Salvage Word Wednesdays: Board Foot

Salvage Word Wednesdays began as an answer to a customer’s curiosity – see the first post here! In these posts, expect to find a jargon or EWSlang term and its definition with an example (or two!) of how we use it, to the best of our abilities/knowledge. See the whole series here! If you have questions or want to submit a word, please send us your ideas via email at marketing@ewsalvage.com.

Week 2: BOARD FOOT

Salvage Wood: Board Foot

EWSalvage Example: “Reclaimed lumber is sold by the board foot.”

This term is a relatively young term to ‘Americanism’ and building trades jargon, emerging in the 1890s-1900s – not surprisingly, right around the time our beloved Washington Territory was also being explored by the hordes of lumbermen, carpenters, builders, and other skilled artisans that would build the foundations of what would one day become the second largest timber-producing State in the Nation – thanks for that fact NatGeo! As American History USA puts it, “It is difficult to imagine the development of Seattle and the rest of Washington without the presence of the logging industry.” Now, after that foray into history, back to business.

Definition: board foota unit of measure equal to the cubic contents of a piece of lumber one foot square and one inch thick, used in measuring logs and lumber. (abbrev. bf.ft.; BF).

At EWSalvage, you’ve probably heard a staff member relay that we sell our reclaimed, remilled vintage lumber by the BOARD FOOT. However, not all the lumber we acquire and sell comes in a perfect cube! So, in laymen’s terms, a board foot is a volumetric, proportional measurement which relates any piece of lumber to a hypothetical section which measures 12″x12″x1″ to determine board footage and ultimately, the selling price! Whew…that was a mouthful!

This post is becoming a bit more like Salvage Word & Math Lesson Wednesday: let’s say you came to the salvage yard and are making a fireplace mantel. You found a piece of fir at Earthwise that is just right: 3″ x 8-1/2″ x 78″. To determine the board footage of a beam, use this equation:

BF =   (L” x W” x D”) / 144″

So, that means your mantel stock piece has 13.8125 BF in volume. Simply multiply that by the $4.50/BF price to get the cost: $62.16+tax! Nice find.

EWSalvage typically sells reclaimed lumber brimming with character, nail stains, check marks, and sometimes, even those highly coveted sawblade marks for $1.95 – 3.95/BF; remilled, rough sawn lumber sells for $4.50+/BF (additional charges may apply for surfacing requests, rarer oversized stock or timber species, rush services, delivery, etc). 1″- 2-1/2″ stock is available at both locations in 6″-11″ widths x 6′-12′ lengths; we also stock chunkier dimensional material of all sorts for any project size – call or visit for current stock. Large quantity required or we don’t have what you’re looking for right now? We also offer custom milling services through the vintage sawmill at our Tacoma location – just call or email us at either location for details, lead time, minimum order size, etc!

From furniture makers, business and home owners, to DIY mantel or heirloom table project makers, salvage lovers like you have used this material in a myriad of creative ways – find TONS of examples on our #EWFamous Inspiration Page! Because we just don’t let trees get 100’s of years old anymore, this is a non-renewable resource and a great way to add character, history and provenance to your projects. This material is a showstopper and will make any project command at least a second glance!

Make sure to let us know how YOU have used reclaimed and/or remilled lumber from Earthwise, or can imagine them being used. Email us at either location or at marketing@ewsalvage.com with your salvage word suggestions!

Reclaimed Lumber Sign at EarthwiseReclaimed fir lumber at Earthwise Seattle.Dining room table made by Tim W from doug fir remilled and reclaimed by Earthwise Salvage in Tacoma.