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Bi11Hudson

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O.T., sorta. Still regarding measurements; mostly a rant.

My house is old. Not just old, but old. Built in 1886, best I can figure from the deed and documentation. It consists of 2X4 walls. In the original part, the 2X4 is 2+ by 4+ red pine. In the additions, from before 1913, a 2X4 is 1-7/8 by 3-7/8. In more modern updates, post depression era, a 2X4 is 1-5/8 by 3-5/8. In my era, since 1975, that 2X4 is now 1-1/2 by 3-1/2. When I was updating the electrical system, ca. 1975-6, I had trouble drilling through some of the old lumber. When I started doing carpenter and finish restoration, I had to purchase a (current)2X6, and then plane it down to get a (true)1X5 for an older wall. Since both sides were exposed, shims wouldn't work.

With that in mind, what's wrong with metric measurement for lumber? Except that metric standards are smaller still. An example would be in plywood. Yes, it's still 4 ft by 8 ft. But nominal U.S. standards are getting harder to find. 1/2" CDX, sheating grade, is now sold as 15/32 inch. Close, but it is still 12 millimeter. A fuzz under 15/32. In many cases, it doesn't matter. In my case, I had to compensate when I made some esoteric repair. Another shim... ... I suspect, if truth be known, the really modern 2X4s are metric, just sized to look like 1-1/2 X 3-1/2.

I could rant for hours on the subject of reducing the sizes (and quality) of lumber. But why should I raise my blood pressure worrying about it. Just move to metric sizes, it can't be any more complex than what I deal with in reduced planed sizes. When you are building new, it doesn't come up. Only when a cheap old buzzard like me gets involved.

Bill Hudson​
 
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ah but Bill, the new wood is stronger, so a 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 stud will carry the weight of the old 2x4

Greg
 

Brian Hutchings

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Quote"In a pig's patootie. "

Hello from the old country Bill. That's a very colourful (colorful) phrase and I think I can work out its meaning but could you explain anyway?
Brian
 

uncle harry

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O.T., sorta. Still regarding measurements; mostly a rant.

My house is old. Not just old, but old. Built in 1886, best I can figure from the deed and documentation. It consists of 2X4 walls. In the original part, the 2X4 is 2+ by 4+ red pine. In the additions, from before 1913, a 2X4 is 1-7/8 by 3-7/8. In more modern updates, post depression era, a 2X4 is 1-5/8 by 3-5/8. In my era, since 1975, that 2X4 is now 1-1/2 by 3-1/2. When I was updating the electrical system, ca. 1975-6, I had trouble drilling through some of the old lumber. When I started doing carpenter and finish restoration, I had to purchase a (current)2X6, and then plane it down to get a (true)1X5 for an older wall. Since both sides were exposed, shims wouldn't work.

With that in mind, what's wrong with metric measurement for lumber? Except that metric standards are smaller still. An example would be in plywood. Yes, it's still 4 ft by 8 ft. But nominal U.S. standards are getting harder to find. 1/2" CDX, sheating grade, is now sold as 15/32 inch. Close, but it is still 12 millimeter. A fuzz under 15/32. In many cases, it doesn't matter. In my case, I had to compensate when I made some esoteric repair. Another shim... ... I suspect, if truth be known, the really modern 2X4s are metric, just sized to look like 1-1/2 X 3-1/2.

I could rant for hours on the subject of reducing the sizes (and quality) of lumber. But why should I raise my blood pressure worrying about it. Just move to metric sizes, it can't be any more complex than what I deal with in reduced planed sizes. When you are building new, it doesn't come up. Only when a cheap old buzzard like me gets involved.

Bill Hudson​
I have sympathy since my house was built in 1888 & added to in 1903. I also identify with the "cheap old buzzard" moniker.
 

Bi11Hudson

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In response to "furriners"(Brian), colourful is the correct spelling. The dropping of a character is a matter of what I call "lazy tongue". Shortening of a words spelling to make it easier to say. That's one source of where regional accents come from.
The term "pig's patootie" is one of many expressions using a "socially acceptable" version of bovine excrerment without using the normal "bulls#!t". It's meaning, in this case, is that the contributor was making a facetous comment agreeing with, but dulling the edge, of my rant. But in a way acceptable to monitoring.
The original purpose of this column was to help with a "beginner's" trouble with the inperial versus metric measurement systems. It digressed into a dispute regarding what and why that what was being used. My rant was making a parting shot at that why, and my standing on the subject.
I agree with the original poster, with a few years experience to back up my technique for solving it. By using carpentry references, I could be more clear to "some" machinists. Especially those in a beginners position. Having worked in maintenance my whole life, I have almost as much experience in carpentry as electrical / electronics.
Adding machining as a maintenance man is a difficult profession to describe. When I make a part, it is "to fit", not a designer's replacement part. It usually works, while it may, or may not, be right by the original design. That's where a moniker I sometimes use comes from. I make it to work, not to be right. You may recognise the word... ...

Bill Hudson
Master Artificer, Ret​
 

hman

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As I recall the story, the "original" 2x4 was rough sawn, and actually 2" by 4". Then they started to smooth/plane the surfaces. This reduced the dimensions, to around 1 ⅞ by 3 ⅞, or even 1 ¾ by 3 ¾. How we got to the current size is a mystery to me.

Plumbing is another example of nominal sizes not agreeing with actual. There's absolutely no dimension of ½" anywhere on or around nominal ½" pipe. As I recall, pipe was originally sized by its internal diameter. But early pipes were pretty thick walled, and the OD of "½ inch" pipe was what it is today, with fittings' IDs sized accordingly. As better pipe materials became available, the OD was kept the same (for backwards compatibility), but the ID was increased by having thinner walls.

[PS - I seem to recall that European pipe fittings used the ISO system. Don't recall how nominal and actual sized compared. Perhaps our cousins from across the pond would care to offer some enlightenment.]

I do agree that the metric system is worth adopting. But I also see that it will be a tough and long-winded transition, given the huge installed base of "stuff" that we have. Bill Hudson and Uncle Harry are just two examples of the gyrations and inconvenience of changing standards, that are bound to become almost universal.
 

Bi11Hudson

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This thread seems to have missed that left at Albequerque. I won't try to restore it... ... It seems to have a mind of it's own. My father was a timber man in the early depression years. Working in a sawmill much of the time. What he taught me about lumber... , well now-a-days what is sold for "A" rate material, was in his day, culls. A knothole did't exist, much less a scrap of bark. That fed the fire at the boiler house.

To respond to the above comment; In the late 19th century, lumber was cut such that a 2X4 was a "little" full, so that after the planer mill, it was a true 2" X 4". As time wore on, it was cut to the finished size and then milled when needed. Then the costs kept increasing so the lumber was reduced in size to try to compensate. Follow the money...

I would remind you that Birmingham, Ala. did not exist in 1870. It is a city that arose where two railroads crossed. The whys and wherefores of the history of the area have been dug through and (mis)quoted for years. One has to piece together many tidbits of information to make sense of it. The more recent histories (since 1945) are left of the mark by a considerable amount.

That said, my house was built with cut (square) nails, when this area just opened up. Lumber sizes were of an early transition from balloon construction to early stud wall construction. I have collected many books on the subject of residential construction for the simple reason of understanding what I was cutting into. That was important, considering the changes in lumber sizes over nearly 100 years.

The references to pipe sizes I will buy, until proven wrong. Not very likely, it sounds good to me. But for lumber sizes, I have the word of many old timers in the business. Many older than Pop, and that's going some. (1906)

The bottom line is that I trust my structures to support the weight of my "small" machines. I certainly wouldn't put them in a more modern building. I would want 4 inches(or more) of concrete below them. I was employed by a pipe foundry in the '70s where the shops were floored with wood a foot thick. It was devised during the first world war to fabricate munitions. The idea that if something was dropped, it wouldn't spark.

The building is long gone, originating in 1886, by the initials scratched in the original footings. Such lumber doesn't exist these days, although a stand of it was found on an Army base a few miles east of here. But is guarded by an old man with a shotgun to prevent cutting. The floor of the "shell shop" was made of short pieces about 6X6 inches tampted into the red clay of the area. Machines were bolted down with molten lead in drilled holes with the machines fitted over. But then, they were larger machines. Lathes with ways 20 feet long, and the ungodly swing of 5 feet. Just a little above jeweler's work, they were. Maybe came from a shipyard, who knows?

And as a parting shot, I didn't miss that left in Albequerque. I was paying attention when I was there in 1969, on old US Rt 66. I-40 was being graded, but traffic was still on Rt 66. All I remember about that trip was the loss of a bearing in my alternator, no money, and a limit on time. So, I fixed the bearing on the side of the road. That makes my rambling machinery related, I guess.
 

P. Waller

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Ok thank you. Exactly what i wanted to hear. I still have my machines in storage but ik the SB lathe is dials and my mill does have read out.
You still don't get it, I suspect that you have no method of measuring a diameter of .8661417 +.00000001/ -.00000000", if you can not measure it you can not do it.
Most drawings made by a well schooled engineer will have dimensions like so, in inches for example 1.000" will tell you that the part must be within .000", there may be a callout of +-.0005 which is .001" overall. A metric drawing will have a dimension such as 22.00 MM.
If you receive a drawing with all inch dimensions to 4 decimal places or a metric drawing with all dimensions to 3 decimal places, run away.
 

Brian Hutchings

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Many thanks for the 'patootie' explanation Bill, I was nearly right in my guess as to what it was but I thought it was where it came out of rather than what came out!
I have to disagree about "colour or color" though. I have an English Patent dated 1858 that states that the Patent copy drawings are "not colored"
Apparantlly, some idiot in Victorian times thought that the English language would be more elegant if it was more like French, soo he went about adding totally unnecessary letters. The original spellings were identical to the American ones because they were originally English brought over by settlers.
In response to the query about European plumbing fittings by 'hman', yes, they are an ISO standard but most European countries use British Standard Pipe Threads but they don't call it that!
If English plumbers need to do work on older houses they take a trip to France, Belgium or The Netherlands (Holland) and get what they need at much reduced prices!
Brian
 

Bi11Hudson

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Brian;
Again I will say you are correct. It is where it comes from, not what comes out. In this reference though, it is a crude but reasonably polite way of saying the person is full of it.
 
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