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Lumber Measurement Illustration by Mike Del Rizzo Most of us buy lumber that is either 'dressed' or 'rough'.Dressed lumber (also called 'surfaced lumber') has been jointed and planed after it has been dried, while rough lumber has been dried but not planed.
Although it's convenient to buy dressed lumber by the piece from your local building supply store (especially if you don't have the equipment to joint and plane the lumber yourself), lumberyards can provide a wider selection of lumber species, greater variety in board widths, lengths and thicknesses, and often at better value.
Lumberyards generally stock rough lumber, but many will dress the lumber to your specifications for a reasonable surcharge.The standard reference for buying lumber is the nominal measurement.'Nominal' refers to the dimension of rough lumber before it is dried and planed into the dressed boards most of us buy.
In nominal measurement the width and thickness of a board is measured in regular fractions such as 1", 1 ½" and 2".Sometimes you will see thickness referred to in 'quarters' - lumber is measured in quarters of an inch; thus 4/4 equals 1", 8/4 equals 2", 6/4 equals 1½", and so on.
When you buy a 1" x 6"...