Lignin-laced Water

2x4s

Yes, yes; I’m going to sticker it. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

With a 3-day weekend ahead, I thought: Perfect time to frame out the shower walls and put in a proper sub floor. Heck – I might then even be able to get the underlayment for the tile walls hung!

I have to frame a wall into what was a doorway at the back left corner, and scab 2x4s onto the existing studs along the rest of the left-side wall of the shower…or perhaps only on the studs to either side of the vertical water pipes. With the original studs installed flat on that non load-bearing wall (I’m sure that extra 2″ of floor space made all the difference), there’s not enough depth in the cavity to fit a thermostatic mixer for the water. One needs, it seems, a minimum of 2-7/16″

Of course, if I make only that one cavity deeper, it makes the tiling to come more of a pain in the posterior, with two additional inside and outside corners to navigate (but that extra 2″, well, it does make a difference…).

But I screwed up. I should have bought the lumber weeks months ago to give it time to dry; what I have here are sticks of water held together by a bit of lignin.

I won’t be framing this weekend. Perhaps instead I’ll make a solar kiln out of the old windows piled in the backyard – I’m not convinced this pine has never been in a kiln of any kind.

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About fitz

Editor & content director for Popular Woodworking, ABD PhD focused on early modern drama, freelance content and copy editor/writer, ailurophile
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11 Responses to Lignin-laced Water

  1. ctdahle says:

    Your house, your time, your choice. But I wonder if you are just borrowing a worry. Properly fastened, stamped and graded lumber shouldn’t ought to shrink enough to impair the finish. But aside from that, at a DIY pace, it will be dry by the time you’ve had the plumber in and are ready to install the substrate for the tile.

    The old guy that taught me would say, “You’re building a house, not a piano.” Still, since you don’t have the homeowner breathing down your neck about living in a construction zone, it won’t hurt to wait.

  2. SteveM says:

    In my area the standard 8′ 2×4 is available kiln dried while everything else is literally wet as a sponge. Some lumber yards take advantage of this by keeping everything outdoors. I’ve had to knock the snow and ice off of a pair of 20′ 2×10 timbers before loading them up and then let them sit in the garage for a month or two before they dried enough to be usable. I don’t know how this has become the norm.

  3. I used to live in an early-1900s bungalow, and all of the non-load-bearing walls were framed like that. Roughsawn 2x4s laid flat with narrow lathe atop. Seems to be a common method back then. Regarding the moisture content, though, I tend to think along the lines of ctdahle: There’s not a better place for lumber to dry than nailed to the wall!

  4. Megan, is your house old enough that all of your existing framing is true measure? Or do today’s 2x4s work just fine?

    If you bought reclaimed 2x material, you definitely wouldn’t have to sticker it and wait for it to dry! 🙂

    If you have a garage with improper insulation, sticker it all in there. In my experience, that speeds up the drying process significantly.

    • fitz says:

      It is actual 2×4 framing (and awfully pretty stuff – the growth rings are so tight!) I was able to cadge a few sticks from the wall I tore out, and use that to fill in the open door. I’ll use the rest of it for the wall that will be the back of the shower…but I can’t put that in until I cut a door in from my bedroom!

      The stuff I just bought is to create the deeper cavity for the mixing valve, and possibly for a couple ledges for shampoo and the like – it doesn’t have to match the size of the old stuff.

  5. Steve says:

    What ctdahle said. There are millions (?) of houses built each year using non-stickered construction lumber with no ill effects. Go for it.

  6. DLawson says:

    I feel your thin-walled pain.

    I live in a 1960 “starter home” that was, by report, completed with “homeowner effort.” All of the non-door interior walls are framed with the 2x4s the “thin” way.

    Given the 1960 wiring, I’ve added a few grounding lines, and drilled through the opposite wall (rather then the inter-wall floor) at least once.

    (Garage ceiling is framed with 2x4s, but that’s another rant.)

  7. Mike Hamilton says:

    Didn’t know a better way to let you know. Per a previous conversation, I remember you talking about Parks products. Cheap buy needing TLC in Indy CL: https://indianapolis.craigslist.org/tls/6015455848.html
    Like you need another project……
    Regards,
    Mike

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