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Is there a standard sequence for writing measurements ?

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Forum topic by OldBull posted 09-25-2020 07:14 PM 719 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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OldBull

220 posts in 182 days


09-25-2020 07:14 PM

Is there a standard sequence for length height and width ?? It is easy to identify most measurements as they are usually 1”x4”x8’. Not always however. Some CAD and hand drawings leave perception difficult, and some are close such as 4”x3”x6”. So what do you do when writing (and reading), is there a standard when you are trying to get your project on paper? I have seen drawings that were all over the place. a 2”x 4” starts with width, or is that just a name? Can it change depend on how it is visually positioned? I guess some are smallest to largest.

Thanks for any insight.


20 replies so far

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Loren

10720 posts in 4534 days


#1 posted 09-25-2020 07:23 PM

I write thickness first, then width, then length. Even in the case of a wood panel wider than it is long I can tell which way the grain is going that way. Sometimes I write thickness last. I’ll write W and L often as well, at least once on a piece of paper to remind myself that’s the format I’m using.

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splintergroup

4059 posts in 2108 days


#2 posted 09-25-2020 08:20 PM

No standard that I’m aware of, consistency is the key.

Most engineering drawings will/would say “all dimensions are in inches, L x W x T/D unless otherwise noted”
Woodworking plans often have the cut lists that would say “3/4” stock, dimensions are length x width”. Of course in these lists often you will see every dimension shown with the format “3” L x 4” W x 3/4” T”
That “noted” part means that when a dimension is called out in the drawing (like an angle or arrow pointing to a dado), there would be a notation saying what that dimension represents, i.e. 1/4” wide dado, 1/8” deep).

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

6115 posts in 3195 days


#3 posted 09-25-2020 09:15 PM

Not on this forum.

What Loren said.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Sycamoray

23 posts in 126 days


#4 posted 09-25-2020 09:24 PM

I don’t write them on the same line. I draw a little isometric angle thingie and label each leg. Yes, that means I might end up with a lot of little scribbles, but each one is labeled and almost idiot-proof.

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AlaskaGuy

6115 posts in 3195 days


#5 posted 09-25-2020 09:28 PM

Go to the lumber yard and tell the counter person you want 10 4×2 x 10

Or you want 10 2×4 x10

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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SMP

2678 posts in 791 days


#6 posted 09-25-2020 11:58 PM

When ordering stuff from china you are lucky to get the 3 main measurements at all. Sometimes looking at stuff online I am thinking there is no way those are the measurements. Then I look at the Q&A and luckily a lot of times people clear up what the measurements actually are. No standard I have ever seen unless dealing with same company.

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Madmark2

1725 posts in 1474 days


#7 posted 09-26-2020 12:58 AM

I order 5 8’ 2×4s on the materials notation.

Different things have different units.

Rough lumber thickness is in quarters: 4/4, 6/4, 8/4. Board feet is always based on the rough dimension. Widths are usually multiples of 2”.

Finished lumber is given as nominals, 2×4, 2×8, etc. But it is known that the actual dims are 1-1/2” x 3-1/2”. The nominal dim can be used for bf calculations but the actual dims cannot.

Build drawings have the final dims: 5/8” x 3-3/8” x 17-1/2”.

Doors are measured by feet and inches so a 32” wide door is 2-8 (pronounced “two-eight”)

A 36” door is 3-0 (three-oh) and this causes endless confusion as folx think “three-oh” means 30” – which it doesn’t.

Rough and finish lumber tend to have the length as the first digits because that’s how lumber yards sort, by length.

Final dims are generally listed by thickness first, again because this is how stock is sorted.

There are no absolute rules. In England they call a 2×4 a “four by two”. Both are correct.

Board feet math is easy in your head if you know the trick. None of this multiply the inches and divide by 144 crap. Memorize this:

  • 2” = 1/6 board feet per lineal foot
  • 3” = 1/4 bf per lf
  • 4” = 1/3 bf per lf
  • 6” = 1/2 bf per lf
  • 8” = 2/3 bf per lf
  • 10” = 5/6 bf per lf
  • 12” = 1 bf per lf

So an 8’ 2×4 is 2×1/3 bf/lf or 2/3 bf per 8 lf = 16/3 bf or 5 1/3 bf.

A 8’ 1×6 = 8×1/2 bf/lf or 4bf.

A monster beam that is 12’ 4×8 = 4×2/3 bf/lf or 8/3 bf/lf x 12 lf = 96/3 bf or 32bf

It seems complicated but in practice you can measure bf and closely estimate costs in your head faster than the counterman can enter it into the calculator.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

1093 posts in 1065 days


#8 posted 09-26-2020 01:09 AM

In the furniture world most go
W x D x HT. But there is not a standard.

When I design a case piece, I like to make a story board front to back. It will include dimensions, joinery, etc. writing it out for some reason helps me think through the processes needed to make it.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

6115 posts in 3195 days


#9 posted 09-26-2020 01:16 AM



I order 5 8 2×4s on the materials notation.

Different things have different units.

Rough lumber thickness is in quarters: 4/4, 6/4, 8/4. Board feet is always based on the rough dimension.

Finished lumber is given as nominals, 2×4, 2×8, etc. But it is known that the actual dims are 1-1/2” x 3-1/2”.

Build drawings have the final dims: 5/8” x 3-3/8” x 17-1/2”.

Doors are measured by feet and inches so a 32” wide door is 2-8 (pronounced “two-eight”)
A 36” door is 3-0 (three-oh) and this causes endless confusion as folx think “three-oh” means 30” – which it doesn t.

Rough and finish lumber tend to have the length as the first digits because that s how lumber yards sort, by length.

Final dims are generally listed by thickness first, again because this is how stock is sorted.

There are no absolute rules. In England the call a 2×4 a “four by two”. Both are correct.

- Madmark2

England???? Like Quigley said “We already run the misfits outta our country. We sent ‘em back to England.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Madmark2

1725 posts in 1474 days


#10 posted 09-26-2020 01:23 AM

don’t let lbd hear you talk like that! Lol

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

6115 posts in 3195 days


#11 posted 09-26-2020 01:36 AM

Never in my life have I heard a trades person call a 2×4 anything but a 2×4 other than calling it a stud.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Eric

572 posts in 759 days


#12 posted 09-26-2020 02:19 AM

Good comments. I will to try an remember the board foot (mentioned) lumber, yes standard measurements. As it was mentioned doors are in feet, but try to explain the swing to someone can be difficult for them to understand. When I measure windows it always the width first then the height.

-- Eric, building the dream

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Madmark2

1725 posts in 1474 days


#13 posted 09-26-2020 02:54 AM

Windows also have a lite count like 6/1 or 4/4 (six panes over one pane, four panes over four panes).

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

6475 posts in 1460 days


#14 posted 09-26-2020 04:17 AM



No standard that I m aware of, consistency is the key.

- splintergroup

Bruce nailed it. Consistency.

Think it over for a while, you probably have in your mind what you do automatically. Big thing is, make it something that is comfortable, and makes sense to you. Type it out, and make the font huge. Copy it, have it laminated, and hang it on the shop wall. After a while you won’t need to look at it, but for a bit it may not immediately come to mind, you have it pre-written down.

-- Think safe, be safe

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HodgeDianne

5 posts in 36 days


#15 posted 09-26-2020 04:48 AM

I’ve always used the H x W x D order.

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