Lumber size is often given in “nominal” measurements. This can often lead to confusion when someone is shopping for wood and wood connectors. Paul McEntee, Simpson Strong-Tie Manager of Engineering R&D, addressed lumber sizes and how our company takes them into consideration during product development and testing.
Your wood fastening products seem to be built for yesteryear wood sizes. 2x’s are no longer larger than 1½”. Why can’t you manufacture these products with a little closer tolerance?
I received this question from a customer a few days ago via Ask Simpson, a web page where you can submit technical questions to our Engineering Department and we respond by e-mail. We have received similar variations of this question countless times over the years, so I thought it could use some discussion.
The National Design Specification for Wood Construction (NDS) Supplement Table 1A “Nominal and Minimum Dressed Sizes of Sawn Lumber” gives the minimum dry and green dimensions for sawn lumber. This specifies a nominal 2x, for example, as being 1½” dry and 1 9/16” green. NDS Supplement Section 3.1.1 defines dry lumber being seasoned to a moisture content of 19% or less, whereas green lumber is higher than 19%.
So what size do you make the connector?
When you hear $452 billion, what comes to mind? Perhaps the annual state budgets of California, Texas, Florida or New York? Maybe the combined net worth of Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, or the Walton Family? While those would be good guesses, I bet you didn’t think of corrosion! According to a May 2012 Congressional Briefing hosted by NACE International and ASM International, corrosion-related costs are a staggering 3.1% of the U.S. GDP, which is more than the individual budgets of those states above, and the combined net worth of the top 15 people listed on the Forbes 400: The Richest People in America.
Corrosion of metallic surfaces is an electrochemical process typically involving an anode, electrolyte and a cathode. An anode is a metal zone which loses electrons when exposed to an electrolyte, an electrolyte is a non-metal electrical conductor, and a cathode is the zone where an oxidizing agent (e.g., oxygen) gains the electrons. While there are many different forms of corrosion (e.g., pitting, intergranular, wet storage stain, etc.), and various sources of causes (e.g., treated lumber, moisture level, temperature, atmosphere, air quality, etc.), other factors such as exposure related to time of wetness are equally important. In a study presented in Dr. X.G. Zhang’s book Corrosion and Electrochemistry of Zinc, time of wetness is 50% greater near the top of a structure compared to the bottom, leading to greater corrosion.