Framing lumber is identified by the height and width of the board. Originally a 2 x 4 was cut as a rough green board that was exactly 2 x 4 inches in size but by the time the boards were dried and planed the boards were smaller approaching the now standard 1 12 x 3 12 inches in size.
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Actual measurements of dimension lumber.
2×4 actual width. Measure the actual width and thickness of a pine board like a 2×4 and then look at the sign above the rack. Dimensional lumber is cut to a specific length width and depth. In reality these measurements are not a true measurement of the lumber thickness or width.
The tables below provide both the nominal and actual sizes so many common north american lumber sizes. Which means for example three 2×4 boards laid side by side will not measure a foot across. Something doesnt quite match up.
The true measurement of a 2×4 is actually about 15×35. We show you the quick translation to actual numbers including 2×4. 2x4s are not actually 2 inches by 4 inches.
Lumber sizes and measurement. The way this comes about is that when lumber is cut from the logs it is considered rough cut the wood is still. A 2×4 board is actually only 1 12 inches by 3 12 inches.
Lumber depth and width are typically given in nominal dimensions but those arent the true sizes. Dont be confused by nominal board dimensions when you buy lumber or read plans. Because a nominal 2×4 board is really 1 12 inches by 3 12 inches.
The measurements used however may make you think you are getting cheated. Here are the common sizes of lumber and their actual sizes. 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.
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. This chart shows the nominal in name only and corresponding actual real dimensions of common wood sizes like 24 dimensions and 14 lumber. However there is a difference between the nominal size what the lumber is referred to and the actual size.
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.
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