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back to article Pints all round as Register Special Projects hacks hack off feet

It's official: El Reg's Special Projects Bureau will henceforth be operating almost exclusively in SI units. Yup, it's pints all round today as our imperial versus metric poll found readers overwhelmingly in favour of permanently chopping off feet and consigning quarts and ounces to the dustbin of history. No less than 1,773 of …

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But but but

[insert usual protest at the lack of jubs, elephants per second and Waleses]

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four by two?

Even four by two isn't 4 inches by 2 inches!

I would expect The Reg to continue using the least appropriate unit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: four by two?

Depends how pissed the sawing individual and their saw is! ;)

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Boffin

Re: four by two?

The correct unit in this case is just a length of clue by four.

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Flame

Re: four by two? 101.6 by 50.8.

101.6 by 50.8.

That's the un-planed size. So the "real" size is always significantly smaller.

It's a minefield buying wood. Unless it's for the stove.

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Coat

Re: four by two?

is commonly used in metric countries too.

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Facepalm

Re: four by two? - - WRONG!

Of course, it's only square, un-hip, old fashioned 'British Empire' places such as the UK and Australia that use "four by two" anyway.

Cool, more with-it places, usually those on the western side of the Atlantic, would only ever say "two by four".

And if you're a Woodie, then you'd never assume you'd be getting more than 45 x 95mm--err I mean 95 x 45mm--anyway! Even less if the timber is properly/finely dressed (not that IT types would ever want to know anything about such an erudite subject of course)!

;-)

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Re: four by two?

On an archaeological project in Israel, we needed wood to build screens (sifters to you Brits) and discovered that "1X4"s and "2X4"s (in the US the smaller number is listed first) were actually full sized rather than nominal. Here in the US the cross section of a "nominal" 2X4 is slightly less than two-thirds of the area of a fully dimensioned piece. Our Israeli screens actually were deeper than the equivalent US version built from "nominal" lumber. We had to sand the wood since it was all rough sawn, but that doesn't make that much of a change in dimension.

The "explanation" usually given for the undersized lumber is that smoothing lumber to S4S requires removing 1/2 an inch in width and 1/4 inch in thickness. Humbug, I think. The parent "rough-sawn" pieces were under-sized to begin with.

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Re: four by two?

Sifter???? The only time I would use that term is in "sugar-sifter", a sort of large salt-cellar for sugar, or in the context of sifting flour (to get the lumps out). Why would you need 2x4 (or 4x2) to make something to sift sugar/flour? Do you perhaps mean 'sieve'? ("Two peoples separated by a common language"....)

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Re: four by two?

"three metres of four-by-two"

Oh God! We are doomed!

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I remember sifting ... (was: Re: four by two?)

... boat-loads of soil at various digs between Yorkshire & the Antonine Wall on numerous weekends during my O & A-level studies. We used sifters, not sieves, and called ourselves "shifters & sifters".

Perhaps "sieve" is a Welsh thing? (Yes, I'm assuming, but given the handle ...)

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Re: four by two?

Here in the USofA, 2x4s are uniformly 1.5x3.5 inches, in many standard lengths. These days. I rarely reference Wiki, but see their article on "Lumber" for a fairly decent, if rough & minimal, overview.

For example, this house is framed with standard 2x4 wall studs & attendant plates, sills & other crap that makes for a nice, tidy, square-cornered, box shaped rooms, with 8-foot ceilings, and convenient wall lengths with 16-inch on center studs that minimizes the number of 4x8 sheets of sheet-rock and insulation waste. Except here in the office/attic/dormers/shed-dormers space, which was a bitch to insulate, rock & mud. I still have nightmares ;-)

On the other hand, the house my Great Grandfather built (1880s) is built from hand hewn Redwood timbers, like a barn. No two are alike. Most are between 6.5" and 8" square. The spaces between them were filled in with non-structural boards split from logs, inside is lath & plaster, outside is hand-split redwood shakes. There isn't a 90 degree corner in the place. Later, in the 1920s, a "modern" addition was built with full dimensional lumber. In other words, real 2"x4" and 4"x4" and 2"x6" boards (etc.). In the 1970s, my father & I added yet more floor space with the above mentioned "modern" 2x4s. Today, repairing the old girl is an exercise in "measure all angles & distances four times, draw it out, double check it in ACad[tm] (if I have that section in the computer yet), spill a drop to $DEITY, and hopefully cut once".

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FAIL

Back when an inch was an inch

We had to repair the porch of our 1896 house---it was worn badly by a century of folks tramping in and out. So, it being made of 1" tongue & groove, the builder went out and bought some more. You can probably see this coming: looked at edge-on, the profile of the floor is now roughly

------------- \_______________/---------------

---------------------------------------------------------

due to the fact that for modern timber, 1" nominal (isn't that a lovely phrase?) is actually 3/4". Shoulda shimmed it before installing, but who knew?

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Re: Back when an inch was an inch

Next time, ask. There is a reason that I have a couple sizes of planer ...

Probably the most important tip I can give to wannabe DIY folks: IF YOU DON'T FUCKING ALREADY KNOW HOW, ASK A PROFESSIONAL before you fucking cock up the entire project!

As with IT, the devil is in the details ...

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This post has been deleted by its author

WTF?

Re: four by two?

> "three metres of four-by-two"

> Oh God! We are doomed!

That's nothing. Years back I did some work for a company that imported rock, by container, to make headstones and like out of.

It was rated in something like "kilograms per square inch" for the container, thoroughly mixing imperial and metric...

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Pirate

Re: four by two?

Should probably just have used some Plasterboard, instead of sheets of rock...

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Re: four by two?

@Pen-y-gors @Marshalltown I think you really mean a riddle.

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Pint

I shall celebrate with

I shall celebrate with multiple 91.44cm of ale

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Re: I shall celebrate with

So not just an unnecessarily accurate metric conversion, but also the wrong unit for the dimension involved anyway. Nice.

P.S. Ignoring the mixture of units, "an eight by four sheet of 20mm MDF" and "three metres of four-by-two", would translate more to an 8km jaunt for a 2.5m by 1.2m slab of 20mm MDF, and three metres of 100x50mm, which are all perfectly manageable units, within the accuracy of wood-cutting (which is generally atrocious anyway), and actually used just as much, if not a lot more than "2 by 4" by anyone in the trade nowadays.

P.P.S. if you really want to get finicky, you'd have to ask for 13/16ths MDF, which is just as silly as stating metric conversions to hundredths of millimetres for a 2.5m bit of wood.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I shall celebrate with

"So not just an unnecessarily accurate metric conversion, but also the wrong unit for the dimension involved anyway. Nice."

It is what we, on my planet, call "humour", at a guess. In the UK, we still have a thing call "a yard of ale", beloved of drunken stag night pub crawls and the like. Google it.

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Re: I shall celebrate with

He's a bleeding SI goon! What did you expect? Possibly the best reason of all to tell them to sod off regardless of poll results is that none of them have a sense of humor (or should that be humour?).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I shall celebrate with

OI, I am the AC who told him to piss off, and I am a bleedin' SI goon too, so watch it, matey. I'll have you know that I actually laughed in public, once.

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Anonymous Coward

So you will be talking jubbly goodness in cm

112cm DD lacks the punch of 44 DD

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This post has been deleted by its author

Happy

but

it sounds so much bigger so it can't be all bad.

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Anonymous Coward

"three metres of four-by-two"

Think that is a perfectly ok description as seem to recall a ruling that "four-by-two" was considered to be descriptive name of the type of wood (and no-one really expected it to be exactly 4" x 2") which was sold by length - and it was the length that was controlled by weights and measures legislation and so had to be expressed in metres.

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4x2

My understanding was that the 'raw - 4x2' size was the dimensions for sawn timber and if you went for the planed you would lose a little in size.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 4x2

+/10% depending on where you're getting it from and how good (or caring) the operator is!

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"three metres of four-by-two"

Most places I buy timber (in the UK) sell it by the metric foot, i.e. 0.9 M, 1.2 M, 1.5 M, etc. Therefore 'three metres' would be perfectly acceptable, but any other whole number of metres not divisible by 0.3 would not.

Seems like a good compromise for the Imperial apologists.

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Re: "three metres of four-by-two"

I shall now be basing all my measurements on the "metric foot", utter brilliance!

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Pint

Re: 4x2

A 2x4 is actually 1-5/8" x 3.5" - err, 41.28mm x 88.9 mm.

And the last 4x8 x 20mm sheet of MDF I bought wasn't 48" wide either. I don't recall the exact width, but I do believe it was slightly larger.

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Happy

Perfectly so.

Only recently, I had cause to measure and mark the ends of a 5M-long sling of timber. The sling was nominally marked 4" x 2" but I measured and end-marked each length of timber with a marker pen in millimeters, for example '5045' or '5020' etc. It's mm because that's what the standard says and what the building industry uses here in Australia.

Technically--a la standard--this size would be 100 x 50 x 5000mm (unseasoned), 90 x 45 x 5000mm (dressed/finished), but even the dumbest would instantly know what '4 x 2 x 5000' or '4 x 2 x 5M' would mean. As with anyone with the vaguest clue about the subject, I'd interchange any of these terms without a second thought.

BTW, a 'sling' is the term used for bundle of timber strapped together, the sort one often sees on the back of trucks etc.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Interesting...

I didn't know you Limeys said 4x2 and 8x4. Us 'Muricans say it the other way 2x4 and 4x8.

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Re: Interesting...

It's the same with sheet film formats for view cameras, Yanks say 4 x 5 and Brits say 5 x 4 (inches of course), same for 10 x 8, 7 x 5, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Please rotate 90 degrees before exporting.

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Boffin

Re: Interesting...

Actually, 2x4 is not the same as 4x2. You need a left-handed saw to work with 2x4; right-handed for 4x2. Of course, most pros will have both, but for the money-conscious DIY enthusiast it's a bit of a pain at times. That's why the UK officially standardized on 4x2 after the B&Q scandal of 1987, although you can still find the occasional timber yard willing to sell you 2x4 "under the counter".

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@Eddie Edwards (was: Re: Interesting...)

"Actually, 2x4 is not the same as 4x2. You need a left-handed saw to work with 2x4; right-handed for 4x2."

The exact opposite in Australia & NZ, of course. Same for reverse muffler bearings (chromed, or otherwise). I won't get into Melbourne Turned threads .. nobody can figure 'em out. I usually use an inverse angle grinder to remove 'em ... nearly any fast-ener is better & safer.

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Anonymous Coward

missed the poll

But surprised to see that height and weight are also not preferred exceptions to the metric rule - even my kids give their height and weight in feet/inches and stones/pounds - as does everybody else I know.

On the same note, how many people actually know or state their clothes sizes (waist/chest/inside leg, etc) in cm? Again, none that I know.

Oh and collar sizes too. :-)

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Re: missed the poll

But surprised to see that height and weight are also not preferred exceptions to the metric rule - even my kids give their height and weight in feet/inches and stones/pounds - as does everybody else I know.

I don't. I try to use metric as much as possible these days. No idea what my weight is in either measure, but I've known for years that I'm 178cm tall.

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Re: missed the poll

I'm kind of half and half on this due to metric being pushed in school when I grew up. I prefer people's height in feet and inches, but work weight in kilos almost exclusively. In fact I struggle to remember how much stones and ounces are in any meaningful terms.

I think measurements of people mostly stick with the old imperial measurements because the numbers are easier to visualise, eg I can picture a man who is 5"6' but I struggle with 178cm. Maybe if Decimetres had been clearly labelled as one of our options when the metric conversion was on the go.

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Re: missed the poll

"how many people actually know or state their clothes sizes (waist/chest/inside leg, etc) in cm?"

My wife and daughter for two - they can convert from any sizing system to their own dimensions in a couple microseconds.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: missed the poll

Well all my clothes tend to have size 'M' in them, whatever that is

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Headmaster

Re: missed the poll

@auburnman

"...a man who is 5"6'..."

Do you really mean 5'6"? As 6'5" is 196 cm.

Go and (re)watch This is Spinal Tap (1984) for the consequences of mixing up minutes and seconds symbols.

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Re: missed the poll

OK, I can see that. Over here, we would describe this person as being "one metre 78", which may roll off the tongue a bit easier.

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Silver badge

Re: missed the poll

You're not as confused as him - it's not your job to be as confused as him

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Boffin

Re: missed the poll

"Well all my clothes tend to have size 'M' in them, whatever that is"

That would size 1,000 if you're in Imperial clothing, but size 1,000,000 in SI garb.

Glad to be of help.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: missed the poll

Actually, I express my height and weight in both as needed, depending on who I am talking to. My Nordic SO finds the whole concept of inches baffling, too, which is a good incentive to be able to switch at will.

That said, I do generally buy clothes in the UK, so I look for 44 inch chest rather than 112cm or whatever, and have to use google or similar as an ad-hoc unit converter otherwise. I suspect that is just because I find clothing sizes confusing.. As for collar sizes.. wot? They always confuse me, as the thickness of your neck seems loosely coupled with how long your torso is, or how wide your shoulders, so I often have to get people to measure me, if I am shirt shopping and they size them like that..

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Keeping the SO baffled

... is not a bad idea. Keeps the interest y'know.

As regards collar sizes, I have long suspected that they are "nominal." I find that while my measured collar size is 19 inches, the "19 inch" size in a shirt collar when buttoned would cause strangulation.

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