Posted by: Becky Horodyskyj | 01/10/2011

A Confusing Trip to Lowe’s

I recently went to Lowe’s to get some pine board for a project i’m making which i will post up here sooner or later, and learned that the pre-cut boards are actually not the sizes that they say they are.  The nominal dimension is measurement before the wood is dried and cut nicely to sell.  The actual dimensions of the wood are called the finished dimensions.  This all makes sense when you think about it because the wood has to be planed to be nice and smooth for us to buy, and the drying process slightly shrinks the dimensions of the wood.  However, it would be nice to know exactly the size of wood you are getting.  I suppose it’s quicker to eyeball the sections of cut and dimensioned wood in the hardware stores, but they should at least put the finished dimensions on the tag or display.  That would really help out those of us who go wood shopping for exact dimensions.

After the sales guy rattled off a bunch of finished dimensions for me so fast i couldn’t remember the board size he was even talking about, i decided to just look it up and share with all of you something that i think a lot of people don’t know.

Here’s a link that shows the finished dimensions of some common board sizes as well as quick ways to figure out what the nominal dimension is on the fly.

Happy board buying!



  1. I for one think it’s stupid how a 2×4 isn’t actually 2″ x 4″. Maybe it’s the “engineer side” of me, but I think the name should describe the end product, not the raw material half way through the process.

    Either way, good post. Very informative. I’m sure lots of people will find this useful.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by coryvb123. coryvb123 said: RT @BeckyJoon: A Confusing Trip to Lowe's: […]

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