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Converting board feet to metric

It's not as simple as it sounds. November 7, 2001

I have always used the term board foot. But some countries use the metric system. Is there a way to convert board feet to metric?

Forum Responses
424bf = 1 cubic meter

One board foot or one square foot = 0.0929 square meter.

one foot = 0.3048 meter.
one cubic meter = 35.31 cubic feet and as you have 12 bd/ft in a cubic/ft you have 423.77 bd/ft in one cubic meter.

It would be nice if a board foot was really 1/12 of a cubic foot. But, a softwood 2x4x12' is really 1.5"x3.5"x12.0'. So, when converting to metric, do you use the nominal size of 2"x4"x12' or the actual size? Metric uses actual sizes, but BF uses nominal. For hardwoods, a piece that is 1-7/32" thick and 7.5" wide and 12' long is 7BF as is a piece that is 1.0" thick x 6.5" x 12'. The "soft" conversion in the post above will give you greatly different cubic metric volumes.

So, if you use the 424 number, appreciate that it is not accurate for converting actual volumes.

Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor