What is the actual size of 2x4 lumber?

Asked By: Iver Nouri | Last Updated: 16th June, 2020
Category: hobbies and interests woodworking
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Lumber Dimensions. 2x4s are not actually 2 inches by 4 inches. When the board is first rough sawn from the log, it is a true 2x4, but the drying process and planing of the board reduce it to the finished 1.5x3. 5 size.

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Also question is, when did 2x4 become smaller?

Size standards, maximum moisture content, and nomenclature were agreed upon only as recently as 1964. The nominal 2x4 thus became the actual 1½ x 3½, imperceptibly, a fraction of an inch at a time. It was a 34 percent reduction in actual volume; as those in the trade would say, it's “selling air.”

Similarly, why is lumber not actual size? Maybe you've noticed that lumber sizes are often misleading. The "nominal" cross-section dimensions of a piece of lumber, such as 2 X 4 or 1 X 6, are always somewhat larger than the actual, or dressed, dimensions. The reason is that dressed lumber has been surfaced or planed smooth on four sides (called S4S).

Beside this, why is a 2x4 actually 1.5x3 5?

The 2x4 refers to the rough-cut green wood: it shrinks during drying, then the dried wood is planed smooth, so the finished lumber is supposed to end up at 1.5"x3. 5". While it doesn't really shrink that much, the mills get more usable finished 2x4's from a given tree if they cut them slightly smaller to begin with.

Is a 4x4 really 4 inches?

Believe it or not, there actually is some rhyme and reason for why the actual measurements of dimensional lumber don't match their names.

Actual Dimensions and Nominal Dimensions.

Nominal Measurement Actual (inches) Actual (mm)
2 x 12 1-1/2 x 11-1/4 38 x 286
4 x 4 3-1/2 x 3-1/2 89 x 89
4 x 6 3-1/2 x 5-1/2 89 x 140

39 Related Question Answers Found

How long can you get a 2x4?

Common Lengths for Wall Construction
When using studs, other dimensions of 2-by-4 and 2-by-6 lumber is used. Standard lengths for these range from 8 feet up to 16 feet.

How much does a 2x4 cost?

Lumber Prices: Estimating the Cost of Dimensional Lumber
Board Stud* 8'
2x3 $1.86
2x4 $1.90 $2.16
2x6 $3.70 $3.84

What do they call a 2x4 in Europe?

I cant speak for the hole of europe, but at least in Norway a "2x4" is 48x98 mm. If you go to a lumberyard, you buy 48x98 as everything is measured in metric, but in the daily speach most people still use the term 2x4, 2x8 aso.

Are 2x4 getting smaller?

Through the drying process, the boards naturally shrink, as moisture leaves the beams. The real shrinkage, however, comes when the “rough-sawn material” is sent to a planer, which rubs the surface of the wood down into the smooth shapes you can purchase at a hardware store.

What wood is 2x4?

Fir, Hemlock and Pine Options
One of the most commonly used two-by-fours for framing is made from softwood known as Douglas fir, with hemlock a close competitor. The two species share similar qualities of strength, appearance and durability and are often marketed together and sold as Hem-fir.

Why is wood smaller than advertised?

Lumber's nominal dimensions are larger than the actual standard dimensions of finished lumber. Typically, that rough cut is smaller than the nominal dimensions because modern technology makes it possible to use the logs more efficiently.

What is the actual size of a 2x6?

Same for 1x4, 2x4 and 4x4 etc. Actually, the nominal size is often never the actual size. 1x4 are 3/4″ x 3–1/2″, 2x4 are 1–1/2″ x 3–1/2″. Again, 2x6 are 1–1/2″ x 5–1/2″.

How wide is a 1 by 4?

Nominal vs. Actual Measurements of Dimension Lumber
Nominal Size Actual Size
1 x 4 3/4 x 3 1/2 inches (19 x 89 mm)
1 x 5 3/4 x 4 1/2 inches (19 x 114 mm)
1 x 6 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches (19 x 140 mm)
1 x 8 3/4 x 7 1/4 inches (19 x 184 mm)

What is the standard size of a 2x4?

Lumber Dimensions. 2x4s are not actually 2 inches by 4 inches. When the board is first rough sawn from the log, it is a true 2x4, but the drying process and planing of the board reduce it to the finished 1.5x3. 5 size.

How big is a 2x4 actually?

A piece of surfaced (sanded smooth) 2x4 lumber actually measures 1½ inches thick and 3½ inches wide. In rough-cut condition, a 2x4 is slightly less than 2 inches thick and approximately 4 inches wide. When wood is milled from a rough to a smooth surface, it loses about ¼-inch from each of its four sides.

How much weight can a 2x4 hold?

How much weight can a 2x4 support vertically? Assuming that the load is square and there is no wind, the average 8 feet 2x4 could handle around 1,000 pounds vertically. Of course, it's wise not to push the material up to its limit, use brace and alike to secure the 2x4s whenever it's needed.

Does Home Depot cut wood to size?

Wood cutting
Don't leave without visiting the store's wood cutting area. Whether you're a seasoned carpenter or working on a DIY project, a trained Home Depot associate can cut all different sizes of wood planks and boards, free of charge.

How thick is a 2x6 actual?

Nominal vs. Actual
2x Lumber
2x4 1-1/2 x 3-1/2
2x6 1-1/2 x 5-1/2
2x8 1-1/2 x 7-1/4
2x10 1-1/2 x 9-1/4

How do you measure wood?

Board Foot: Rough sawn lumber is usually sold by the "board foot" (bd. ft.). A board foot is equal to a piece of wood 12 inches long x 12 inches wide and 1 inch thick, or 144 cubic inches. To figure the board foot measurement of a piece of wood, multiply the length x width x thickness in inches, then divide by 144.

How do you make tree lumber at home?

If you do find a mill, as soon as the tree is cut, coat the ends of the logs with latex paint to trap moisture. Rapid moisture loss can lead to severe cracks, making the wood unsuitable for lumber. After the wood is sawed, stack it neatly off the ground in a dry location.

How long are 2x4 at Lowes?

Series Name N/A
Common Measurement (T x W) 2-in x 4-in
Common Length in Feet 8-ft
Common Length in Inches 96-in
Grade Stud

How many board feet are in a 2x4x10?

A board foot is actually a measure of volume. By definition, a board foot is one square foot, one inch thick. The most common mistake made in calculating board footage is forgetting to multiply by the thickness. Example 1: A 4/4 board 8 inches wide and 8 feet long has 5.33 bd.