How to Measure Wood

When buying lumber, it's important to get your measurements right.

Measure WoodMeasure Wood
Here's how to make sure you do.

Lay the wood flat.

Hold one end of a tape measure at one end of the wood, and pull the tape measure out to the desired length.

Check that the tape measure is straight, comparing it to the edge of the wood. Adjust as necessary. When it is straight, mark the wood with a small pencil mark.

Move the tape measure over a bit on the same surface of the wood. Measure it again and make a second pencil mark.

Remove the tape measure. With a square edge, connect the two pencil marks and check that they are perpendicular to the edge of the wood. If they are not, measure both marks again until correct.

Draw a line connecting the lines when they are equally measured, using the straight edge.

Repeat on the other side of the wood, if necessary.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring Tapes
  • Pencils
  • Wood


  • Check the measurements as many times as necessary. Remember: "Measure twice, cut once."
  • If you are measuring a length too long to allow you to hold both ends of the tape measure, get a friend to help.