Recently I came across a phrase, “two-by-six crashing” in the following paragraph in Dan Brown’s fiction, “Inferno”:
"Langdon had feared as much; the last thing they needed now was to send a two-by-six crashing through a Vasari canvas – P.265"
I know the word, “two-by-four” as a finished wood used for building that measures two inches wide and four inches deep, but I’m new to “two-by-six (crashing, explosion, shock, impact).”
Google provides a sequence of headings of “two-by-six” as a quote from Dan Brown’s “Inferno” without any definition or meaning of the phrase.
Google N-Gram shows that the phrase has existed since 1820’s. The usage peaked during 1900 to 1920, and is dwindling off to 0.000.000.20% incidence level today.
It seems to me the phrase means an enormous impact, but I’m not sure. What does “two-by-six” something mean? Is that usage coming back to life?