Woodworking Terminology.

Bill of Materials

A shopping list for rough-cut lumber is known as a BOM. Each item on the list specifies a type (or species) of lumber, a nominal thickness, and the number of board-feet required.

CutList Plus automatically generates a BOM based on the parts list you provide. It even makes an allowance for your expected yield! Simply print out the list and use it to order your raw materials.


Rough-cut lumber is generally sold by the board-foot in the U.S. This is figured by multiplying the surface area of the lumber (in square feet) by the nominal thickness (in inches). For example, consider a piece of 8/4 stock, 3 inches wide and 10 feet long. Its surface area is 2.5 square feet and its nominal thickness is 2 inches, so it is 5 board-feet. Of course, CutList Plus fx makes all these calculations for you automatically.

Nominal Thickness

Nominal thicknesses denote the thickness of a board in its rough state; the final thickness will be 1/4 inch thinner. It is typically specified in quarters of an inch, so 4/4 stock will yield a board with an actual thickness of 3/4 inch after final surfacing. For example, a part with an actual thickness of 7/8 inch will require 5/4 stock. But don't worry, CutList Plus fx figures this out for you!

Parts List

A list of all the parts required to build a woodworking project is called a parts list. Each part is numbered and has a thickness, width and length. (These are all actual dimensions, not nominal.) Optionally, each part in CutList Plus fx may specify a type of lumber and may be assigned to a sub-assembly within the project.

CutList Plus allows you to easily manage a parts list: edit, rearrange, sort and renumber the parts in the list, then print it to take to the workshop.

Primary/Secondary Material

If you sometimes make the same project using different types of lumber, or want to see how much money it would cost to upgrade your project to a more expensive lumber, you'll find the primary/secondary material feature in CutList Plus fx a real time-saver.

When adding your parts to the cut list, instead of entering a specific type of lumber for each part, choose either "Primary" or "Secondary" lumber. For example, drawer fronts would be primary, and sides and back would be secondary. (If you want to leave some parts with a specific material, that's OK.)

Then, with one click, choose what the primary and secondary materials should actually be for the entire project. Your layouts and bill of materials will instantly update, along with the project's total cost! You can even switch between plywood, rough-milled lumber and dimensioned lumber.

S4S Lumber

Also known as "Dimensioned Lumber," this term is used to indicate lumber that has already been milled to specific thickness and width. This type of lumber is more expensive, and is frequently used by do-it-yourselfers who don't have access to thicknessing equipment.


In large projects, it can be helpful to break up the parts list into several sub-assemblies. For example, a dresser could have a sub-assembly for the top drawer. You can then sort the cut list by sub-assembly to see all the related pieces grouped together. Using sub-assemblies for a project is an optional feature of CutList Plus fx, and you do not have to assign each part to a sub-assembly, even if you are using them for some parts.


The process of milling rough lumber into the finished dimensions of individual pieces always generates some waste. The term yield indicates how efficient the conversion is, so 100% yield means there is no waste. If you achieve 80% yield, you're doing pretty well.

CutList Plus fx takes yield into account when generating a bill of materials, letting you know you need to buy more rough material than is indicated by simply adding up all the parts. You can specify what value to use for yield in each project.