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Blueblade

How does lumber work in other countries?

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Kind of random, but I was curious about lumber in other countries.  The US is kind of an oddball in that we don't use the metric system even though most of the rest of world does. Common lumber is referenced by its dimensions in inches or feet.  House walls are built mostly with "two by fours" (which are really 1.5 inch by 3.5 in wide, not 2 x 4 inches, and usually 8 or 10 feet long, e.g. 2x4x8 or 2x4x10's).  They are usually spaced 16 inches apart in walls. 

I got to thinking, what do other countries use in place of these boards?  Do they use the same size board, but call them 4x9's (3.8 cm x 8.8 cm)?  Or maybe they are cut to have some other more convenient evenly metric dimensions that are somewhat close to 1.5 in x 3.5 in.  

Same with other boards... 1x2's, 2x6's, 4'x8' sheets of plywood. Etc. 

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Two-by-four is a commonly known term here, but nowadays at least hardware stores seem to indicate the dimensions in millimeters, for example 45x95 or 48x98 are more or less standard sizes, both are close to 2x4", the slimmer one's planed. 48x98mm comes down to about 1.89" x 3.86". Also "even" numbers are common, like 50x100mm, which is actually even closer to 2x4 (1.97 x 3.94").

My guess is that the sizes are based on "traditional" imperial sizes as they seem come very near the whole inch-values.

Edited by esaj

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Here in New Zealand we used to use "4 by 2's" rather than "2 by 4's". But since going metric it is now 100 x 50 (mm) which is the rough sawn size - once dressed it is smaller \, as is yours.

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The biggest difference is that the rest of the world doesn't build the prevailing house types from wood.

So there's no standard wood sizes for a huge volume application like houses in North America that also need to fit together into a standardized system of fixed measurements and distances for all the other parts (prebuilt siding, windows, etc). You just build what you want if you do it with wood. The sawmill will just cut your desired size, given in millimeters (e.g. 100 x 20). Sure, there are more commonly used sizes (I guess), but it matters much less.

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