Lessons in barnboard

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Blog entry by superstretch posted 1194 days ago 1337 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Today I had a unique experience that really got me doing something I’ve wanted to for a long time. Some background:

So I have a ~150-180 year old outhouse that the previous owner moved off its old foundation and next to the pool, where it now serves as a filter/pump house. One side of the roof was cedar shingles and the other was metal sheeting (think refugee camp and you get the picture). During one of our windstorms, which the area is notorious for, the metal sheeting peeled back like an opened can. It was time to put to use some of the large quantity of old barn siding, door frames, and barn board laying around.

Most of what we (my dad and I) used was old cedar. It was so dry that my moisture meter would flash “5.0%” before going blank, indicating that there was no medium between the poles. I had to cut a new rafter with some 8/4 cedar, and then laid more cedar and pine planks across the rafters. Next came the tar paper and then we started getting into the cedar shingles which the previous owner had been kind enough to purchase and leave in the outhouse.

How it relates to wood working. Well. I found that I love the smell of really old cedar. Also got some experience milling down some boards (the door frames had white lead paint and the old barn siding had red paint). On top of that, my miter saw didn’t even register when it plowed through a few nails that were buried. I’d like to get more into utilizing all the old stock that I have.. maybe make some tables out of it.

Of note- the Genesee Country Museum actually approached the previous owner about acquiring the outhouse for display at their museum..

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

4 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14548 posts in 2259 days

#1 posted 1194 days ago

Don’t you feel like a history robber keeping it for a pool house? ;-)) Sorry, the devil made me do it.

There are some distinctive smells in wood for sure, oak, pine, cedars, can’t think of any more right now.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View lou's profile


340 posts in 2025 days

#2 posted 1193 days ago

walnut has a great smell when cutting it.

View amateur's profile


89 posts in 1240 days

#3 posted 1193 days ago

I once turned some sassafras bowls. When my wife came into the shop she said, “Smells good! What are you cooking?”

View superstretch's profile


1482 posts in 1276 days

#4 posted 1193 days ago

I should mention.. I did this to my hand the night before, so I was a bit ginger when swinging the hammer:

Knocked the shower light globe off the bathroom counter and tried to catch it.. Needless to say, my hand ended up smashing it against the cabinet.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

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