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Forum topic by scottkeen posted 12-04-2015 02:57 PM 666 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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scottkeen

44 posts in 387 days


12-04-2015 02:57 PM

I don’t have the space for lots of lumber, I live in a 2-bedroom condo (converting 2nd bedroom into a workshop). But today the HOA is having contractors rip out the old wooden walkway and put in a new one.

I have my face pressed up against my window looking longingly at all that lumber going to the dump. I’ve done small projects and repairs with wood, but am new to woodworking and am hooked. “I have a 12-1/2 inch planer and could mill those boards,” I’m saying to myself. Looks like mostly 2×6 decking and 6×6 posts. It’s all pressure-treated.

My current project is to build my workshop, I’ll need workbenches, an assembly table, etc. Do I want any of that old weathered pressure-treated lumber?


11 replies so far

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

677 posts in 1572 days


#1 posted 12-04-2015 02:59 PM

Nope you don’t. PT wood is good for outdoor use and little else.

-- James

View scottkeen's profile

scottkeen

44 posts in 387 days


#2 posted 12-04-2015 03:00 PM



Nope you don t. PT wood is good for outdoor use and little else.

- JADobson

Thank you James. I learned something. Glad I didn’t start hauling any of it up 2 flights of stairs.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1727 posts in 1430 days


#3 posted 12-04-2015 03:01 PM

Hi scott. My current workbench legs and rails are made with pressure treated four by fours. They are now covered with plywood. They work fine for that. Something that I will come into skin contact with I don’t think I personally would use it for however. I built my first top out of pallet wood. I now have used two by fours to make a new top.
Of course it’s in my garage not my house too

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View scottkeen's profile

scottkeen

44 posts in 387 days


#4 posted 12-04-2015 03:06 PM



Hi scott. My current workbench legs and rails are made with pressure treated four by fours. They are now covered with plywood. They work fine for that. Something that I will come into skin contact with I don t think I personally would use it for however. I built my first top out of pallet wood. I now have used two by fours to make a new top.

- Kaleb the Swede

Thanks Kaleb. I’m going to pass on the PT wood then, I didn’t know it affects the skin.

I built this mini workbench out of one single pallet, didn’t know about PT affecting the skin, so I’ll have to minimize contact with it. It will stay outside on the balcony (the saw and compressor are coming back inside).

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

645 posts in 1838 days


#5 posted 12-04-2015 03:52 PM

If there are any cedar or redwood, you should get those.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View WoodNSawdust's profile

WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 637 days


#6 posted 12-04-2015 03:57 PM

I usually prototype out of scrap wood. My first bud vase was cut from a PT landscaping timber. The chemicals had soaked in and after bandsawing there was a wonderful range of colors present. After several coats of finish I had a beautiful bud vase. So I would not automatically discount PT wood, just be careful working it.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3038 days


#7 posted 12-04-2015 04:43 PM

Depending on how old the PT lumber is it can contain cyanide ,so I would stick with non-pressure treated wood.
Lots of folks find Pallets for free wood.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View scottkeen's profile

scottkeen

44 posts in 387 days


#8 posted 12-04-2015 05:00 PM

The PT wood for the old walkway is probably ~12 years old, the last time the walkway was replaced.

As far as pallets go, are they pressure treated? How can I tell? Can you tell if the pallet wood I used to build my mini workbench (above) is PT?

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3038 days


#9 posted 12-04-2015 05:08 PM

I’ve never seen a pressure treated pallet,so think you’re safe using any you find.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Alexl's profile

Alexl

57 posts in 402 days


#10 posted 12-04-2015 05:08 PM

most pallets are made of heat treated but not pressure treated lumber. OFten times they are even oak or some other hardwood. The lumber in your bench does not have the tell-tale green tint so i do not believe it is pressure treated.

View CharleyL's profile

CharleyL

196 posts in 2825 days


#11 posted 12-04-2015 11:28 PM

People who work with the older pressure treated wood without gloves to protect them from the wood treatments usually end up getting sores (pimple like) on their hands that don’t heal well. This is the first sign of
the poisoning. Let this deck wood go to the dump. It isn’t safe to use for much of anything.

Go find a local printing company and ask them to save you the pallets that their paper comes on, but you will need to check for them often and be willing to take them immediately. They are usually made of very heavy boards, mostly oak and maple, and they aren’t usually nailed with the barbed nails that are so common in the regular shipping pallets, so they can be knocked apart much easier and none have any chemical treatments on them.

I worked for a printing company for almost six years and collected many of the paper pallets from them. I got red oak, white oak, and poplar beams (the leg rails) 4-5” thick, 8-12” wide and usually 3-4’ in length. The top boards from these same paper pallets are 3/4 – 1 1/2” thick, 6-12” wide, and 3-5’ long and I even got some cherry in these. They are mostly rough sawn, but some are skip planed, so a planer and joiner would be good to have. A good hand plane and elbow grease can suffice if you don’t have them. The printing company that I worked at shut down almost 15 years ago and I’ve still got some wood around my shop that came from these pallets.

Regular pallets will also yield some wood, but aside from possible chemical treatments, they are power nailed together with barbed nails while the wood is still wet. By the time we get them the nails are nearly impossible to get out. The decking boards are also usually about 1/2 – 3/4 thick and vary in thickness and quality. To save some of the wood easily and avoid the hassle of pulling nails I would run my sawzall or circular saw down along the side of the vertical pieces to get 8-14” lengths of random width and thickness boards. At least they didn’t have metal in them this way, except for a staple every now and then. If you can get a lot of relatively clean general use pallets that have not been treated or used to haul chemicals you can get enough wood to make a few small boxes this way, but the effort will not really be worth it. There is just too much waste and the boards are too short to make much with them. I collected this type pallet and cut the usable wood out of them for a few months about 30 years ago. Most of the wood from these pallets ended up heating my house that year. About 10% of it was good enough and big enough to make something from. After dealing with all the barbed nails and splinters I decided that they weren’t even worth cutting up for firewood and haven’t collected any more since.

The one nice project that I made from the deck wood of these pallets is in the photo attached. Two pieces of red oak were planed to 1/2” thickness and joined together to make the dragon. I matched the two pieces well enough that the seam is almost completely invisible. Then I spent almost 50 hours cutting out my dragon with my scroll saw. Every line is a saw cut and every scale required removing the blade and placing it into the next starter hole, then cutting out the scale. This one project required collecting probably 200 pieces of pallet wood to find two that matched well enough. BTW, the seam is horizontal just below his hand that’s holding the clock. Can you see it?

Charley

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