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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Because that's the nominal size, which hasn't actually been 2x4 inches since IIRC pre World War II. When actually building something, most of the time you don't actually want a 2x4 to be 2x4, since then you'd need a bigger than 2x4 inch hole for it.
    I fail to see the problem. I'm assuming that the holes are designed around the standard lumber size. Making the standard lumber size the same as what it's named for would make the standard hole size bigger by default. Its not like there are natural construction holes these naturally fit into. It's all made by design. So saying, "the system we made specifically for it would be different if we made it specifically for slightly larger than it" is correct, yes, but also kind of meaningless.
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I fail to see the problem. I'm assuming that the holes are designed around the standard lumber size. Making the standard lumber size the same as what it's named for would make the standard hole size bigger by default. Its not like there are natural construction holes these naturally fit into. It's all made by design. So saying, "the system we made specifically for it would be different if we made it specifically for slightly larger than it" is correct, yes, but also kind of meaningless.
    Concrete example: I have a 4 inch gap I need to build a block to fill. It's probably not exactly four inches. If my 2x4s are exactly 2x4, then if that gap is a hair under 4 inches, I have to rip one of those boards. That in turn requires a large tablesaw, is a dangerous and fiddly operation requiring additional measurements. If my 2x4s are under nominal, I need to stick a shim in the hole to fill the gap, which is much easier to do fine adjustments for. Now imagine doing layout, roughly 4 inch gaps will be a lot more common than roughly 4/12 inch gaps.

    Sure, one could do layout so that your gaps would tend to end up at 4 1/2 inch thickness. This will tend to mean dealing with lots of stupid things like 11 3/4 inch lengths. In return I get what? The ability to have 2x4s that are actually supposedly 2x4. The only person this could possibly help is somebody who has never dealt with lumbar before. Except it only really helps them if they designed something assuming that you could just take a 2x4, nail it to another one and get something exactly 4x4 inches.

    And that's a bad habit that will screw them over very quickly, regardless of the nominal thickness. If you're going to be successful working in wood in any capacity, you need to know not to count on across-grain thickness being stable, because it changes. Every time you cut the board longways, you will relieve internal stresses, causing the wood to warp and change shape. Every time the humidity changes, the wood will change size, mostly by getting thicker not longer. If you need exactly four inches thick, you need to spend a lot of work getting that, probably over the course of days as you allow the wood to relax after successive cuts. Even that may not be enough, I had a box lid pick up a substantial warp after being allowed to dry for more than a month. So whatever nominal thickness the mill cuts to is not the one you will get. I don't count on a 2x4 being close enough to 1.5 x 3.5 inches to be remotely reliable as a measurement, if I need a piece of wood of exactly that, or any other measurement, I'll get a bigger one and cut it to that size.
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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Now imagine doing layout, roughly 4 inch gaps will be a lot more common than roughly 4/12 inch gaps.
    Uh why? Wouldn't that entirely depend on the size of whatever it is you're making?

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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    Uh why? Wouldn't that entirely depend on the size of whatever it is you're making?
    Because one generally designs things to be in terms of whole feet and inches, rather than ten feet, 11 3/4 inches.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Concrete example: I have a 4 inch gap I need to build a block to fill. It's probably not exactly four inches. If my 2x4s are exactly 2x4, then if that gap is a hair under 4 inches, I have to rip one of those boards. That in turn requires a large tablesaw
    Or a belt sander. Or a random orbit sander and some patience. Or a hand plane, if you're into the whole old-school thing.

    Also, are all gaps 4 inches? You happen to have an instance that coincidentally fits what is being talked about. Is that standard, or lucky?
    Last edited by Peelee; 2017-08-18 at 03:42 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post

    You mean 3' 3 5/8" heavy? That's really easy to cut. Whereas .28084 is very difficult. Again imperial is much easier to subdivide. Because it's base 12, base 8, and base 16s. Seriously this is not hard to understand.

    Also you're missing the point again, you don't need as many boards that are 3' 3 5/8" heavy on a job, you need a bunch that are one foot or two foot, or 16".



    That doesn't get you within an 1/8th bud. So whatever you'd be making would be completely messed up. Way worse if you're building a cabinet or furniture. Where you have to have things within a sixteenth.



    Fractions are much easier to use when laying things out than decimals are. That's why people use them in carpentry. And no, they aren't equally easy, because people who are trained to use tenths of a foot still switch over. Why are you guys ignoring half of what the only person here who actually does this sort of thing for a living is saying, and then inserting your own stuff.

    Yes, it's possible to divide ten into thirds. But it's really difficult to measure .3333333333333333333 on a fricking tape. Whereas measuring 1/4 inch, or 3" on a tape is really fast, and way more accurate. That would be why people that use that.
    Frankly, if you need more accuracy than a millimeter, which the vast majority of rulers and tape measures I've seen have, then you need more accuracy than Imperial allows unless you artificially force things into to your preferred system. Your examples are being intentionally stupid at this point.
    And I should have been clearer, you often buy boards that are measured in inches (I want 20 meters of 2x4), for whatever reason, but the actual cutting tends to be done in metric. Somehow, things get built just fine over here too.
    Last edited by BWR; 2017-08-18 at 03:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Let me rephrase my complaint.

    Why's it called a 2x4?
    The real reason is that they cut it to 2" x 4" right after felling the tree, and shrinkage occurs. You'd almost certainly have the same issue (with softwoods like pine) if it was 5cm x 10cm.

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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    Frankly, if you need more accuracy than a millimeter, which the vast majority of rulers and tape measures I've seen have, then you need more accuracy than Imperial allows unless you artificially force things into to your preferred system. Your examples are being intentionally stupid at this point.
    And I should have been clearer, you often buy boards that are measured in inches (I want 20 meters of 2x4), for whatever reason, but the actual cutting tends to be done in metric. Somehow, things get built just fine over here too.
    I'm not at all saying you can't build things using metric. I'm saying that there are certain advantages to a system that's base 12. the same reason as boards are sold in 16 foot lengths rather than 20 foot lengths. .

    Mostly what I'm trying to argue against is the idea that switching to metric will be universally equally good for everybody. Which isn't exactly true everything is always more complex than that. And again they're definitely certain advantages for using Imperial, a quick look at some online forums reveals that a lot of the English-speaking world professional carpenters use Imperial rather than metric even though those countries have adopted metric probably long before those carpenters were born. Now is there some aspect of inertia in the trades that's responsible for that, almost certainly some part of that is due to that but I don't think you could say all of it is at least not with any real degree of confidence.
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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Or a belt sander. Or a random orbit sander and some patience. Or a hand plane, if you're into the whole old-school thing.
    Yeah that's fine if you're a hobbyist but if you're a professional and you take out an orbit sander or a belt sander instead of ripping a board you would be laid off so fast it wouldn't even be funny. I don't even want to know what would happen if you took out a hand plane.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Also, are all gaps 4 inches? You happen to have an instance that coincidentally fits what is being talked about. Is that standard, or lucky?
    There's more to do with standard then luck there. Mostly because two and four fit very well into feet or any other measurement that you're going to have again you're seeing advantage of being able to easily subdivide things.

    As far as your two-by-fours being smaller generally it's to give you about a half inch of play they're almost always exactly a half inch smaller. Which again is what you would need if you had a 2 inch Gap in concrete and you were filling it with the short side of a two by four. Although in that situation you might need to make a rip anyways long ways.

    Also it's important to avoid cutting boards as much as possible because cutting them makes them less square less accurate and ****tier to use. Like even as someone who does a lot of cutting it's not really possible to make it so that you have a rip that's exactly square. I mean maybe with a table saw but I do a lot of most often the feel that we don't have the advantage of having table saws.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    The real reason is that they cut it to 2" x 4" right after felling the tree, and shrinkage occurs. You'd almost certainly have the same issue (with softwoods like pine) if it was 5cm x 10cm.
    That may have been the real reason initially but if it was just shrinkage you wouldn't get exactly equally 1/2 in shrinkage the whole time and that's what you have on every piece of 2 by 4. That's one and a half by three and a half. I mean if it wasn't exactly like that you have to rip a lot of boards and you'd never be able to lay anything out.
    Last edited by AMFV; 2017-08-18 at 04:22 PM.

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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Or a belt sander. Or a random orbit sander and some patience. Or a hand plane, if you're into the whole old-school thing.

    Also, are all gaps 4 inches? You happen to have an instance that coincidentally fits what is being talked about. Is that standard, or lucky?
    Serious question, have you built anything out of wood? I have on occasion, and if your design is at all reasonably done, the difference between nominal and actual width of the lumber is utterly irrelevant 99% of the time.

    When it is - say you have a post that needs to come through a floor or something, you basically have two choices.
    1) Start with something too big and make it smaller.
    2) Start with something too small, and make it larger.

    Now I can make the hole any dimension I want, and if I need a really tight fit I'll need to measure it to the post no matter what, because lumber just isn't cut precisely enough to saw a hole and hope a board off the pile will actually fit it well. But if I just need the thing to go through the hole, and would like to be able to easily adjust its angle (because say it needs to connect to a rafter 12 feet above the floor) it's much easier to have a post that fits the hole easily. So I want to cut my hole a bit big, and if this is something still fairly unprecise, I'd like to be able to get away with just cutting a hole and dropping a post in it, not measure every hole to every post.

    So I go out and grab me a nice 4x4. If it's actually 4 inches on a side, I'll need to do a bunch of annoying calculations when cutting the hole to give myself enough play. This effects about 4 different cuts, and can be easy to goof up. If it's 3 1/2 inches on a side, I just need a hole 4 inches on a side and there's no screwing around 1/4 inch extra allowances everywhere. It also means that if I've got two of these posts, and I want to attach a ceiling between them, I'm pretty sure that an 8 foot wide piece of plywood will fit between them if I allowed for 8 feet between them. The extra is easy to make up using a couple of shims, and if one wants it to look all fancy afterwards, that's what trim boards are for.

    The other way you can end up with a gap is that your original rough measurements are off, and you've gotta stick something in there to make the thing fit together. In this case the hole's of essentially random size, and it doesn't really matter whether what thickness you're starting with. You just need something to fill in the gap. So basically either you end up designing things with lots of stupid measurements, or there's no particular reason to favor one size over the other.

    (This is also a very weird way to build something. One is much better off simply putting in the verticals first, then cutting the flooring around them. In which case it's still very handy to have them a bit small, because that means things tend to fit when cut to the desired thickness, rather than not. And it's still easier to have this adjustment pre-done in the dimension of the lumber than it is by downscaling everything around them.)

    There are cases where you really need this bit of wood to be extremely tight fitting and precise (say mortise and tenon construction), but if you need that kind of precision you'll need to cut it to fit anyway. Nothing that comes from the mill is going to be close enough. Which is why I said if your design will fail if you bought 4x4s not realizing they weren't actually four inches a side, you were probably going to have a really bad day already.

    (I'd be very surprised if the difference between nominal and actual comes from wood shrinkage. It's too precise, and cutting wood when it's wet enough to shrink that much is a good way to end up with really terribly warped and probably cracked boards, assuming you could even find a tree that would shrink from a 2 inch board to a 1.5 inch board. You gotta let that stuff dry first. Plus, as I said, early in the 20th century 2x4s were actually 2x4, so this could be basically adjusted for. People stopped doing this, and since construction continued to work just fine, it seems to be either irrelevant or a change for the better. )
    Last edited by warty goblin; 2017-08-18 at 04:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Well if you need a really tight you could just cut it a little small and then use a a hammer to make it fit. So for like your notional 2 x 4, you could cut a hole 1 1/2 in light by 3 and 1/2 inch light.

    Course that wouldn't work for a lot of residential applications but it's a lot faster than cutting it to fit.
    Last edited by AMFV; 2017-08-18 at 05:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    The real reason is that they cut it to 2" x 4" right after felling the tree, and shrinkage occurs. You'd almost certainly have the same issue (with softwoods like pine) if it was 5cm x 10cm.
    Oh, I know. I just want the name to reflect the size. If its not 2"x4", don't call it 2x4.

    I have thevsame issue with quarter/half pound burgers. That one especially because they shove as much water as they can in the meat. At least the mills make an honest effort.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2017-08-18 at 05:32 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Oh, I know. I just want the name to reflect the size. If its not 2"x4", don't call it 2x4.
    It's not from shrinkage, mills don't cut their lumber green. They're made that size deliberately. Probably in part because it's a much more convenient size than actually 2x4.

    I have thevsame issue with quarter/half pound burgers. That one especially because they shove as much water as they can in the meat. At least the mills make an honest effort.
    It's really the only sensible way to measure hamburger, because final weight depends substantially on cooking method and duration. Tell a kitchen staff that they need to deal with incrementally sized burgers for everything from rare to super well done to that inevitable person who thinks medium means well done and sends the damn thing back three times, and they'll laugh in your face.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    It's not from shrinkage, mills don't cut their lumber green. They're made that size deliberately. Probably in part because it's a much more convenient size than actually 2x4.


    It's really the only sensible way to measure hamburger, because final weight depends substantially on cooking method and duration. Tell a kitchen staff that they need to deal with incrementally sized burgers for everything from rare to super well done to that inevitable person who thinks medium means well done and sends the damn thing back three times, and they'll laugh in your face.
    A.) Then dont call it 2x4. Call it what it actually is. Not hard.

    2.) The vast majority of burger places don't cook to order. You get it medium well. End of story. The burgers are identical, the cooking is identical, the final weight is identical.

    Also, rare?!? Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a place that'll cook your burger rare, even at placed that do cook to order? It's damn near impossible, unless the cook is willing to make an exception and ignore restaurant policy, which I can attest is itself a fairly uncommon thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    A.) Then dont call it 2x4. Call it what it actually is. Not hard.
    For most things nominal size is necessarily and beneficially different than actually size. If my pipe has an exterior diameter of an inch, the elbow piece needs to have an internal diameter very slightly greater than one inch, because an actual one inch internal diameter elbow won't fit and will be entirely useless. Are we supposed to say that this requires a 1 and 1/512th inch fitting now?

    Because there's a good bit of wiggle room in the sort of construction where one makes substantial use of 2x4s, the nominal vs. actual is a fairly large difference. If this caused actual problems for building things, you'd think somebody would have fixed it by now. As it is, it's either a difference that is mostly irrelevant and occasionally very handy. Changing either the board or the term for the sake of some weird measurement purity would be a lot of pointless and wasted work.

    2.) The vast majority of burger places don't cook to order. You get it medium well. End of story. The burgers are identical, the cooking is identical, the final weight is identical.

    Also, rare?!? Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a place that'll cook your burger rare, even at placed that do cook to order? It's damn near impossible, unless the cook is willing to make an exception and ignore restaurant policy, which I can attest is itself a fairly uncommon thing.
    If I'm gonna get a burger, there's no way in hell I'm going someplace that won't serve it medium rare. And if I get salmon, I'm definitely not ordering that anywhere above rare. Mind, I eat hamburgers all of maybe twice a year, and salmon maybe once.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    For most things nominal size is necessarily and beneficially different than actually size. If my pipe has an exterior diameter of an inch, the elbow piece needs to have an internal diameter very slightly greater than one inch, because an actual one inch internal diameter elbow won't fit and will be entirely useless. Are we supposed to say that this requires a 1 and 1/512th inch fitting now?
    So you want to claim that my argument is that if a number is relatively close to another number on any given scale of arbitrary magnitude, we should round it. Fun fact, the radius of the Earth is about 1000 miles (because 3959 is closer to 1000 than 10000, obviously).

    Now, if we go the non-stupid route, then rounding to the nearest eighth of an inch sounds fine, yes?
    Last edited by Peelee; 2017-08-18 at 08:19 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    So by your argument, if a number is relatively close to another number on any given scale of arbitrary magnitude, we should round it. Fun fact, the radius of the Earth is about 1000 miles (because 3959 is closer to 1000 than 10000, obviously).

    Now, if we go the non-stupid route, then rounding to the nearest eighth of an inch sounds fine, yes?
    If I'm doing Fermi estimation, I'll happily round the earth's radius to 1000 miles. If I need to know roughly how far something is falling after a second I will use 10 meters per second squared. And if I need a board that is precisely 2 by 4 inches I will measure and cut a board that is precisely 2 by 4 inches. There are places in carpentry where I don't care about an eighth of an inch, and places where I care a lot about 1/64th inch, it just depends what I'm doing.


    The level and sort of precision required depends entirely on the problem being considered. 2x4 is a sensible term that has entirely sufficient precision for how they are actually used. And convincing people to add six syllables to a completely clear and well understood name is a battle that's both doomed and pointless.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    A.) Then dont call it 2x4. Call it what it actually is. Not hard.

    Don't look at the relationship between "nominal" and actual pipe size then, as a Journeyman plumber once told an Engineer customer who kept asking about it.

    Engineer: "What size is this?"

    Plumber: '3/4"'

    Engineer:
    *measures with a caliper*
    "No it isn't"

    Plumber: 'It's the nominal size'

    *minutes of "discussion" follow*

    Plumber:
    *sigh* '
    'It's called that as a trade secret, just to confuse you.

    Engineer:
    "AHA!"
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    Default Re: Why are physicians generally huge jerks?

    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post
    I'm not at all saying you can't build things using metric. I'm saying that there are certain advantages to a system that's base 12. the same reason as boards are sold in 16 foot lengths rather than 20 foot lengths.
    There certainly is an advantage to using multiple of 12 as they're divisible by 2, 3, 4 and 6. But I don't see why you'd need to pick a specific base for that.

    a quick look at some online forums reveals that a lot of the English-speaking world professional carpenters use Imperial rather than metric even though those countries have adopted metric probably long before those carpenters were born. Now is there some aspect of inertia in the trades that's responsible for that, almost certainly some part of that is due to that but I don't think you could say all of it is at least not with any real degree of confidence.
    We make land vehicles slightly larger than two horse ass put alongside each other since the roman empire for the sole reason the romans built their roads based on that width for their chariots pulled by two horses. The length and height are allowed a lot more variation. I would say it's about 1/4 inertia, 3/4 having to rebuild the entire infrastructure with a new standard.
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