US Lumber Sizes

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Forum topic by victorpingle posted 07-09-2012 12:27 AM 1210 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2170 days

07-09-2012 12:27 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lumber sizes


I am a furniture designer in New Zealand. I am shortly going to be in the process of converting some of my designs to use timber that is readily available in the United States. I can not seem to find a definitive list of what sizes of timber is commonly available.
My current designs use dressed pine (I think in the States it is called dimensional) and in metric sizes. I wish to find the nearest US equivalent for them. I would wish to find a close substitute as I don’t want the users of my plans to have to rip the timber to the correct size.
If anybody could give me some pointers to a definitive list it would be most appreciated.

I am thinking of mainly Pine and available in home improvement stores like Home Depot (which is the only one I have heard of. I am sure there are others)

One of my plans has been designed utilising the following materials

Dressed Pine 1” x 4”
Dressed Pine 1” x 9”
Dressed Pine 2-1/2” x 2-1/2”
Dressed Pine 2-1/2” x 3”

Are these materials available in the States?

Victor Pringle

3 replies so far

View HerbC's profile


1763 posts in 2881 days

#1 posted 07-09-2012 12:51 AM

1” X 4” is a common size (actual dimensions 3/4” x 3 1/2”)
The closest to 1” x 9” would be either 1” x 8” or 1” x 10”. Again, actual dimension would be 3/4” x 7 1/4” or 3/4” x 9 1/4”
2 1/2” is recognized as a standard dimensional value (for 3” lumber) but is not commonly stocked. You would do best adjusting your designs to use 2” dimensional stock ( 2” x 2” or 2” x 4” with actual dimensions of 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” or 1 1/2” x 3 1/2”) if it wouldn’t total destroy your designs.

You also need to decide whether to use white pine or yellow pine or the generic SPF (Spruce/Pine/Fir) that is commonly stocked for dimensional contruction lumber. The pines have significanly different characteristics in looks, workability, wearability and strength. White pine and yellow pine 1”x material is generally sold kiln dried to a level that will be reasonable to use without signifivcant additional drying after puchase. On the other hand the 2”x construction dimensional lumber is generally kiln dried to only 19% (including heat treatment to set sap and kill bugs) and has to be dried further in shop to be stable enough for use in furniture.

You can find a lot of info on the web. Google is your friend. For instance Commercial Lumber Sizes

Good Luck!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

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2899 posts in 2270 days

#2 posted 07-09-2012 01:22 AM

Also, in “dressed” or dimensional lumber, you are never going to find anything larger than an inch (nominal, 3/4” actual) thick, unless you get construction lumber (think 2×4). Also the big box pine is usually horribly warped and riddled with knots. When I use it, I generally get a 1×12 size and rip it down into 3” or 4” widths to get the twist and cupping out.


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2 posts in 2170 days

#3 posted 07-16-2012 04:30 AM

Thank you everybody for your help.

I now have sufficient insight of what is available and now will have the information to change my designs.


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