An Old Barn #1: Introduction

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Blog entry by slickytfox posted 04-18-2010 12:43 AM 1525 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of An Old Barn series Part 2: Pics of tools found »

Hello, I am Tim from PA. I would not call myself an experienced woodworker by any means. I hope that my participation here is not taken in any negative way with regards to your craft.

Due to this past winter’s snow storms, I have been presented a situation and I really don’t know where to turn. Through some searches, I arrived at this forum in hopes of receiving advice.

On the property that I have been on for not even a year yet, there are several work sheds (or barns as we refer to them) in various states of disrepair. They all are in such a shambles that we would dare not enter into them to even explore. The plan was for someone to come in this summer and reclaim the barn wood just to begin cleaning up the property. This past winter, one of the largest ones collapsed under the weight of the snow. This prompted a call to a company that says they reclaim barn wood, however, when the representative came down our driveway, he didn’t even exit his car, telling us, with a rather disgusted look on his face, that this was not the type of work his company does. He may have been having a bad day, I don’t know, but I felt very stupid and disrespected at the same time. I am not blind and I can see that the barns make it look like a salvage yard in some places, but I had been under the impression that these reclamation companies deal with stuff like this all the time.

Our next step was to call cleaning and hauling companies to see if they could manage the clean up. The estimates were staggering to us and definitely not in our budget.

This led us to attempt to clean up ourselves. It is very difficult work and as we progressed we found excellent examples of barn wood and have built organized piles of good wood and bad wood. Just this past week, we neared the floor of one corner of the shed. As I carefully removed some of the floor, I realized that there was a “crawlspace” about four feet deep underneath the floor. In this crawlspace, it was evident that it became a storage area for what looks like a remarkable amount of old woodworking, mechanics, milling etc… tools that must have been retired by one of the former property owners. I have retrieved some of the items and begun photographing and researching them a bit.

I have now become obsessed with learning about these types of tools. I also am set on the idea that I am going to craft something out of this beautiful barn wood. We have been wanting a new dining room table and I think that I can gain the knowledge I need and make something functional. If I want to do it, I have to learn somewhere, right?!?

Also, I am hopeful that I can get some honest valuations on some of the old tools that I find and even find out what some are/were used for.

Like I stated at the beginning, I am not here to disrespect your craft or be negative in any way. If I am in the wrong place to be seeking this advice, let me know now and I will quietly leave.

But if I am in the right type of forum, I would love to share my experience in this with you all and hopefully get some advice that I am in great need of.

Thank you.

13 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3274 days

#1 posted 04-18-2010 01:07 AM

You should start by first posting picturres of the tools you are mentioning. Also, any information that might be listed on the tools nameplates such as brand, serial #’s. model and so forth. There are a lot of members in this site that could provide a lot of info about old tools if enough info is provided. Many Lumberjocks spend a lot of time and effort restoring old woodworking tools since they are considered by many to be quality American made products.

View Dean10's profile


61 posts in 2995 days

#2 posted 04-18-2010 01:12 AM

Dining room table huh?? What kind of tools are you going to be using?? But first decide how many you want it to seat, 24 inches is about the space you need for each person seated. The average height of tables are between 28 and 30 inches. Depending on the wood you have at your disposal you may need to buy wood for the table legs, or just buy table leg blanks. got any thick peices??

-- "May you live in interesting times"

View swoper's profile


59 posts in 3190 days

#3 posted 04-18-2010 01:15 AM

Good luck with you barn wood table I hope it will show up here sometime. I too have a old barn that instead of tearing down I decided to shore up some foundation problems, and clean up some junk. One problem I have is powder post beetles I have not seen them in the planking but they are in the post and beams. If you have small holes the size of a pinhead you might have powder post beetles too, so be careful before you start working the reclaimed wood give it a good looking over and get those old tools sharpened and have some fun with the wood. Good Luck

-- Harry, Jackson Mi

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3451 days

#4 posted 04-18-2010 02:28 AM

Hey Slick, whatever wood you use, and I think I’m envious, whatever tools you use, and whatever you build, you are at the right place. We are all about the wood, the tools and the projects. I for one will be interested in seeing pictures of the wood, the tools and what you build, and the story behind it. Learn how to post pictures. It’s real easy. Resize the pictures down a little bit cause the edges (up to 40%) will get cut off. So Slick carry on and show us your progress.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View slickytfox's profile


6 posts in 2926 days

#5 posted 04-18-2010 02:43 AM

Greg…as soon as I get some pics up to flickr or photobucket, I’ll make an entry embedding them. My first thought was to try and find manufacturer names and serial numbers but there is some surface rust that I haven’t attacked yet. I will tell you that I have a Foot Powered Wood Lathe and it almost looks like the main iron pieces and mechanical parts came from some kind of kit and whomever built it provided there own milled wood. Might that be common? I’ll check for more info.
Dean…I’m thinking a table might be a bit ambitious for a first project, but I’m willing to give it a try. I have alot of good size siding and wall planks that are about 2×10 and I have nice thick posts that are 4×4 that would make solid legs, I feel. Don’t have many tools to make intricate designs, nor would I try to, but with a simple design plan, a circular and table saw, a drill, some clamps and some hardware I should be able to come up with something. I used to work at a paint store years ago so I have a good knowledge of finishing wood so that should be a plus.
swoper…Thanks for the advice on the beetles but I’ve read that a good pressure washing can usually handle bug problems. If the wood get’s too beat up from a pressure washing, it shouldn’t be used. That’s a good rule of thumb, right? Haha!
Thanks for making me feel welcome.

View slickytfox's profile


6 posts in 2926 days

#6 posted 04-18-2010 02:45 AM

Thanks, Dave, too. I was typing myself and didn’t see your post.

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 3708 days

#7 posted 04-18-2010 06:42 AM

Welcome aboard!

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View MedicKen's profile


1612 posts in 3428 days

#8 posted 04-18-2010 06:55 AM

Your best bet for identification and history og older machines can be found at There is also a discussion group ot Post the pictures in the SHOP area and everything should be ID’d wihout much problem. In the main site there are manufacturers listed with many pics and old papers. Good luck and I look forwark to seeing pics

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View slickytfox's profile


6 posts in 2926 days

#9 posted 04-18-2010 07:02 AM

Thanks for the welcome, Toolz.

Thank you very much MedicKen! That link is already looking like just what i was looking for!

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 3956 days

#10 posted 04-18-2010 07:52 AM

I wouldn’t advise you to power wash any wood you plan on using for a project. I don’t know how to get the beetles out or dead but, my guess is fogging with something. Power washing will destroy the grain if you’re not careful.


-- Jim

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4126 days

#11 posted 04-18-2010 08:54 PM

sounds like the wood was meant to end up in your hands (as well as the tools.) Gotta say thanks to the representative and other options that were dead-ends guiding you towards this project. I’m excited for you.

You are definitely in the right place for guidance, answers, support, cheering-section, and identification of the tools that you have.
Best wishes on your new adventure :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Galirex's profile


37 posts in 2953 days

#12 posted 04-19-2010 11:55 AM

We’ll follow your adventures closely, don’t you worry !
The exciting part would be to see what you get inspired to achieve. With so much wood, tools/implements and stuff, you can make one off pieces like no other ! The only limit will be your imagination…
Do the diningroom table, & for good measure, a lazy susan made from a big circular sawblade !!!
We’ll be watching !!!

-- Don't complain about growing old, it's a priviledge denied many...

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4366 days

#13 posted 05-17-2010 03:20 AM

Sounds like a great big research project. Good luck.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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