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Old 08-01-2007, 11:22 PM   #1
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why call it a 2x4?


Well it ain't 2" by 4"

a 2x8 ain't 2" by 8"

was it at one time? why did it shrink, better wood processing?

just always wondered...

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Old 08-01-2007, 11:28 PM   #2
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why call it a 2x4?


That is the "nominal" dimension not the actual dimension. The final or dressed dimensions are different. They have decreased over the years, despite the density of the materials decreasins with new growth lumber.

Many other materials use nominal dimensions and the are used in most building codes as a "short hand" description without going into fractions and decimals. - Who ever saw a framer worrying about fractions and decimals?

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Old 08-02-2007, 08:44 AM   #3
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why call it a 2x4?


On a finished 2 x 4 wall, it is a 2 x 4 wall after you add 1/2 sheetrock, for one side of it.
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:40 AM   #4
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why call it a 2x4?


It obviously has nothing to do with the wall thickness since the 2x4 can be turned 90 degrees.

Is the wall 2" long?

What if you happen to make the mistake of putting 1/2" sheetrock on both sides? Even worse, what if you happen to use 5/8" or even make the mistake of using tile also in your bathroom? - The wall may not even have any rock in it except some very soft ground up materials!

A 2x4 is just a basic, rough, building material with a common name that does not accurately describe the actual size. The same applies to a 8" block, except it does have rock in it.
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:45 AM   #5
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why call it a 2x4?


this probably like many other things inherited from the Great Britain which doesn't make sense but got to keep using it... like 1 feet have 12 inches instead of 10 inches...etc.
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Old 08-02-2007, 11:14 AM   #6
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why call it a 2x4?


A 2x4 used to be 2x4 actual and 100 16d nails used to be $0.16.
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Last edited by Clutchcargo; 08-02-2007 at 11:27 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 08-02-2007, 02:55 PM   #7
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why call it a 2x4?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutchcargo View Post
A 2x4 used to be 2x4 actual
Yup
Same with trim
Ever try and replace exterior trim on an 1800s or older home?
You've got to buy over-size and rip cut every stinking piece
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Old 08-02-2007, 07:27 PM   #8
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why call it a 2x4?


When the board is cut from the log, it measures 2x4, but drying and planing of the board reduces it to 1 1/2"x 3 1/2"
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Old 08-03-2007, 12:13 AM   #9
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why call it a 2x4?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ron schenker View Post
When the board is cut from the log, it measures 2x4, but drying and planing of the board reduces it to 1 1/2"x 3 1/2"
It's the same with buying lumber for woodworking. When you buy 8/4 lumber it's not 2 inches thick unless it is rough and not planed. Usually it comes 1 1/2".
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Old 08-16-2007, 12:15 AM   #10
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why call it a 2x4?


They do it so we can encourage more talk on forums in the general discussion areas.....

Actually I buy the theory that is is originally ripped to 2x4 But then shrinks.
I would put money on it.
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Old 08-16-2007, 01:02 PM   #11
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why call it a 2x4?


basically as stated; is ruff cut to 2 x 4 then it is squared and planed. This brings it to 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 . Some years back they actually were dressed to 1 5/8 x 3 5/8. Some magical transformation occured and they claim that making a 2 x 4 smaller does NOT make it weaker Right.
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Old 08-22-2007, 02:35 PM   #12
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why call it a 2x4?


Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny331 View Post
Well it ain't 2" by 4"
I, for one, am glad I don't have to go to the store and ask for 1.45739" x 3.5231" x 91.9675" lumber!
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Old 09-01-2007, 01:28 AM   #13
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why call it a 2x4?


I hear you about the old lumber for the older houses. What I do is to salvage some of the old wood that is laying around after a house has been torn down. You take one of the old 2" X 4"'s, run it through a planer, and the wood looks great. Better than ANYTHING you can buy at the store today. This wood is soo strong, you have to pre-drill before you can put a nail in it. I usually use the over-sized wood, and plane it down to the exact size I need. It is a shame that most of this wood is just dumped in the landfills.
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Old 09-02-2007, 10:40 PM   #14
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why call it a 2x4?


Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny331 View Post
Well it ain't 2" by 4"

a 2x8 ain't 2" by 8"

was it at one time? why did it shrink, better wood processing?

just always wondered...
It was in the "old days". Before modern lumber milling machinery framing lumber was "rough cut" only, it was not dressed down and smooth like todays woods. The boards came from the saw just as their dimensional name implied.
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Old 09-02-2007, 10:43 PM   #15
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why call it a 2x4?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron The Plumber View Post
On a finished 2 x 4 wall, it is a 2 x 4 wall after you add 1/2 sheetrock, for one side of it.
So does that mean you have a 2" pipe when you use a piece of 3/4" copper with pipe insulation on it

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