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Forum topic by HamS posted 02-01-2012 01:06 PM 970 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HamS

1168 posts in 1075 days


02-01-2012 01:06 PM

One of the distinct pleasures of lumber lockin’ is meeting and talking with people from all over the world. It is pretty apparent that the lingua framca of this site is English. However, it is clearly evident to me that there are many different dialects of English in use and it is a side hobby of mine (Perhaps a result of my stint as a linguist in the US Army) to try and figure out where someone is from based on their usage of the language. It appears to me that a “Timber” means any piece of wood to some, while a “Timber” means a LARGE piece of wood to others and to still others it means wood that has not been cut down yet. I once heard that the US and Great Britain were two English speaking countries separated by an ocean and a common language and I had a good laugh, but it seems to be so true. When I meet and talk with Europeans, I can always tell whether they learned English in school or from American Soldiers because if they learned in school they had British accents and used the British variant and if the learned from soldiers they used the coarse and profane language of soldiers (that is a trait of soldiers from everywhere) and did not even realize it.

I truly enjoy seeing how much alike we all are in our struggles to tame the wildness of our chosen medium. It doesn’t matter if the grain is in English oak, German beech, Phillipine Mahogany, Indiana walnut, Georgian pine, Russian fir, Chinese birch, Indonesian bamboo (I am running out of stereotypes) or Australian (Help me out I don’t remember one), we all have to make sure we don’t plane against it and we have to worry about it moving on us after we think we have it tamed. We are fighting the same problems around the world, yet we solve them in different ways.

I suppose that someday the sociologist will read the postings on this site and wonder about us, of course I wonder about us as well. We are truly a diverse and interesting community.

-- My mother named me Hamilton, I have been trying to earn my nickname ever since.


21 replies so far

View moosejaw's profile

moosejaw

10 posts in 1004 days


#1 posted 02-01-2012 02:46 PM

Hello HamS,

My woodshop teacher made a point of making sure we knew the difference. (I think he was originally from Maine). He said what was standing in the woods, cut down and hauled to the sawmill was timber. When the saw cut into the “timber” the pieces that came off the saw were lumber. Curious if you ever heard that definition.

I know what you mean about regional dialect. When I was 19 four of us moved out to Colorado. On our way out the clerk at the store asked if we wanted the “pop in a sack”. We figured out that he was asking if we wanted the
“soda in a bag”.

Fun with language. Bye for now

Ray

-- Ray

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

13752 posts in 1361 days


#2 posted 02-01-2012 03:48 PM

I thought “TIMBER!!” is what is yelled when one fells a tree. Of course, if it goes “Off Course” I just yell “FORE”!!! Lol.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15706 posts in 2904 days


#3 posted 02-01-2012 03:54 PM

Even within the U.S. there are some interesting variations of the English language, as Ray pointed out.

Here in New Orleans, we have quite a few unique expressions. For example, you will sometimes hear people say they are going to “make groceries”, as opposed to “do the grocery shopping”. This one is explainable by our heavy French influence, because in French, the verb “faire” can mean “to make” or “to do”. Hence, French-speaking people trying to speak English could easily make this translation mistake, and the expression “making groceries” stuck.

Another interesting one is what we call the strip of land between two sides of a divided street. To most people, that’s a median. But here, it’s referred to as the “neutral ground”. It is believed that this term originated back when Canal Street was the dividing line between the French and Spanish districts of the city, and commerce between the two sides was most often conducted in the broad median. So, it was considered “neutral ground”.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View miles125's profile

miles125

2179 posts in 2691 days


#4 posted 02-01-2012 04:04 PM

Well you have trees, timber, logs, slabs, lumber, boards, planks and sticks. All names for wood. No wonder english is supposedly the hardest language to learn. :)

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

13752 posts in 1361 days


#5 posted 02-01-2012 04:25 PM

English: I’m not done learning it!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

View BentheViking's profile

BentheViking

1752 posts in 1250 days


#6 posted 02-01-2012 05:43 PM

Charlie I can never go back to calling a neutral ground the median. I never got too big into the “making groceries” phrase, guess I was never “real enough”. If anyone is interested in learning more about New Orleans dialect here is a link.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View derosa's profile

derosa

1556 posts in 1521 days


#7 posted 02-01-2012 07:32 PM

Although I understand timber to be the trees and the logs, lumber is the wood that has been cut up, boards are what you use to build a house or the finished product. You buy boards at the lumber yard. Around be true usage seems to be trees, logs, and boards unless you’re looking for hardwood boards which can be called hardwood lumber. But neither lumber nor timber is used much around here.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1655 days


#8 posted 02-01-2012 08:08 PM

“You have to remember they have different words for things over there…

Like sidewalk for pavement,
streetcar for tram,
and fanny … you could get in a lot of trouble with that one, so you could…”

Mario Rosenstock’s Bill Cullen skit.

View cuttwice's profile

cuttwice

60 posts in 1371 days


#9 posted 02-01-2012 08:51 PM

I’m fascinated by these differences in language too. I’m from the other end of NY from Rev. Russ, and I’m mostly with moosejaw – if it still has bark on it, it’s timber, and after it’s been through the mill, it’s lumber. There are exceptions, but I’ve always understood “timber” to at least indicate a certain roughness. For example, I have often heard a building or boat traditionally framed with rough-sawn (or hand-adzed) wood referred to as “timber-framed”. In addition, those framing timbers tend to be massive, and are mostly used for historical integrity in a modern build (though my kitchen/dining room has reclaimed barn “timber” beams in it that I’m not sure actually do anything but look rustic, so “integrity” is not always the first priority!)

Charlie, yeah, you rite! The first time I heard someone call an avocado an “alligator pear” I was completely stumped, and when I got a minor knock on my head referred to as a “hickey” by the attractive woman I was talking to, I was really puzzled! :)

View tom427cid's profile

tom427cid

294 posts in 1156 days


#10 posted 02-01-2012 08:59 PM

While on a visit to the UK,I met a fine gentleman,also a woodworker(jointer). While I talked of “wood” and the different kinds available here stateside-he talked of timber and the variety available in the UK.
Finally he explained to me that “wood” is where you took your girlfriend for a walk and “timber” is what you built things with! Leastways in the UK!!
tom

-- "certified sawdust maker"

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15706 posts in 2904 days


#11 posted 02-01-2012 09:05 PM

And while the folks up north may call this a crappie, down here it’s a sac-a-lait!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

4136 posts in 1014 days


#12 posted 02-06-2012 04:23 PM

depends what industry you’re in….

In Timber Frame construction, the terms vary depending on both the size of the section (i.e. smaller than a 6×6 would likely not be referred to as a timber) and the application (a 6×6 used vertically as a principal load path is a post and if used horizontally as a principal load bearer it’s a beam. Use that same 6×6 horizontally, but only to carry local load in a floor and it’s a joist, but in a wall or roof, it’s a purlin).

In the crating industry, any frame member thicker than 2” is referred to a as a timber, yet if you’re intent is to resaw boards from that same piece, it’s usually called a cant.

Language is certainly an imperfect means of communication….. give me a schematic with numbers any day.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3496 posts in 2646 days


#13 posted 02-06-2012 05:22 PM

Wanna hear some regionality? You should visit Mississippi…...............
We ain’t done got no dadgum accents. Its them folks in Maine what have accents.
(Hey, I’m jokin’-almost.)
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 2120 days


#14 posted 02-06-2012 06:07 PM

It’s just a question of influence. English/British influenced countries call it Timber, others call it Lumber.
I general the English/Brits are not happy Lumbering along with their Timber …... therein lies the reason, Timber only has one meaning.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 2120 days


#15 posted 02-06-2012 06:15 PM

Oh, Charlie, in most parts of the world they call that thing a fish.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

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