Bill of Materials and Cut List

Bill of Materials

Once the working drawings have been completed, a bill of materials can be generated. It typically includes the name and quantity of each part, its symbol from the drawings (A,B,C, …), dimensions (thickness, width, length), and the type of wood or sheet stock to be used.  Unit and total cost information may also be included. A separate bill of materials can be created for supplies and hardware such as glue, screws, nails, sandpaper, finish, and hinges.

Here is a sample bill of materials for a chest of drawers that was derived from the Tabulator, an online resource here at WoodBin. Note that similar materials are generally placed together and in the order they will be used. It is helpful to have a system in place to make sure every part is accounted for. One common approach is to circle each part’s symbol on the working drawing as it is recorded on the bill of materials, starting with the largest parts and working down to the smallest parts such as molding and trim. When listing dimensions, don’t forget to account for the extra length required by tenons and other such joinery issues.

Sym Part Qty Thick Width Length Lumber Bd Ft Cost
A Top 1 3/4 18 1/2 26 4/4 Red Oak 3.8 $9.99
B Sides 2 3/4 18 37 4/4 Red Oak 10.6 $27.66
C Frame rail 4 3/4 1 1/4 24 4/4 Red Oak 1.0 $2.49
D Frame rail 1 3/4 1 1/4 24 1/2 4/4 Red Oak 0.2 $0.64
E Toe kick 1 3/4 3 24 4/4 Red Oak 0.6 $1.50
F Drawer front 3 3/4 8 1/8 24 4/4 Red Oak 4.7 $12.15
G Drawer front 1 3/4 6 3/8 24 4/4 Red Oak 1.2 $3.18
H Drawer sides 6 1/2 7 3/4 15 3/4 4/4 Y. Poplar 5.8 $9.65
I Drawer sides 2 1/2 6 15 3/4 4/4 Y. Poplar 1.5 $2.49
J Drawer back 3 1/2 7 3/4 23 1/4 4/4 Y. Poplar 4.3 $7.12
K Drawer back 1 1/2 6 23 1/4 4/4 Y. Poplar 1.1 $1.84
L Web frame rail 5 3/4 1 1/4 24 4/4 Y. Poplar 1.2 $1.98
M Web frame end 10 3/4 1 1/4 15 3/4 4/4 Y. Poplar 1.6 $2.59
Total 37.6 $83.28

* Bd ft prices listed on pick list.


Cut List

A cut list, also called a cutlist or cutting list, is closely related to a bill of materials. In fact, many woodworkers treat them as one and the same. It’s basically a list of all the parts required to build a woodworking project that contains a number for each part along with its thickness, width and length. You can think of a cut list as a bill of materials for lumber and sheet stock without any of the cost information. Its purpose is to help you figure out how and where to cut each piece of wood.

Some woodworkers take cut lists one step further.  In Measure Twice, Cut Once, Jim Tolpin describes a process whereby he uses the bill of materials to create a master cut list. Starting with the widest and thickest stock, he collates the components by function and dimension so that related parts with the same dimensions are grouped together. As each piece is added to the cut list, it is circled on the bill of materials to make sure nothing is omitted. Tolpin also places scratch marks next to each component grouping to indicate the number of like size pieces to be cut. As each piece is cut, a corresponding scratch mark is made so he can more easily determine when all the pieces have been cut. He feels this approach is less confusing than using numerals.

After your cut list is complete, it can be used to lay out cutting lines. Some folks do the layout directly on the solid stock or sheet stock whereas others prefer to do it on paper picture-boards. In either case, make sure you make allowances for kerf widths and knots (solid stock). If your project requires several pieces of sheet stock, it may be worth investing in a panel optimization program that does the layout for you.

Pick List

A shopping list for rough-cut lumber is known as a pick list. Each item on the list specifies a type (or species) of lumber, a nominal or rough thickness, and the number of board feet required. For estimating purposes, you might also want to include the cost information. Here is a sample pick list generated with the Tabulator:

Lumber Bd Ft Cost/Bd Ft Total Cost
4/4 Y. Poplar 15.5 $1.65 $25.67
4/4 Red Oak 22.1 $2.60 $57.61
Total 37.6 $83.28

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