Date: Fri, 03 May 2002 08:46:38 -0600

Author: Jerry DiMarco

Subject: Re: units of measurement


2x4s are actually 2" x 4" when they make the first cut (called a
"rough cut"). That's where the name comes from. Many years ago this was
the type of lumber used for construction. If you have a chance to peer
inside a really old building you may find rough cut 2x4s in the wall, and
the difference in size is immediately apparent as is the rough
texture. The lumber we buy is given a finish cut which produces the
dimensions we are familiar with and reduces the number of splinters we
would otherwise get...


At 5/2/2002 04:36 PM, you wrote:
>So I went to sweden a decade ago and saw some woodworkers putting up a wall.
>It looked like they were using 2 by 4's, so, interested in what the metric
>name for a 2 by 4 was, I asked.
>To my surprise they answered: We call it a 2 by 4 !
>I responded wow, that has nothing to do with its metric dimensions.
>they responded, it has nothing to do with the english dimensions either.
>So call it a 2 by 4 and realize its just a name and you have to know its
>dimensions as a separate factoid.
>Ten years later I asked the same question, they said that the same piece of
>wood was now called a 100 by 50. Metric units now rule. Of course the piece
>of wood is not 100 mm by 50 mm either.
>Paul D


Jerry DiMarco
Manager of Lecture Demonstrations and Instructional Labs
Montana State Univ., Physics Dept.
Bozeman, MT

Our Motto: "We don't use anything the way it was meant to be used."