1×2 actual size

The actual dimensions of 1 x 2 lumber are 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches (19 x 38 mm). Despite the incorrect nominal size, hardware stores still refer to this lumber as 1-by-2. Actually, hardware stores sell treated and planned lumber that has been shrunk from its original dimensions.

The size of 1×2 lumbers on stores is determined when the surfaces are sanded to make the surface smooth,  and lighter by reducing the moisture content of the wood. Consequently, a 1×2 lumber’s nominal size is incorrect, although technically the lumber was of the same size at the time of its sawing.

However, The length remains the same as 1×2 regardless of its actual or nominal size. For example, an 8 feet long board will have an 8 feet actual length, the same is true with other sizes such as 6 feet, 10 feet, 4 feet, etc.  

In order to find out the exact dimensions, it’s best to do some quick measurements.

1×2  lumber dimensions

1×2  lumberNominal size in inches Actual size in inches
Width1 Width3/4
Height 2 length1/2
1×2  LumberNominal size in mmActual size in mm
Height 50.838

Why is the actual size of a 1 x 2  lumber smaller than its nominal size?

Typically, a plank is measured as it is in its original shape, but the lumber we purchase has been smoothened during the manufacturing process. This process results in the board shrinking.

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