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Author Topic: Why isn't a 1 X 2 a 1 X 2?  (Read 3700 times)
tillie
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« on: May 01, 2007, 12:29:08 PM »

Don't get me wrong - I'm a woman with a drill, a hammer, an electric screwdriver, a hand saw and I've used them all.  I vowed to learn to use tools after I sawed the bottom off of my Christmas tree with the saw on the Swiss army knife.  I've installed ceiling fans and door bells.  I've replaced light switches and I've now built a robber screen, frames and innumerable bee boxes from Dadant.

Today I went to Home Depot to get the 1 X 2 s I needed to build a shallow, shallow box to contain my SHB trap that I'm putting together.  The sandwich container for the trap is exactly 2 inches tall so I've figured that with the inner cover over it, I'll be fine with a 1 X 2 .......

But no, the guy, Levan, at Home Depot patiently explains to me that a 1 X 2 is actually 3/4 x 1 1/2 so I'll need 1 X 3 s for the project (which as I'm sure everyone but me knows is actually 3/4 x 2 1/2). 

I thought construction involved precision math - so how in the world does one manage with these approximate measurements - 1 X 2 which really isn't?

Linda T constructionally challenged in Atlanta
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2007, 03:44:41 PM »

The lumber is rough cut at 1 x 2 and then finished off making it a wee bit smaller.
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tillie
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2007, 04:26:37 PM »

I already had plenty of respect for guys who do construction and actually make things fit, but this astounds me - it means that everyone in construction is always "making do" with less than accuracy and still building good stuff.....amazing.

Brendhan (Understudy) who is in Atlanta just called me and explained that contractors have been dealing with this for years.  If a space is supposed to be occupied by 2 x 4, then that means the sort of 2 x 4 board plus dry wall that measures 1/4 inch. 

I'm a quilter and we use 1/4 inch seams and if you mess up the measurements, the quilt doesn't square off - and people live in houses built with these boards that are approximately 1/4 inch off.

Linda T amazed at the talent involved in construction under these trying conditions!
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2007, 05:50:32 PM »

http://mistupid.com/homeimpr/lumber.htm

Here is a nice explanation and some actual sizes.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Blackbird
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2007, 06:57:29 PM »

1x2's 2x4's 4x4's used to actually be just that. We had a look inside my grandfather old house during a remodel and the 4x4's were really 4x4. It looked kind of strange. I don't know why the lumber industry changed it, probably simple economics.
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2007, 07:51:17 PM »

I already had plenty of respect for guys who do construction and actually make things fit, but this astounds me - it means that everyone in construction is always "making do" with less than accuracy and still building good stuff.....amazing.

Brendhan (Understudy) who is in Atlanta just called me and explained that contractors have been dealing with this for years.  If a space is supposed to be occupied by 2 x 4, then that means the sort of 2 x 4 board plus dry wall that measures 1/4 inch. 

I'm a quilter and we use 1/4 inch seams and if you mess up the measurements, the quilt doesn't square off - and people live in houses built with these boards that are approximately 1/4 inch off.

Linda T amazed at the talent involved in construction under these trying conditions!

Its not that they "make do" with with less accuracy, its that you plan it for the "actual" sizes.  You may call it a 2x4, but the plans are made for something that is 1.5" x 3.5"  The construction part shouldn't be bad as long as you planned it correctly knowing that the sizes are not what they are called.  It would be easier though if things where what they are called.  Cut lumber is usually smaller that its named (because of the planing and finishing).  Lengths however should usually be correct (a 8' 2x4 is actually 8'x1.5"x3.5").  Manufactured products like plywood are commonly what they are called however (1/4" plywood being 1/4" for example).  I suppose thats because they didn't get planed.

kawayanan
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tillie
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2007, 11:31:13 PM »

and while I'm at it, I had to buy a "soldering tool" to make the holes in the plastic sandwich box.  I forgot about it while I was at Home Depot and went on to get it at Michael's where I found:

a "Designed for Her" soldering tool - GEE WHIZ.  It's encased in plastic with an opening over the handle inviting you to feel the handle:
"FEEL the soft handle!" it says on the packaging.

I felt somewhat offended - if a woman is buying a soldering tool, surely she doesn't need to feel feminine while she purchases or uses it....

Linda T astounded in Atlanta
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2007, 11:40:10 PM »

Was it pink also with little flowers on it?  grin


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Brendhan
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tillie
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2007, 12:07:18 AM »

Actually, a pale mint green.  The packaging is beige with pink labeling and the solder is packaged in a coil in a clear plastic tube with a blue top....and an option of a cone top or a square top for the tool.

Linda T
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AllanJ
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2007, 06:33:12 AM »

Actually, a pale mint green.  The packaging is beige with pink labeling and the solder is packaged in a coil in a clear plastic tube with a blue top....and an option of a cone top or a square top for the tool.

Linda T

That is why it is aimed at women.. to the other gender, it would be green and brown.. Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2007, 07:57:03 AM »

Did you buy a lady's toolkit, the one with the pretty colors and flowers all over them?

If you go to the big box stores you can expect that a 1x2 isn't even 3/4 x 1 1/2.  With the tolerances they are getting smaller because they are all trying to get cheaper.  So if you need a 2 inch high board, you have to by a 1x4 (3/4 x 3 3/8)

I'm thinking that in 10 years new construction will just be drywall stacked up in cubes......

rick
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Rick
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2007, 12:06:43 AM »

Kawayanan,

You better get your ruler out and measure the next sheet of 1/4" plywood you buy. Generally, 1/4" plywood today is manufactured at 3/16". Same with 1/2" and 3/4" which will usually be anywhere from a 1/32 to 1/16 shy. Dimensional plywood that is made for specific tasks like drawer box making (baltic birch lumber core, mdf, etc) can be obtained that is made to exact net widths like 1/2", etc. The standards are varied and can also depend on where the product is manufactured and unless you work in the industry it can be confusing. The stuf the box stores sell is even worse, more varied and lower quality.
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2007, 02:28:05 PM »

Kawayanan,

You better get your ruler out and measure the next sheet of 1/4" plywood you buy. Generally, 1/4" plywood today is manufactured at 3/16". Same with 1/2" and 3/4" which will usually be anywhere from a 1/32 to 1/16 shy. Dimensional plywood that is made for specific tasks like drawer box making (baltic birch lumber core, mdf, etc) can be obtained that is made to exact net widths like 1/2", etc. The standards are varied and can also depend on where the product is manufactured and unless you work in the industry it can be confusing. The stuf the box stores sell is even worse, more varied and lower quality.

I measured some 1/4" plywood, and it was pretty much right on.  I do know however that 3/4" is short.  Actually at my Lowes at least, its never labeled 3/4".  They actually call it 23/32" (and say ~3/4" under that).  I am sure it depends on the manufacture.
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2007, 11:09:17 PM »

Thats actually true; more and more manufacturers are stating their sizes in 1/32"'s which is accurate. I'm amazed you've found true 1/4" ply. Havnen't seen any off the rack in years now and it's sort of a drag because it means having to grind down dado blades for dedicated uses like drawer botton slots, etc. I usually have mine laid up by a custom shop anyway these days so it's rare that, except for emergencies, I have to go out and buy it from a regular source.
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doak
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2007, 10:57:34 PM »

This is where "YOUR" measurements are important. If you are going to build a box to be standard size for a beehive, you measure the "inside". Then you negate the varible thickness's of any and all finished lumber/plywood. Then your inside will line up when you stack them. Outside may not.
I use standard 1x6-8-12 what ever I'm making. If I'm not mistaken, there is only one standared size board that is the right size and doesn't have to be trimed when used for beeboxes. I can't remember which one.
I could be wrong again.
doak
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« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2007, 01:18:53 AM »

it gets to be loads of fun when you own an old house and you have to do repairs.  we needed to replace some boards on on old deck.  we could not match the new with the old.  same with some indoor wall work we did.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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tillie
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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2007, 07:19:07 AM »

All I can say is that people who do the construction work must not be oldest children  Wink - it's too hard for me as an oldest child to operate with so little precision.  I read the earlier post from kawayanan that specificity happens, simply using the real measurements but in the case you described, kathyp, that's where I'd lose my mind!

Linda T in Atlanta befuddled and amazed that buildings stand when they are built and can be repaired when they are old!
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2007, 08:31:43 AM »

Linda,

You've just accurately described the state of mind in which probably about 99% of all construction is done in - "befuddled amazement". Many structures do indeed appear to stand  but in 50 years much of what you see today will be gone.

Here's a simple observation about working with wood: store bought materials (lumber, plywood, etc) is sold in dimensions that have no real bearing on any specific use. But in modern construction, minimal rendering of such products saves on labor (you use, say, a 1X6 as is or a 4X8 sheet of plywood as is). But you can't really achieve effects that are interesting or beautiful (craftsmanlike) that way. That's why true custom work - quite honestly less than 1% of all construction - requires the craftsman to see wood as a raw material to be shaped specifically to the aesthetic needs of each situation. Beauty and interest are attained by achieving genuine uniqueness. A similar approach is necessary for renovation/repair work - that is the ability to obtain raw products and then render them to your need.

As for the "oldest child" syndrome, there are still a few of us out there. Sadly, the educated, trained artisans of my generation (peak baby-boomers) are dwindling and there is no one coming up behind us.
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2007, 01:38:18 PM »

Quote
As for the "oldest child" syndrome, there are still a few of us out there. Sadly, the educated, trained artisans of my generation (peak baby-boomers) are dwindling and there is no one coming up behind us. 
 


i have hope that the next generation will be able to unplug from the ipod and settle down into some semblance of reality and discipline.  after all, we survived our psychedelic past  smiley.  i don't know though. i remember when we used to talk on the train to people we didn't know.  we would speak to our neighbors and make friends with other parents on the playground. hard to do that when you have plugs in your ears.   maybe the ipod is the new curse of our Babel.  it will be interesting to see what these youngsters come up with.  in the meantime, i'll keep my old farm house and keep trying to patch it together with mismatched lumber  smiley
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2007, 12:12:06 AM »

Mismatched lumber absolutely has a charm. Some people seem to have a creative knack for that genre, something I've always envied.

I think Ipods are here to stay unfortunately. I am trying to stay open-minded about them - and our children's obsession with them. My son and step daughter have been raised on a farm, have all of the interests that one would hope would develope in such an environment yet, they seem more and more inclined to be "connected", whether it be the Ipod, pc games, gameboy, etc. There's an inevitability about it that's sort of depressing.
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