Can anyone point me to a website that would have a list of common lumber
sizes? I'm thinking about making a basic woodworking bench and I'd like to
compare common lumber sizes to various plans.
Being a newbie, whenever I get to my local lumber yard I get overwhelmed by
all the choices so tough to figure out what I want in advance. And when I
try to figure in the size difference between nominal and actual sizes my
thanks in advance
with hardwood lumber when milled must be cut to at least size said in
the rough green, after shrinkage from drying and surface planing may be
next nominal size down. example a 6" wide piece may end up at 5 1/4 but
still be called a 6"
It isn't that hard... The sizes are nominal (usually as cut from the log).
What you buy is lumber which has been planed. Planing will remove 1/2 inch
in width and about 1/4 inch in thickness.
Thus, what you get when you buy a 2 by 4 is a piece of lumber that is 1 1/2
by 3 1/2 and so forth.
Once upon a time, all construction lumber was rough (not surfaced). The
current (nominal) sizes are the same as those used so long ago for rough
Most things go in increments of 2. 2x4, 2x6, 2x8, 2x10, 2x12 are your
common construction sizes, with lengths of 8', 10', 12', 14', and 16'
being common at most yards. Note the lack of dimensional note on the 2x
sizes. It may just be laziness, but it also reminds us that the 2x4
isn't 2"x4". (Use of the x instead of the multiplication "cross", well,
that's just laziness.)
For 2x lumber, figure on losing 1/2" from the 2" side, and 3/4" from the
other side. For 1x lumber, figure on losing 1/4" from the 1" side, and
3/4" from the other side. (A 1x4 is like a 2x4 cut in half. In fact, if
you've only got a HD nearby, buy their 2x4s and cut them in half... their
1x4s are expensive!)
If you're doing something where the proper fit of pieces is important
(dados and rabbets), never go by what the wood "should" be. Always
MEASURE it. I cut 1/2" dados for 9mm plywood a few projects ago...
You can only do so much with caulk, cardboard, and duct tape.
To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
Buy your total width plus 15% in the length required. That way your head
won't spin when you discover that regardless nominal, or even actual size,
some lumber isn't straight and will have to be reduced in dimension to make
Repeating what other have said but adding a bit:
"one-by" = 3/4"
"Two-by" = 1.5"
4 = 3.5"
6 = 5.5"
Pay attention now...
10 = 9.25"
12 = 11.25"
Lengths are generally true measure with the notable exception that i have
seen 2x4's "pre-cut" to 93" so that can put a sill and plate on it to create
an 8' wall.
If you are building a bench, consider getting 8, 10 or 12-by stock and
ripping it to the size that you need. The larger sizes tend to be straighter
and more clear of knots. Also, the geometry of cutting a rectangular cross
section, from a round tree requires that larger pieces are cut from the
center of the tree, therefore yeilding a higher percentage of quartersawn
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
Common ain't common.
In 1959 we bought a house that was built in the 1920's. 2 X 4's were 1
3/4 X 3 3/4. When we bought lunber to do remodeling in the early
60's, 2 X 4's were 1 5/8 X 3 5/8.
By 1970, I think they were 1 9/16 X 3 9/16. Now, of course, they are 1
1/2 X 3 1/2.
I think the mfrs are just squeezing more boards from a given tree.
Have you tried to by 1/2" plywood lately? How thick is yours? Mine is
7/16. Oh yeh, and the plies don't stick together any more.
BTW, dimension lumber up to 2 X 6 does seem to follow the rule that you
take 1/2" off each "rough" dimension. ie: 2 X 4 = 1 1/2 X 3 1/2.
But, 2 X 8 and beyond, you take 3/4 off the big dimension. ie: 2 X 8 1 1/2 X 7 1/4.
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