Board foot calculations


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Hello all,

Could anyone share a good b/f benchmark for ordering stock for planks and ribs? I’m not sure how many board feet I should order to make enough ribs and planking for a 15’ boat. I’ll be making multiple, so an overestimate is fine - the wood will be used.

Any advice would be appreciated. It also looks like I’ll be making a drive north from PA to gain access to good inventory. If folks have any different leads than what is in the suppliers section, I’d appreciate it!

Happy building,
From "The Wood and Canvas Canoe" for an 18.6' canoe
About 45 BF (pg 73). 16 pc of 5" X 1" X 6' white cedar
About 45 BF (pg 79) of either White cedar or Western Red Cedar. The width of the boards really depends on how wide you want to go. Usually 6" or 3".

Milage may vary too on whether you are using a band saw to resaw or a table saw. The above estimate is resawn on a table saw.

I can get 4 ribs out of a 5" X 1" X 6' on the table saw and a lunchbox planer.
And I usually get quartersawn clear WRC 2X4s as long as I can get them 12' or 16'.
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Thank you for the reply, that certainly answers it! Looks like it’s time to give the book another read and see what else I may be missing.
I figure, between milling and trimming, and sanding, about half of this precious cedar goes to waste.
I figure, between milling and trimming, and sanding, about half of this precious cedar goes to waste.

The lightweight canoes have 1/8 inch planking which is less than the saw kerf in many cases so more than half is lost.

I did read (and see a few reputable folks on YouTube) using the table saw, but I do have a bandsaw ready to go. It seems still that the table saw is the answer, but I’m willing to hear otherwise.
The last ribs and planking I made, I just used the table saw with a thin kerf Freud Diabo blade, less than 1/8 thick.
It leaves a good enough finish that the ribs just need a light sanding after, the planking is planed to size.

For western red, I usually get it at Menards, and "up grade" standard construction 2x's.
Northern white is another matter.
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I am able to get 3 planks from a 7/8" thick board and 5 planks from 1.5" thick boards. I use a band saw to resaw the boards to a little less than 1/4", then use the planer to get them down to 5/32". My planer goes down to a minimum of 1/8" and does 5/32" with no problem at all. I use a 1/2" wide - 3tpi blade for resaw with a home-made fence., just a piece of old broom handle mounted to an upright about the same height as the planking. I just eyeball the whole thing. If you set up a light behind the fence you can make sure the wood is tight against it. This is the most efficient way I can think of.