Dimensional lumber


Is there any type of wood that is sold as per its dimension anymore?
I tried to buy some cedar that was as advertised, nope even something as simple as a 1x2 cedar strip is actually 5/8x 1 1/2. It sucks because I have to buy a 1x4 board to fill a 2" gap or actually I have to buy a 2x4 board and rip it 2 ways with a tablesaw to fit a 1x2 gap. This has to be a ploy to sell more lumber, can't this be attacked as a "truth in advertising" or false claims angle?
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The dimension of lumber is the dimension before it is planed to make it smooth.
It's like the quarter pound burger is a quarter pound before cooking.
If you want the true dimension of the lumber you need to buy it rough sawn.
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The dimensions are before planing. I can buy 4/4 hardwood, but, by the time I get done preparing it, the actual dimension will be 3/4". Boards are rough cut, dried, then dimensioned. If you want a true 1" thick board, you must start out with at least an extra 1/4 to 1/2" when cut from the tree. Just the way lumber dries.
All 1x lumber is finished 3/4". Boards are, IIRC 1/2" less on the width up to 6", but over that, they are 3/4" less. Been that way for about 100 years or so.
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Surely this is a troll. Have you set the hook yet? ______________________________ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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Same thought here. Although I did experience the same disbelief from my neighbor when he was trimming out his new addition. He had no table saw and needed some stock ripped for window trim. Handed me a batch of 1x4 and asked for it to be ripped 2". I did. He was shocked to find a stack of 2" plus a stack of 1x1/2 (minus kerf). I had to explain the facts of life to him.
Of course he was also the guy who grew up on a farm and didn't believe me when I told him he had wasted his money planting all those seedling trees in his pasture without fenceing them off. He never heard of cattle being browswers. I don't think any of them got as far as putting out the first leaf.
Harry K
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On Sun, 11 Mar 2007 18:32:21 -0700, "Eigenvector"

I'm not sure why this part bothers you so much. You gave one example where you have to buy a bigger board and rip it. But if the lumber was exactly 2x4, and the gap you needed to fill was 2 1/2 or 3 inches, you would still have to buy something bigger than that and rip it. Only a few gaps are actually the size of lumber, as long as lumber only comes in a limited number of sizes.

AIUI, 2x4's etc. were sold as 2 by 4 and the buyer had to smooth them. Now they do this for us, much more efficiently than all but a few customers could do it. It's usually considered worth it to pay less for such extras than it would cost to do it oneself, like getting one's milk pasteurized, one's corn already shucked and cooked, or one's bread presliced.
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Anyone who has every tryied to build with rough cut or remodel a house that was built with it is _very_ familiar with the problems. I have done both. To build new with it you start with a stack of rough cut and sort through to find the ones that match dimensions. Even knowing the problems I tried to use lumber I salvaged off a schoolhouse to build my 18x30 addition. Did manage to use it for floor joists but only by shimming or trimming the ends of every one to match height. Did build one 18' wall with the studs but only after lots of sorting. I gave it up at that point, bit the bullet and bought new lumber.
Harry K
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...

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Just a note...
Wasn't as much a problem until the advent of drywall -- with lath and plaster, wall surfaces were much more readily finished to accomodate some irregularity than with drywall where the finish surface plane is the board itself. Of course, as anyone who has remodeled old houses knows, rarely, if ever, are walls straight or corners square... :)
I regularly salvage old material, but generally would go to the trouble of cleaning it up and dimensioning it before beginning a major project with it. Of course, it helps to have a large industrial- strength jointer and planer, of course... :)
In VA years ago, they salvaged material from an early schoolhouse and stacked it for sale. Went for the purpose of getting one of the old slate blackboards for the kids. Wandering around looking through piles of joists and other framing lumber and noticed it was all quite dark in color. Hmmm, me says...let's look at this. Scrape a little corner off a 3x12 18-footer and yep! -- just what I thought: virtually the whole thing was framed w/ walnut.
Placed a bid of $3000 for the entire stack of lumber and came away with something under 8000 bd-ft of #1C and better walnut.
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dpb wrote:

What did you end up doing with the wood, Duane?
R
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dpb wrote:
And whatever happened to that settling foundation?
R
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Naw, they have to measure it that way. It is not possible to measure it any other way. I have a small saw-mill and have found that wood shrinks a lot after it is cut. The dimensions quoted are alway called nominal since it is assumed that a woodworker knows that no exact dimension can be given.
Here's an example: I cut 2/4 stock on my mill. That is the nominal size. It just gives us a name to call it even though we know the dimension will be changing from the moment the board is cut and starts to dry. I cut my "two inch" stock to 2 1/8" knowing that after it shrinks I will have a board that may only be 1 15/16".
Only when the stock is totally dry can the dimensions become stable enough to be able to plane and joint it and an relatively accurate measurment be given. This is a moisture level less that 10%, hopefully 7 or 8% Then it is the final user who finds out that his "two-by" stock is 1 3/4". It is still called a two-by.
Even after the wood has been dried and is in it's final use it still gain and loses a bit of size due to fluctuations in temp and humidity. So, 2x4 is just a name to call it. It tells you enough to know what size board to expect. No exact measurement can ever be given.
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wrote:

Wow, that was quite possibly the best explanation I've heard on this subject. And I was sincerely hoping I could piss and moan about it for a few days. Actually my heartburn has ended seeing how the job is done and the results worked out after ripping a 1x3 to the needed dimensions.
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See chapter 5 of ts.nist.gov/Standards/Conformity/upload/ps20-05.pdf for (minimum) standard lumber sizes.
Eigenvector wrote:

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On Sun, 11 Mar 2007 18:32:21 -0700, "Eigenvector"

Its even worst than what you think.
My house is sided in 3/4" x7 1/2" redwood boards. A normal person would call it a 1 x 8.
The house has stood here for 50 years with nary a problem but last year a squirrel decides to gnaw through the siding. So I walk into the local lumber yard and say I'd like to buy a couple 1 x 8 clear redwood boards. The clerk says he has to special order them, I say OK and leave.
A few days later the boards arrive, I go to pick them up and low and behold, within the last 50 years the definition of a 1 x8 has changed to be 5/8" x 7 1/2"! So the replacement board sits 1/8" shallower than all the rest of the siding.. I had to buy a sheet of 1/8" masonite and use it as a backing to my new 1 x 8 board to make everything match.
Here's a question: What do all you Canadians out there do when all the old houses are built to Imperial measures, but all the repair parts you can buy are Metric. It must be a nightmare to do any remodeling.
dickm
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...
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That's owing to the material being redwood -- what with the demand for redwood combined with the difficulties from environmental, etc. on logging redwood and the subsequent high prices, in the last 20-30 years there is tremendous pressure on stretching particularly clear material to the limit. "Full" dimension 1x redwood is still available but would require ordering architectural material rather than dimension lumber to ensure it -- and the price would probably go up 50% or more not simply the ratio of thicknesses...
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wrote:

I bet it is 15mm thick
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