Lumber

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Home Improvement
Lumber is the basic material used for building homes, fences, and some furniture. 2 X 4 is one of the most common pieces used in construction, but lumber is available in many sizes.

The sizes of lumber can be misleading as the “nominal” cross-section dimensions of a piece of lumber, such as 2 X 4 or 1 X 6, are always larger than the actual or dressed dimensions. The reason for this is that dressed lumber has been surfaced or planed smooth on all four sides, which is called S4S. The nominal measurement is taken before the lumber is surfaced.

Board and Lumber Dimensions
Board is the name given to 1X lumber:

Nominal Size Dressed Dimensions (inches)
1 X 6 3/4 X 51/2
1 X 8 3/4 X 71/4
1 X 10 3/4 X 91/4

Dimension lumber is the name given to 2X and 4X lumber:

Nominal Size Dressed Dimensions (inches)
2 X 2 11/2 X 11/2
2 X 4 11/2 X 31/2
2 X 6 11/2 X 51/2
2 X 8 11/2 X 71/4
2 X 10 11/2 X 91/4
2 X 12 11/2 X 111/4
4 X 4 31/2 X 31/2

Board measure is a way of measuring lumber in which the basic unit is 1 foot long by 1 foot wide by 1 inch thick, called a board foot. Lumber is usually priced in board feet, and the formula for finding nominal board feet is:

Thickness x Width x Length
12

This will give you the answer in board feet. To make pricing easier, most building material retailers and lumberyards price lumber by the running foot. For instance, a 2 X 4 X 8 is priced at eight times the running foot cost, instead of as 5.333 board feet.


Lumber is one of the essential building blocks of house construction.

Not what you’re looking for? Try these:

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FAQ

1. What is lumber?

Lumber, also known as timber, is wood that has been processed into planks and beams that can be used for construction, furniture making, and other applications. Lumber is typically cut from trees that have been harvested specifically for this purpose.

2. What are the different types of lumber?

There are many different types of lumber, including softwood and hardwood. Softwood lumber comes from coniferous trees, such as pine and spruce, while hardwood lumber comes from deciduous trees, such as oak and maple. Additionally, lumber can be classified as dimensional lumber, which is used for framing and construction, or appearance-grade lumber, which is used for furniture and decorative purposes.

3. How is lumber graded?

Lumber is typically graded based on its quality and appearance. The most common grading systems are the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) and the American Softwood Lumber Standard (ALS). These systems take into account factors such as knots, splits, and other defects, as well as the size and straightness of the boards.

4. What are the environmental concerns associated with lumber?

The harvesting of lumber can have negative environmental impacts if not done sustainably. Clearcutting, where all trees in an area are removed, can lead to soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, and other ecological problems. However, sustainable forestry practices, such as selective cutting and replanting, can help mitigate these issues.

5. How is lumber processed?

Lumber is typically processed at a sawmill, where logs are cut into various sizes and shapes using saws and other equipment. The lumber may then be dried in a kiln to reduce moisture content and prevent warping. Additional processing may include planing and sanding to create a smooth surface.

6. What are some common uses for lumber?

Lumber is used in a wide variety of applications, including construction, furniture making, and paper production. Common construction uses include framing, flooring, roofing, and siding. Furniture makers may use lumber for tables, chairs, and other pieces. Additionally, lumber can be processed into paper pulp for use in the manufacture of paper products.

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