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 In Shop Blog, Techniques

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lumber rule photoA must-have tool for the lumberyard

by Greg Paolini

In addition to my truck and a pile of cash, there’s always one other thing I take to the lumberyard or mill – a lumber rule. Also known as a grading stick, a lumber rule is a simple tool that instantly shows how many board feet are in a piece of rough lumber. This helps me keep track of how much wood I’m buying, and helps to prevent big surprises when the sawyer hands me the bill.

Lumber rules are available commercially, costing $50 or more, but by understanding how board feet are calculated you can easily create your own lumber rule, suited to the thickness and length of lumber you most often buy, Best of all, these custom rules are made from shop scraps, so they cost nothing except the few minutes it takes the make them.

Understanding Board Feet

A lumber rule is nothing more than a stick with a few different scales inscribed on it.


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