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2×4 Dimensions Over Time

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So why does that pine or spruce 2×4 from your local lumber yard now come up short. In reality these measurements are not a true measurement of the lumber thickness or width.

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Here are the common sizes of lumber and their actual sizes.

2×4 dimensions over time. When and why did a 2×4 become a 1 12 x 3 12. Smith wood technologist 1 and l. Wood engineer 2 forest service us.

However even the dimensions for finished lumber of a given nominal size have changed over time. Something doesnt quite match up. When the board is first rough sawn from the log it is a true 2×4 but the drying process and planning of the board reduce it to the finished 15×35 size.

Dont be confused by nominal board dimensions when you buy lumber or read plans. In 1928 that was reduced by 4 and yet again by 4 in 1956. Before 1895 no standards existed for the grading and sizing of lumber though two inches had evolved over time as the most common rough thickness for joists rafters and studs and one inch as the most common thickness for boards.

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. The short answer is modern surfacing and shrinkage. Department of agriculture summary lumber size standards came into being almost a century ago to meet the need for a common.

2x4s are not actually 2 inches by 4 inches. This chart shows the nominal in name only and corresponding actual real dimensions of common wood sizes like 24 dimensions and 14 lumber. In 1910 a typical finished 1 inch 25 mm board was 13 16 in 21 mm.

And this is true for most of the lumber you buy the actual dimensions will be reduced from the nominal dimension by which the lumber is classified. Many decades ago lumber purchased from a sawmill physically matched the common dimensions we use today. The true measurement of a 2×4 is actually about 15×35.

Measure the actual width and thickness of a pine board like a 2×4 and then look at the sign above the rack. Over time weve come to accept these nominal approximate dimensions as standard. But theres still a catch.

Link thanks for that. We show you the quick translation to actual numbers including 2×4. For example a 2×4 is actually 1 12 by 3 12 in size while a 1×6 board when measured proves to be only 34 x 5 12 in actual size.

On your next trip to home depot or lowes take along a tape measure and head over to the dimensional lumber aisles. History of yard lumber size standards by l.

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