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The ubiquitous 2×4, (even though it's really 1½"×3½" in real life) found just about everywhere at hardware stores, construction sites, home renovations, garages, and just about anywhere else there's wood to be found. It's an unassuming little item, highly flexible in its possible applications, able to serve as either construction material for building a home, protecting said home against unwanted intrusion... or even an expedient substitute when a baseball bat isn't available. Bonus points if there are nails, screws, bolts or even spikes on the business end for added pain.

This trope covers all other kinds of lumber/timber from wooden poles/sticks, boards, planks, and etc. of different shapes and sizes. As long as it's a piece of construction wood and used as a weapon. Other wooden weapons such as Baseball/cricket bats, wooden clubs/maces or staves/spears have their own tropes.

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For some odd reason this weapon is very prevalent in works involving the Zombie Apocalypse used by survivors or raiders and also in Beat 'em Up or any brawls taking place in an urban setting, either in the hands of the good guys or bad guys.

Needless to say, a subtrope of Improvised Weapon. While it may seem the same as Carry a Big Stick, it falls more under Improbable Weapon User category due to the awkwardness that would be encountered when trying to wield a wooden plank/board as a weapon in its standard form.


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Examples:

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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Sara and Billy utilize this trope in Day of the Dead when they're locked in the corral full of zombies.
  • In the original The Evil Dead Ash uses a large wooden plank to beat his demonically possessed girlfriend Linda after she digs herself out of her grave. It eventually breaks and he has to decapitate her with a shovel before she can kill him.
  • The infected in The Last Man on Earth make use of 2×4s in their efforts to kill Robert Morgan.
  • Night of the Living Dead features 2×4s being used both to reinforce the windows and doors, and to dispatch a zombie when things have gone from bad to worse.
  • The Three Stooges made frequent use of this trope, sometimes accidentally, sometimes deliberately.
  • Tommy Boy: When Richard's car is well and truly ruined thanks to Tommy, he angrily pulls off the highway next to a 'Prehistoric Forest' roadside attraction, and has it out with him. They step out of the car to duke it out, and Tommy lets Richard take his best shot. After a couple of punches have no effect, Richard picks up a 2×4 and smacks Tommy across the face, knocking him cold. Richard looks up and says "Hey, Prehistoric Forest!"
  • In the western comedy The Villain, protagonist Cactus Jack Slade is in a saloon gratuitously punching people in various ways and naming them as he does so. (Upper cut, right cross, and so forth.) He finally gets a taste of his own medicine and then some: "And that's a 2×4."
  • Chris Vaughn (played by Dwayne Johnson) in Walking Tall (2004) arms himself with a 4x4 piece of wood as he enters the casino, he later has the 4x4 made into an Improvised [[Batterup baseball bat]].

    Live-Action TV 

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Jim "Hacksaw" Duggan famously made use of a 2×4 as a weapon. to fit with his theme of being something like a lumberjack.

    Video Games 
  • Taking inspiration from old-school BeatEmUps, Action Doom 2: Urban Brawl naturally has a wooden plank as an available weapon, not only that however it's also got a long spike (weirdly nailed through the thin side instead of the flat side) and has tape wrapped around the other end to serve as a handle.
  • Castle Crashers features the 2×4 as an available weapon in the Blacksmith DLC pack.
  • Like many zombie games, Cataclysm has these as a weapon. They're actually quite weak, but they're better than your bare hands (unless you have enough points in unarmed combat) and easy to find (just break some furniture, or have a zombie do that for you). You can also craft a version with nails in it for added damage.
  • Easily one of the more plentiful melee weapons to see in Condemned: Criminal Origins and Condemned 2: Bloodshot, but not only that they come in many different flavors as well. From plain, to ones with bolts or nails through them and even ones that are burning. The last one is especially important as you have to use them in the final levels were you lack a flashlight for illumination
  • The first craftable melee weapon in Darkwood is the "Board with Nails". The community of the game has even created a challenge where you only have that weapon to beat the game.
  • The 2×4 is a very common weapon in the Dead Rising series.
    • Thanks to the combo weapon system introduced from 2 and used onward. There are a few combo weapons to be made with the ubiquitous 2" x 4". In 3 Nick can make "Heavy Metal" a combo weapon made with another ubiquitous weapon, the Lead Pipe. Creating a large improvised and very gnarly-looking mace.
  • The wooden plank is a common weapon found in Dead Island and is often wielded by zombies.
  • Dying Light has a large arsenal of improvised melee weapons, which also includes the wooden plank as a usable weapon for dispatching zombies. Like all melee weapons you can also modify and upgrade it to further it's effectiveness.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas features a nailed plank as a common weapon among mutants and raiders, with at least one variant called the "Board of Education".
    • It appears again in Fallout 4 and 76, although very different from most kinds of 2x4 or 4x4 weapons, instead it looks somewhat akin to a cricket bat with even a long relatively thin handle that's wrapped with duct tape for grip. It can be seen often in the hands of the super mutants. Thanks to 4's rather robust weapon customization system you can give your plank different upgardes to make it more viable as a weapon.
  • Full Throttle features this as one of the weapons you can obtain at the Mine Road when engaging in some Motorcycle Jousting, out of all the weapons it is the one needed to obtain the Cavefish's goggles.
  • The wooden plank is an environmental weapon available in Guild Wars 2, it appears to be tapered and even has it's own moveset when used by the warrior class (although the uniqueness is mostly relegated to move names).
  • The Wood Board is an available melee weapon in The Last Stand: Union City; it's even described as "good old 2x4". It's a somewhat common weapon to find, and decent when the alternatives are broken tire irons and pocket knives, although you're encouraged to replace it with something better when you have the chance. Later on, you can get a quest for a broken wooden board, some nails and a roll of tape. Completing it nets you the Heavy versionnote  of the Nail Board, one of the best weapons in the early game and able to one-shot most zombies with a swing to the head even in mid-game areas.
  • The 2×4 is a very common weapon in The Last of Us, and is in fact the first melee weapon you come across. Durability is weak, able to withstand only four hits in its unmodified form before breaking apart, but it proves to be quite common, so another is easy enough to find when facing other humans. Interestingly enough they call it a 2×4 in the game despite the fact that it's clearly square (likely a 4x4).
  • Mother 3 has Flint, who uses a 2-by-4 as his weapon of choice. He uses it to beat the stuffing out of everything in his way. When he goes into an Unstoppable Rage over his wife's death, Lighter has to whack him in the back of the head with it to knock him out. It was the only way to get him to stop attacking the other villagers as they try to comfort him and reign in his fury.
  • Project Zomboid lets players use the wooden plank either as building materials, or as a weapon, either by itself, or modified with nails to create the nailed plank.
  • Used a few times in Resident Evil.
    • Resident Evil 4 has Ashley, when first meeting with Leon, toss a plank at him.
    • The Majini of Resident Evil 5 are armed with a variety of melee weapons, including wooden planks with nails hammered into the end.
    • One of the available melee weapons in Resident Evil: Outbreak that can be used by most survivors.
  • Appears twice in the Silent Hill series.
    • The first weapon James Sunderland equips in Silent Hill 2 is the wooden plank that he rips from a safety barricade, complete with rusty nails stuck in the end. He makes use of it when he first encounters a Lying Figure. While obviously weaker than the pipe you receive later in the game, it has the bonus of being much quicker to swing.
    • Silent Hill: Book of Memories also features the wooden plank as a weapon. But unlike Silent Hill 2, Book of Memories features the Breakable Weapons system, so it's only a temporary weapon.
  • The Splatterhouse series features the 2×4 as a very common available weapon. It naturally returns in the 2010 remake in a much meaner-looking appearance to fit with it's Darker and Edgier aesthetic. Instead of being a simple piece of lumber, it's more like one big block of wood that has several smaller pieces of wood nailed to it with railroad spikes and nails, acting more like an Improvised spiky wooden mace, it's a very common weapon to find and is classified as a medium-strength bludgeoning weapon. It was even voted number 95 in IGN's Top 100 weapons in video games list.
    Terror Mask: 2x4... handy. Let's do some fucking carpentry.
  • The video game Urban Reign features the 2×4 as a playable weapon, but it breaks after one use.
  • World of Warcraft features a wooden board with a nail through it as a one handed weapon, simply and aptly named the spiked wooden plank.
  • A common weapon to be found in the Yakuza series, usually referred to as "Lumber" (or any other names) and very prevalent. Either as something that can be bought from shops or picked up off the street/floor/wherever the fighting is, to deliver the hurt on some Mooks. It usually comes in a 4x4 shape but it's length either goes from club-like to staff-like (thus referred to as "Long Lumber", and as with every weapon have some HEAT moves to deliver some serious pain.
    • Shinada from Yakuza 5 doesn't enjoy the Batter Up! trope, but is willing to use his skills from his baseball career to deliver some mean attacks with blunt weapons. Lumber is one of his preferred weapons, with one of his Revelations showing him use Lumber against a mook.
    • Ichiban's "Hero" class from Yakuza: Like a Dragon, mainly makes use of baseball bats or any other blunt weapons. Which includes two kinds of Lumber, the regular 4x4 or flaming Lumber.

    Web Original 
  • Zombie Go Boom:
    • The show has tested the 2×4 as a possible zombie apocalypse weapon, and have found that it can indeed destroy their test skull analog zombie heads. It's even stated as being Jim Goza's favorite weapon.
    • They also try out in making a real version of the NERF Brand Zombie Strike club. Which is a strangely shaped piece of wood with what appears to be either door hinges or a piece of sheet metal, wrapped then riveted/screwed onto it. Upon testing they find out it is a surprisingly very practical budget weapon in practice.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Celebrity Deathmatch episode pitting the best known James Bond actors, Sean Connery and Roger Moore against one another, it's a battle of improbable spy gadgets. Sean Connery eventually pulls out a board with a nail hammered through it.
  • In the King of the Hill episode "The Redneck of Rainey Street" Kahn and Hank square off in a stick fight with 2×4s, with the latter trying to talk the former out of his adopted redneck lifestyle.

    Real Life 
  • In Los Angeles, California, a pitbull attack on an animal control officer was caught on tape while the officer was investigating reports on said animal. While the present camera crew failed to stop the attack, a neighbor came to the rescue and beat the dog off of the officer with a 2×4.

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