Out on a Limb: Don’t Do the Math

By Christopher Schwarz
Page: 10

From the October 2009 issue #178
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Nearly every woodworking book tells you the wrong way to purchase wood.

There’s a formula where you multiply the width, length and thickness of each part in your project and divide the result by 144. Then add 15 to 20 percent for waste, order the surfaced wood and start cutting.

I can’t think of a more stressful way to buy wood for a home woodworking project. And not because I dislike math. I like math OK. But math here is not your friend.

The few times I’ve ordered wood this way, the results were frustrating. Even if I got a load of quality stock, I never got the widths I needed. I never got the grain patterns that were suitable. And the defects were always in the wrong place.


From the October 2009 issue #178
Buy this issue now