Why You Should NEVER Use 2x4s for Furniture Woodworking!
Why You Should NEVER Use 2x4s for Furniture Woodworking!
Working with softwood lumber in terms of furniture making items can be a challenge and using wet softwood even more so, wet wood shrinks sometimes warps and bends, frequently cracks and which makes wood joinery a challenge, especially for things like pocket holes or other mechanical fasteners, better solutions are mortise and tenon or larger dowels and sometimes even large loose tenon joinery might work. The way lumber prices are, furniture makers are selecting softwoods more and more, but it may not be the best choice!
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Woodworking with Softwoods: https://youtu.be/Y87hFgZI0MU
– Woodworking with Plywood – What You Need to Know! https://youtu.be/MYxgo4ULPr8
– How to Save on Lumber / Buying Wood https://youtu.be/ekr2OcvEF6E
– Tree Felling & Milling My Own Lumber https://youtu.be/4Be8rq4na9E
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You missed the advantage of construction lumber, it’s readily available in specific sizes, making it somewhat easier to calculate what you need. Like all lumber you need to buy ahead of time, keeping in mind how it’s been stored at your local lumber yard. A week of rain and they store it outside or inside the heated store for 2 months. Even dry wood can twist after you cut it and should rest overnight before final milling.
Nice as always! Thanks! Colin it seems that a troll has put inappropriate answers to each comment…
Get to point, which means handle the wood, do what you do… And he’s going to ask you to subscribe in the first 2 minutes? Eeek,,,
Brevity brevity brevity,
One of my first projects was a little side table made from pallet wood. Years later it still looks good. I think as long as the wood you are working with is suitably dried out it’s fine.
Great as usual. Watched nearly all of you videos and downloaded most of them. And your accent and clarity of language is superb and it counts as I am not a native. Thanks a lot!
I get my wood from a sawmill and i get popular cheaper than pine. I get mine in spring and fall that way i always have some that is dry and some drying
I got educated on this one. Thank you. Always wondered why 2×4 furniture gets weird…..
I’d have to say that the comments regarding kiln dried are not necessarily accurate in Canada. Sawmills in Canada kiln dry to under 11% or so , to make quite stable lumber. 18% lumber is semi-dry and in shipping often could become moldy. Almost no properly dried SPF correctly dried should be 18% (I say as a lumber specialist).
SPF should not be wet like 18%), but just to be safe, in case of improper drying or of picking up some moisture in shipping, one can put the lumber on a flat surface on spaced strips in a dry area and weighed down for a week to make sure it reaches stable dryness. Also be careful to use lumber without heart centers if it is really an application where one is worrying especially about warping or cracking. These HC pieces can warp and twist more sometimes if not perfectly dry.
I make walking canes from 2×4 lumber the stain it. Never had any problem with fir
Always a pleasure looking at your video 📸
This is a good argument in favor of engineered dimensional lumber, which is preferred for higher end construction.
I still wouldn’t use that for furniture, though. (Maybe for jigs etc.)
very nice episode , thanks for breaking it down the properties of moisture contents in wood and sharing your insight / knowledge!
Makes you wonder how a house stays Square with all the lumber twisting as it dries out?
Thanks for the knowledge !!!!!
Well done. Quite informative.👍👍
Hi Colin, what moist percentage would you recommend for a safe hard wax application?
Well done Colin, great job explaining everything as you always do my friend. Keep up the great work, and until next time. Take care!
Thanks for such an informative video. How about a water based (poly acrylic) as a protective finish?
In my country,trees are chopped split into lumber of various sizes then taken straight to hardwares stores for sale, being put ln kiln to bring down the moisture content I have never heard of that.we have learnt to work with wet lumber some you can even see the water in them.Nitrocellulose paint is the best for such kind of lumber,you apply water based stain then you put nitrocellulose paint and you are good to go.
huh, great advice **goes back to milling pallet wood**
Finally something I know something about. The 2 x 4’s you showed all had the pith in them, the very center of the tree. The wood surrounding the pith is called Juvenile Wood. It’s the wood the tree grew in the first ten or fifteen years when it was young and growling like a weed. Very different from more mature wood. It may shrink and swell as much as thirty times as much as mature wood. It is the bane of the truss industry because it can also shrink lengthwise. Old school lumber yards would not accept boards that were mostly juvenile wood but the big box stores needed wood they could sell cheaply and they accept it. Mills used to saw in a way called "boxing the heart". They would cut around the juvenile wood leaving something like a 4 x 4 behind and basically throw it away or use it for pallets. Look closely at the end of a stack in a big box store and you may notice they took the heart wood and resawed it into two 2 x 4’s. You can see the pairs. The best bet is to buy something larger, like 2 x 12’s and rip a 2 x 4 off each edge, and then let them dry for a few months. Here’s an odd factoid, MC equilibrates at about 20% of RH.
I learned a lot today.
great video. Big box lumber is horrible. BUT..I’ve had great luck using a planer and jointer to clean it up. Both expensive…but a necessity these days. great discussion about moisture…almost no one I know checks that anymore…
You should not really use white deal or the construction pine that you are showing that is just for stud work, its Scandinavian itsgrownfast cut down young not kiln dried any more as
Was when I was an apprentice bench joiner 50 years ago
hi,master you have in this video a lot of right,im an old restorer,from Europa ,Budapest ,Hungary Koloman old retaired furniture restorer.thank you so much,for this video,many people dont now about this advaices and ,wood caracters and thehnology . by,with respect.
Any thoughts or opinions on the use of 45° “Lock Miter” router bits? I just pocket up a 3 piece set for 1/2”, 3/4”, and 1” lumber. I got them with the idea of aesthetics for visible joinery. I’m just not sure that dry lumber and glue would be enough to create a good lasting joint. Great explanations of everything by the way, as you always manage to do.
You’ll never have that problem with wood for Lowe’s, it’s already petrified. Green lumber is for building homes.
Moral of the story..don’t use box store lumber! If your going to take the time to build furniture, no point in buying cheap construction lumber and wasting time to build something that isn’t going to last! Or encase the whole piece in epoxy lol, then it won’t shrink haha
Theres no such size as 2×4.
Its called a 4 x 2 for good reason.
The muppets that cant understand anything try to big themselves up and it highlights their own stupidity.
8 x 4 feet boards or big No. X smaller No. Timbers all have the larger size spoken first.
thanks Oliver Reed
Great video..valuable info! Thanks!
Thank you, Colin. I learnt something very useful from your video 👍🏻
Thanks as always!
I learned a lot, thank you for the video sir 👍
But what am I supposed to use for chair backs? Ever notice 2×4’s are the center of the tree.
I like. Very informative video
It’s all great to say not to use 2x4s for builds but man not all of us have the cash to buy better wood. I make some absolutely great looking stuff by just cutting down 2x4s and 2x6s. None of it looks like a bunch of 2x4s screwed and glued together, they look great. On top of that, wet, dry or otherwise none of them have twisted or warped or cracked or anything after it’s been built. I love this guy’s channel for sure. But there’s some reasons I enjoy the lady woodworkers more, they don’t have the expectations these hardened woodworkers have. Fact is I do this because I really enjoy doing it. I enjoy building things that are going to live in my home, and the homes of others, for years to come. I build quality pieces out of 2x4s and I reject anyone who says otherwise.
Very informative video. Thanks for sharing.
Good information thanks
Thanks! This was great to hear. I had no idea of it! 👍👍
BTW …almost nowhere here in Chicago to actually buy good lumber now ghat “wood world” closed😒
I didn’t think to buy 2×12 lumber and rip it. Good idea. I use pallets myself in addition to orange box lumber so I disagree with this video. When I want really good wood I dumpster dive for thrown away furniture. You’ll be surprised at how much really good wood goes to waste.
I live in the south and we have nothing but Southern Yellow Pine for our construction lumber. Better than fir and much better than spruce. As you say, 2x12s and removing the pith to essentially get quartersawn lumber is a great trick. I can essentially get two 2x4s (and a full 4 instead of the 3.5 inch width of an actual 2×4) of quartersawn lumber out of a 2×12 for about $15. Lifesaver for someone on a budget.
Nah I’ll just pick better cuts, thanks though
There’s a whole community of plywood boat builders building out of construction grade wood. I am currently working on one from a designer Jeff Spira. He has recently passed away and had a great following. His insistence that construction adhesives used in assembling frames and securing plywood panels with screws would not be needed if one was inclined to remove them once the adhesive was cured during the later parts of construction. Jeff was very conservative and designed with the first time builder in mind using many more frames than typically needed accounting for poor joinery and gaps later to be filled with adhesives or epoxy resin. Choosing lumber carefully is important as well has understanding how to use construction adhesive effectively. I use spruce because it is the lightest and often the clearest of the three typical 2x4s found in places like Home Depot in my area. I have sorted through lots of lumber sometimes going home with nothing. Sometimes waiting on other guys who are hobby furniture makers too. You make a good point understanding where one might not want to use construction grade lumber.
Now I just wonder what would be the cheapest and yet best wood to build furniture with. Since 2x4s or SPFs are out of the equation, what wood is most affordable for furniture?
Nah, man. If you’re not making furniture for Buckingham Palace, who cares? If you like it and it’s functional, that’s fine. Not everything has to be elitist.
Out here in Oregon you can get good quality KD Doug fir – and there’s a lot of furniture made from it (my dining room table for example).