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Women Have Legs? What?

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

When I first started learning the masonry profession, one to the first things I had to memorize was how to tell one block from another, on paper.


Concrete blocks are identified on paper by their dimensions. We identity them by their width, height and length. The formula is W x H x L.. Width, height, length.


But sometimes, it's hard to remember the exact order, WxHxL. When the block company order sheet lists its block sizes it looks like this:


8216

8416

888

8812

8816


8216 is 8" x 2" x16"

8416 is 8" x 4" x 16"

888 is 8" x 8" x 8"

and so on.


But with out the formula, in the right order, who knows which number means which dimension. A good example of how this can be confusing: Assume you are building a wall out of 12" wide blocks. At the jamb ends of the wall you need half blocks and full blocks for the running bond pattern. Those blocks are 1288 blocks and 12816 blocks. 12 inches wide, 8 inches high, 8 inches long and 12 inches wide, 8 inches high, 16 inches long. But say your'e building a wall out of 8" wide blocks but you need 12" blocks every course to make the bond work out. In this case you will need 8812 blocks along with your 888 blocks and your 8816 blocks. You might think that a 12x8x8 and a 8x8x12 would be the same, but at the block plant those are two completely different blocks. Confusing?


Just remember: Women (W) Have (H) Legs (L).


It works and it sticks with you. I first heard this probably around 1989. I recently shared WHL with my 17 year old son who's helping me on jobs this summer, over three decades later.


I'll bet, after reading this five minute article, you too never forget the formula for identifying block sizes on paper. Width first, then height, last length. Women Have Legs. Like John Candy said in the movie, Splash, "when you find something that works, you stick with it!"

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