Anew class action lawsuits filed against Home Depot and Menard’s hits their use of nominal lumber sizes. We’re talking about how when you pick up a 2x4 stud, it actually measures 1-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches. An Illinois law firm filed suits charging the home improvement
stores have shortchanged customers by selling 23
percent less lumber than nominal size would suggest.
Of course, anybody who has bought lumber over
the last 90 years already knows nominal sizes represent
the size of rough-cut lumber before surfacing. These
nominal dimensions were originally codified in
1924 with the first national lumber
standards. But recent legal actions
ignore that history.
District attorneys in California
brought suit against Lowe’s home
improvement stores in 2014, and
a judge ordered Lowe’s to pay
$1.6 million in damages. Now,
if you buy lumber or anything
else at Lowe’s in which nominal
dimensions differ from actual
measured size, you’ll see the
actual size listed on the packaging
or price tag on the shelf. That’s
also probably why Lowe’s isn’t in the recent suits.
Home Depot and Menard’s apparently didn’t see
the danger the California case posed, but certain
lawyers certainly saw an opportunity. If the home
improvement stores lose the case or settle, you can
bet the law firm will see a big chunk
of the settlement check.
This is a federal case, so it
has far-reaching implications,
including how you describe
products to your own customers. ;
Truth in marketing or opportunism?
by William Sampson
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in his weekly blog at
Contract design trends focus
Office and contract furniture makers are making it
easier for today’s workers to create and collaborate.
In addition to making visually pleasing
products, companies displaying at NeoCon
sought to provide a physical environment
that works for modern office workers. A few
--More office furniture that would fit in the
home, and vice versa.
--Greater number of
different materials used in the
same project, a continuing
trend. And more natural
environments and open offices are
a familiar theme, but designers have
created various cockpit-like seats
and desks enclosed with soft-to-the-touch sound and visual barriers.
--Taking that a step further,
several companies offered “cone
of silence” booths that people could step into for
that important phone call.
--We saw height-adjustable everything,
including all manner of desks and large tables.
This isn’t completely new, but the application and
related features are.
--A few new solid wood
applications stood out and
created a new look, in
addition to high-end veneer
by Karl D. Forth
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in his weekly blog at