Why is a 2x4 called a 2x4?

Asked By: Ivey Mendel | Last Updated: 28th April, 2020
Category: hobbies and interests woodworking
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In the past, when a timber was called a 2x4 [or "two-by-four"], it actually measured 2 inches by 4 inches. Because of this extra milling, a 2x4 no longer measures a full 2 inches by four inches. Instead, a 2x4 is really only 1 1/2" by 3 1/2".

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Considering this, when did 2x4 stop being 2x4?

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.

Also, what is a 2x4 wood? 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.

Also, what size is a 2x4 Really?

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.

Why have 2x4 gotten 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.

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 long do they make 2x4?

Now, most timber is milled and planed to give it a little more of a finished look, and a little more of a consistent size and profile. Because of this extra milling, a 2x4 no longer measures a full 2 inches by four inches. Instead, a 2x4 is really only 1 1/2" by 3 1/2".

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.

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.

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)

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).

When did lumber sizes change?

Early concepts called for rough lumber to be of full nominal size, often in the dry condition. After World War I, the increasing demand for construction lumber led to the first national size standard in 1924. This was revised in 1926, 1928, 1939, and 1953, while still another revision is proposed for adoption in 1964.

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 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.

How thick is a 2x4 wall?

A two-by-four wall stud is 3 ½ inches wide, and an interior wall typically has ½-inch drywall installed on both sides, bringing the wall thickness to 4 ½ inches. Walls that contain plumbing, such as walls behind sinks, however, should be thicker than standard walls.

What size screws 2x4?

A 2x4 is 1-1/2 inches x 3-1/2 inches. If you're joining them face to face, that's 3 inches thick. A 3 inch long construction screw is ideal, but if you sink the screw head below the surface too far, the tip will blow out the other side.

What is the actual thickness of 3/4 inch plywood?

A 3/4" sheet of plywood is really 23/32" (and is now typically labeled as such). Similarly, 1/2" should be correctly labeled as 15/32" and 1/4" labeled as 7/32".

What is a 2x4 in metric?

Actually, the difference is between the rough cut (At the lumbermill) and the finished, or dressed, size. The rough cut size of a 2x4 is 2" by 4", but after the wood is dried, and planed to make it smooth it is smaller. Either way, as of 1960 the finished size of a 2x4 was 1 5/8 x 3 3/4.

What does 2x4 mean on a four wheeler?

2x4 means 2 wheel drive with 4 wheels 4x4 means 4 wheel drive with 4 wheels.

Does Home Depot cut wood?

Wood cutting
Purchasing wood from Home Depot? 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.

What size does wood come in?

Hardwood Lumber Dimensions
Nominal Size Rough Size Actual Size: Surfaced 2 Sides
4/4 inch 1 inch 13/16 inch (21 mm)
5/4 inch 1 1/4 inch 1 1/16 inch (27 mm)
6/4 inch 1 1/2 inch 1 5/16 inch (33 mm)
8/4 inch 2 inches 1 3/4 inch (44 mm)