The type of lumber used depends upon the intended purpose of your project. For example, if you are building a garage door or a shed, then it would be best to choose lumber with less knots and larger pieces. If you are constructing a small house, then you need lumber with fewer knots and smaller pieces. Lumber that has been treated with chemicals such as flame retardants may have different properties than wood from trees without these chemicals applied to them. You will want to check the label before purchasing lumber.
Lumber is usually measured in length and width. Lumber thickness is often added to these measurements when determining its weight per cubic foot. When choosing lumber, keep in mind that the grain direction (grain direction refers to whether the wood has straight or curly lines) varies depending upon where it was harvested from and what kind of weather conditions prevailed at that time.
For example, pine lumber typically has a straight grain while spruce tends to have wavy or curly grain. Pine is very durable and strong but not necessarily the most beautiful of woods. Spruce is generally considered to be stronger than pine and therefore much easier to work with. However, it does tend to be darker in color than other types of hardwoods so it’s not always easy on the eyes.
You might wonder why you would ever need to measure lumber in inches. After all, there are already metric units available for measuring lengths and volumes. The reason is because most people don’t like having to convert between inch and millimeter measurements. Also, many people prefer using their own common sense when it comes to selecting lumber.
For example, they believe that a 2″ x 4″ is actually 1-1/2″ x 3-1/2″.
So now that you are equipped with the basic knowledge of common lumber sizes, you can move on to learning how to measure lumber. In a future article we will go over how to actually cut the lumber to size on your own.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Post and rail system using extrudable plastic posts (GR Elsasser – US Patent 6,467,756, 2002 – Google Patents)
- Double-deck trailer (RB Sandwith – US Patent 6,485,237, 2002 – Google Patents)
- Deck and fence structure for above ground swimming pools (DA Wolf, CG Smith, CS Johnson – US Patent 4,413,361, 1983 – Google Patents)