Sizes-Band Saws and 2x4s; Shop Location

In last issue’s Q&A, a reader had a question about band saw sizes. Another reader has a suggestion to help him remember the sizing — and a question of his own about wood sizing variances on 2×4’s. – Editor

“I was just reading the article in Q&A regarding band saw sizes. In his response, Chris Marshall suggests sizing band saws by the blade length. I don’t know that it’s a practical solution to anything other than buying new blades. To remember the length of the blade for your saw, put a piece of light-colored masking or duct tape on your saw and write the blade length there with a permanent marker (or skip using the tape, since this number is very unlikely to change).

“Tim Inman, in his response, also discussed dimensions of 2x4s. This kind of struck a nerve with me. My understanding (don’t ask where I learned this) is that after the shrinkage, it became customary to trim dimensional lumber to a common standard and round the edges, so each side was reduced up to 1/4″, and a 2×4 is actually 2-1/2″ x 1-1/2”. About a year ago, I measured some lumber at the BORG, and from 2×8 upwards, the large dimension was actually 1″ (not 1/2″) smaller than stated. I asked the ‘associate’ in the lumber department about this, and the best he could come up with was something like, ‘What does it matter; no one needs a board that large.’

“I asked my friend (who was an assistant manager in that very store) about the size of the lumber, and he was embarrassed that this was the case and did not have an explanation of why the larger boards did not follow the usual pattern. Any ideas on that one?

“(I am well aware of undersized plywood and the practice of stretching the raw materials to produce a larger number of sheets of goods and increasing profits.)” – Andy Ziny

A Good Spot for a Shop?

This reader shares his solution to where to add a new shop. – Editor

“I subscribe to the eZine version of your publication. There was an article about adding a shop by using a garage-sized shop addition. I thought some woodworkers might be interested in my shop. It will not work for everyone, but it works for me. I live in Southern California about halfway between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. The wife and I agreed that a shop in the garage would leave two cars with a thick layer of sawdust and eventually, the cars would spend the nights outside because some glue or finish was drying. 
I moved my shop outside, under a roof extension from our home’s west wall. It is not perfect, but it works. The shop is 12 feet by 24 feet. When not in use, tools are covered with tarps. Cabinets are used to store small power and air tools. The bigger tools are all on wheels. Uncover, move, use, re-cover and put away. There are some unique advantages with this scheme. The shop shares the area with orange and tangerine trees. Nothing better than eating a freshly picked, California orange while glue dries. Full moons are particularly enjoyable. A family of owls uses one of the palm trees in the shop area. At night, you can hear them screeching when they leave, hoping to find something to eat. There is a TV. No heat or A/C. The best part is sweeping up the sawdust and putting it in the garden. I call it mulch.
Something to think about.” – Bruce Adams

Summer Woodworking Projects

And a couple of readers had things to share about the summer woodworking projects Rob mentioned in his editorial: a gas grill stand and a picnic table, to be built along with his daughter. – Editor

“‘She and I will begin a joint building.’ Brilliant parenting, absolutely brilliant.” – Rich Flynn

“I can relate to your gas grill stand project. At our last house, we had a built-in (to the ground). Just before the pipe stand rusted out and it was in danger of falling over, I built a stand under it. I didn’t take into consideration the weep hole at the bottom of one side. Heat escaped from that hole, not enough to ignite the stand’s treated pine, but enough to char one board a little more each time I cooked out there. Fortunately for the stand, I’m not an avid gas-griller. In fact, I still have the Sears gas grill I bought when I was in veterinary school at Auburn University! And that was 37 years ago! Sure do enjoy the eZine!” – Jim Randolph, D.V.M.

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