2 X 4 is more a title than a description.  2 X 4 lumber is actually 1.5″ by 3.5″ to begin with. A 2 X 12 is supposed to be 1.5″ by 11.25″ but I swear I’ve measured narrower.

Cleaning up the shop last weekend, I had This Old House on more or less as background noise. I wasn’t paying that close attention when I thought I caught sight of something unusual. Fortunately I was also recording it up in the big house.

I went up to check the DVR to see if I saw what I saw. Turns out I did see what I thought I saw. What I saw was Tom Silva framing a wall with what looked like oriented strand board (OSB) or laminated veneer lumber (LVL).


It’s made from genuine wood bits.

I read the printing on the wood and looked up Weyerhaeuser TimberStrand® LSL (Laminated Strand Lumber). It is described thusly:

Engineered for consistent performance, TimberStrand® Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL) starts straight and stays straight. As a result, it is one of the most innovative and versatile building products available, a suitable solution for a diverse range of applications: Strong and stable for tall walls over 10 feet; a single-piece solution for beams; straight and fast for rim boards; hassle-free and warranted for sill plates; affordable and fast for headers.

A little research informed me that products like this have been around for about fifteen years. The cost is two to three times that of conventional lumber. The main advantage is that it starts and strays straighter than the harvested stuff. (The Lord’s quality control sucks.) Used where being straight is important such as long unbroken walls with raked lighting or walls on which cabinets are to be hung. Wall for which bowing or irregularities would be bad.

Maybe not appropriate for furniture…

However, in the November, 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking, Megan Fitzpatrick and Chris Schwarz built a workbench from LVL (laminated veneer lumber). In December, 2014, Ms. Fitzpatrick blogged about the bench for PW’s online site and offers free plans for the bench. You can read it HERE.

Furniture soon.