The difference between nominal and actual dimensions for items like 2×4 dimensions next project dont be confused by nominal board dimensions when you buy lumber or read plans. But then the newly sawn but soaking wet lumber is then kiln dried until it reaches the desired moisture level.
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When the board is first rough sawn from the log it is a true 2×4 but the drying process and planing of the board reduce it to the finished 15×35 size.
2×4 actual. Then the freshly cut board dries ending up an actual 1 12 inches by 3 12 inches. At this point the 2 x 4 is actually 2 inches x 4 inches a 2 x 10 is actually 2 inches x 10 inches etc. Then after it is dried the wood is planed to smooth the surface and make the wood a uniform size.
The tables below provide both the nominal and actual sizes so many common north american lumber sizes. The final final measurement can change because wood is hydroscopic it absorbs and releases water into the air. Shop our selection of null in the department at the home depot.
Dimensional lumber is cut to a specific length width and depth. Here are the common sizes of lumber and their actual sizes. A nominal 2×4 board starts its life 2 inches by 4 inches.
During this process it shrinks as the moisture in the wood is removed and the wood cells shrink. The wood is still green and wet. Once the wood dries it shrinks.
However there is a difference between the nominal size what the lumber is referred to and the actual size. Measure the actual width and thickness of a pine board like a 2×4 and then look at the sign above the rack. Something doesnt quite match up.
The way this comes about is that when lumber is cut from the logs it is considered rough cut. A 2×4 board is actually only 1 12 inches by 3 12 inches. Actual dimensions and nominal dimensions.
Then its edges are surfaced reducing its width and depth. 2x4s are not actually 2 inches by 4 inches. If you can stop someone in the store to help explain the inconsistency theyll start throwing around a few words like nominal sizes and actual sizes and softwood lumber and hardwood lumber.
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