A 2x4 isn't really a 2x4

Once again I am foiled by the difference between the size that lumber products are sold as, and the size they actually are. I calculated that for 15ft of decking, I'd need 30x 6inch planks. Makes sense. With a little gap between each one, I'd have enough to do the whole deck with some scraps left over.
But no.
A deck plank sold as 1.25" x 6" x 12ft is actually 1" x 5.5" x 12ft. So for every deck plank I laid down, I lost half an inch in calculated width. Net result? 2 planks short when I got to the end. Dammit!
Why is the building supply trade like this? And why the hell has nobody complained about it? Like when we put the beam boards in - we got 4x4 post caps to mount a pair of 2x12's side by side. You'd think that two 2inch boards, back to back, would be 4 inches wouldn't you? Of course not. They came to 3.5inches instead, leaving a nice sloppy gap in the 4x4 post cap - which was sold for the express purpose of putting two 2inch boards together on top of a 4inch post!
Another good example - the joists. 2" x 10" x 14ft. Ah - but not quite. We'd learned by this point, so I sawed a piece off one of them and used it to mount all the joist hangars. The actual width was about 9.25" instead. I ruled supreme, until I then found out that no two boards were the same width! Some were 9 inches wide, which meant having to put shims in the joist hangars, whilst others were 9.5 inches wide, which meant I had to cut notches out of them.
In fact, it turns out that when lumber is sold as 2" x 10" x 12ft, for example, what it means is: 'could be 2", could be 1.5", could be 1.75" - we don't know' x 'could be 10", could be 9", could be 9.31234" - we don't know' x 'exactly 12ft to two decimal places'
So if they can get the length of the boards precise every time, why is it so difficult to get the width and height to be precise?

I can't fathom why this is, but it's bloody annoying. You know it would be so much easier if they'd just catch up and use decimal instead.


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