Skip to Content

Intro to Woodworking: Lumber Size Guide – Free Printable!

Intro to Woodworking: Lumber Sizing Guide

On all of my building tutorials, I list out the wood sizes that are needed for the DIY project under the materials needed. I’ve received some questions from readers about what those lumber sizes actually mean. And when I first started learning about woodworking I didn’t know what they meant either.

What does 1×8 mean? How wide is 1×2 lumber?

Logically, 1×2 would mean the wood is 1 inch x 2 inches right? However, the actual dimensions of the wood are 3/4 inch x 1 1/2 inch and the nominal size is 1×2. The difference has to do with the sawmill process and shrinkage of the wood.

Intro to Woodworking: Lumber Sizing Guide

I decided to put together the below handy chart of actual lumber sizes for any new DIYers who are just learning about woodworking and how to build and also as a quick reference for myself and anyone else that needs to figure out building measurements. Keep in mind that this chart is for softwood dimensional lumber sizes (not hardwoods) which are very common and mainly what I use for my woodworking projects.

Click here for a free printable PDF version that you can easily print and hang up in your workshop, office, or other handy place!

Intro to Woodworking: Lumber Sizing Guide

Well I hope this chart will be useful and handy! I’m thinking about doing some more “Intro to Woodworking” posts in the future, let me know if you think it would be helpful! I know they are very basic and not the most fun posts, but definitely an important part of getting to the fun part of actually building and making things!

Follow along on Instagram and Facebook for sneak peaks and my latest projects!












Get instant access to the library of FREE printables for the home!

Subscribe and get home decor tips, DIY tutorials, and access to the library of FREE printables for the home!

Powered by ConvertKit

Sharing is caring!

Big News - Weathered Wood Recipes
Big News: A new DIY resource!
Farmhouse Coffee Table DIY
DIY Farmhouse Coffee Table


Monday 15th of June 2020

Thank you, so much for doing the charts and guides. My ex husband used to do the making and building, I helped, but only wuth the stuff he let me. I have always wanted to start making things and now with your help I can and will be able to. That outdoor couch is on the top of my list. I haven't looked through your entire blog yet, but di you sew, crochet or knit as well, I just got a new to me sewing machine, and I if I can brave it I may buy fabrics and make my own cushions, but only if I don't sew my fingers lol. Thanks again for the time and effort you put into your blog. 🤪


Wednesday 9th of September 2020


Omg I am right there with you. I was raised with some major “learned helplessness” issues and as an adult relied on my ex-husband to do all of the home improvements that were needed. However, a lot of them have been left half finished or less, and I am now finding myself having to try and learn a lot to try and finish them. Totally lost with power tools, lumber sizing, even just going and getting paint at the store was daunting!

Angela Marie Made

Friday 19th of June 2020

I'm so happy to hear that and that this has been helpful!! :) I don't sew or knit but I really want to learn! That would be awesome if you could make your own cushions!!


Thursday 9th of January 2020

Angela I have a Kreg jig. Do you ever try to join timber that is not exactly 3/4”,1/2” or 1”. I use recycled timbers, soft and hard, and after planing cutting the thickness can be well off these measurements. I can’t find any info on what to do with non-standard sixes timber


Thursday 7th of May 2020

Hi just wanted to ask if I’m building for outside use, do you recommend using pressure treated wood?

Angela Marie Made

Friday 10th of January 2020

Yes I have, but it was usually only around 1/4" off or so...what I would do is adjust the kreg jig settings to be in between the measurement marks on the kreg jig and then I'd test it out on scrap wood (that was the same thickness as my project) to see if it was the correct depth. Does that make sense?

David Walls

Tuesday 2nd of July 2019

Thanks for the advice. I’m brand new.

Angela Marie Made

Wednesday 3rd of July 2019

You're welcome!


Monday 14th of January 2019

If a plan says 2x8, do I measure by the plan or by the lumber size?

Angela Marie Made

Tuesday 15th of January 2019

Hi Jim, I'm not sure what you're asking exactly. If the plan says 2x8, then you want to use a 2x8 which is what it will be called at the store when you buy it. The actual size of the 2x8 is 1.5" x 7.25" Hope that makes sense!