Follow us on Pinterest
Welcome, Guest! Log In  |  Join Now

How much wood would I need for waste?

When buying wood for a project, how many additional board feet should I purchase to account for cutoffs and defects?

Submitted by WOODreader2

As a starting point, add 15 percent to your bill of materials. Then consider your project design. If there are odd-shaped parts, add 5 to 10 percent to that number. Add to that another 5 to 10 percent if you’ll use sapwood-prone species, such as walnut or cherry. If you’re shopping in the lower grades of wood—No. 1 or 2 common—you’ll need to tack on an additional 30 percent to your order due to defects. That may sound like a lot, but it really makes sense when you realize that you could save up to 50 percent over Firsts and Seconds (FAS) lumber. Finally, keep in mind that the wood you see in the bin at your hardwood store today could come from a differ-ent, mismatched source tomorrow. So buy a little extra—being too obsessive about avoiding all waste could hurt the look of your project when you need to make a return trip. The ideal cutting lists that you see at the end of project plans don’t take defects into account. Mark out parts on actual boards to maximize your yield.

Community Answers 0

Answer this Question

Enter an Answer to this Question
500 characters left

Connect With Us
more smart savings
  • Recent Posts
  • Top Posts
See More >
Free Year + Free Gift! Order NOW and get 1 FREE YEAR of Wood® Magazine! PLUS you'll get our Great Projects for Your Shop guide instantly! That's 2 full years (14 issues) for the 1-year-rate – just $28.00. This is a limited-time offer, so HURRY! (U.S. orders only) (Click here for Canadian orders)


First Name:

Last Name:





100% Money-Back Guarantee: You must be pleased, or you may cancel any time during the life of your subscription and receive a refund on any unserved issues – no questions asked. Wood® Magazine is currently published 7 times annually – subject to change without notice. Double issues may be published, which count as 2 issues. Applicable sales tax will be added. E-mail address required to access your account and member benefits online. We will not share your e-mail address with anyone. Click here to view our privacy policy.