Board lumber comes in many different sizes, types and shapes. Most of the lumber we use in set building is taken from fast growing soft wood trees. We must do our best to recycle as much lumber as we can. While wood does grow on (in) trees, we should do our part in preserving our natural resources.

We use the following sizes of board lumber the most. You'll notice that the list has two different columns on the left. One labeled Name and the other labeled Actual. A 2"x4" is not actually 2 inches by 4 inches when it reaches the lumber yard. You see, when the wood is cut from the log at the saw mill, the actual size is 2 inches by 4 inches "rough cut". Rough cut means the surface of the wood has rough saw marks all over it. When you get the lumber, it has already been smoothed via a large wood surface planer. When you pass wood through a surface planer, the blades take off 1/8th of an inch from each side. The result is a smooth piece of wood that is smaller then it's name.

 

Name

Actual


Use

1"x3" 3/4"x2 1/2" Used for framing flats.
1"x6" 3/4"x5 1/2" Used for framing door flats where extra rigidity is needed. Also can be used for framing light weight platforms. Platforms using 1"x6" need more legs and extra bracing then platforms using 2"x6"
2"x3" 1 1/2" x
2 1/2"
We often use this for stair railings, furniture parts, diagonal bracing and more.
2"x4" 1 1/2" x
3 1/2"
Platform legs, railings, heavy duty flat construction, medium duty platform framing. These are also used for framing houses, wall studs, heavy duty diagonal bracing...
2"x6" 1 1/2" x
5 1/2"
Platform framing, narrow stair steps (treads), stair risers.
2"x10"
2"x12"
1 1/2" x
9 1/2" &
11 1/4"
These two are most often used for stair risers (sides) and for heavy duty beams under platforms. Let's say we wished to have an open span of 12 feet. You could use a few 2"x12" beams, with proper legs at each end, to hold up your platforms

The Actual dimensions may vary from wood to wood. You should always double check the actual size before finalizing your cut lists. Let's say your cut list calls for 1x3 to be cut to 3'7" for the toggle of a 4x8 flat... If the 1x3 were to be 2 3/8ths instead of 2 1/2", the flat would be just a bit narrow.