and therefore when I go there I have to think in metric. When I get back to my shop all my hand tools chisels, blades are in inches (imperial) so all my drawings I draw up are also in imperial. I can’t make a 6mm mortise with 1/4″ mortising chisel because there is a 0.35″ of a difference and while that may not sound a lot try building an entire clock with all these differences and you’ll be sure to run into a lot of trouble.
So let’s get on with it.
First let’s talk metric. One cubic metre equals 200 lineal boards. To work out the cubic metre you multiply the length by the width by thickness then divide it by 1000,000,000 mm and you’ll get your cubic metres.
Sounds confusing here is an example: 10000mm x 2000mm x 19mm/1000,000,000 = 0.38
Let’s say your making a wall shelf and I won’t include everything you need but let’s pretend this is all you need and BTW there is no right or wrong way to read this.
Length, width, thickness or thickness, width, Length. The only difference is which you country you live in will determine how they are written.
2 sides L = 406 x W = 205 x T = 19
1 top 915 x 71 x 19
1 bottom 915 x 205 x 19
1 centre shelf 890 x 205 x 19
1 Back 876 x 57 x 19
You’ll need in total 3493mm Length, 743mm width but you never calculate the width unless you are trying to work out cubic metres. So how did I come by this figure you’ll kick yourself on how simple it is.
406 + 406 + 915 + 890 + 876 = 3493 mm
So as you can see metric is simple
Lumber yards will rarely tell you how much a board is in lineal metres unlike home centre where they do why because they are dealing with non tradesman and that is the reason why they like to rip a new hole in your backside when you buy from them. So you go to the lumber yard with your fibulator and you see this beautiful timber that’s perfect for your next project but there are no prices written anywhere and you have to go to the main office and ask how much for such and such and he looks into his computer punching the keys as if they are made out of stone and he say’s with an unemotional stare as if money is pouring out of the sky $7,500 m3
and you return that unemotional stare with the added exception of that immense chest pain you suddenly got while you quietly walk away to compose yourself while reaching for your fibulator and calculator. This dramatisation is not far from the truth.
Anyway all jokes aside this is how you work it out.
1 x .025 x .200 x $7,500 = $37.50
So as you can see working in metric isn’t that hard at all even though their prices are.
Ok so let’s have a quick look at board feet.
Let’s use only one example:
72″ x 8 1/4″ x 3/4″/144= 3.09375 or 4 Bd.Ft.
Now to know how much this 4 BdFt is going to cost you, you need to know how much the lumberyard is going to charge you per board foot. So let’s say it’s $18 a board foot and you need 4 BdFt so you pull out your calculator and you type
4BdFt x $18 per BdFt = $72.00
So I think you get the picture now, well I hope you do. That wasn’t hard either learn this and you’ll know exactly how much it will cost you to build your next project .