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Need Advice On Heart Pine Mantle.

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Forum topic by khutch posted 04-16-2016 06:35 PM 431 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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khutch

4 posts in 235 days


04-16-2016 06:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: heart pine mantle pine

Hi everyone, I have a bit of a project going on and I am wondering what you all thought about it and if any of you could offer some advice. I was given a heart pine beam out of a Civil War Gun Powder magazine. It measured 11”x11”x8’. It was hand hewn to form all the side. I took this beam to a man’s sawmill at this home and had him cut the beam to make a 4”high, 9 inch wide, 62” long mantle beam out of it. Upon first sawing, it became apparent that my beam had some issues with it. First of, an apparent crack or split became obvious upon removal of the top cut. This crack is pretty deep, however, I believe it can be repaired by possibly drilling into the beam from the back side, installing screws in the cracked portion to draw it back tight again. I know it will work to a certain extent because when the cracked portion is pushed, the gap closes up some. All I am wanting to do, is to create a solid beam that wont fall apart, so I can use it for my mantle on my custom fireplace. Should I glue the inside of the crack and screw it together? If so, what type of screws should I use that will not rust away due the the amount of resin still left in the wood? The beam is PURE lighter, so I am concerned on screw type.

My next issue is I am unsure if the beam will expand or contract once its placed in the house. I also do no know if the resin will be an issue or not. I would estimate the wood to be around 150 years since first being cut. It has layed out in the weather for the past year up until a couple of days ago when I had it cut. What type of sealer should I use to seal in the top grain of the wood to prevent the resin from seeping out? Basically, I have what could be a really special and awesome mantle…..but no idea how to treat it or preserve it. Any information would be awesome.


13 replies so far

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1592 posts in 2322 days


#1 posted 04-16-2016 09:30 PM

You have a very special and yet quite difficult piece of wood. The “lighter” wood will cause you major problems. When exposed to heat from the fireplace environment you will almost certainly have issues with the resin running out of the wood. Glues and finishes will not take well to the wood either because of the high resin content. And finally, since it will be around a fireplace there’s a serious possibility that it will catch fire and I can assure you that you don’t want to be close to it when it starts to burn.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

136 posts in 279 days


#2 posted 04-16-2016 09:36 PM

You are going to have a difficult time getting any kind of adhesive or finish to stick if the material is the same as what I have. A fresh cut surface is slightly sticky with pine rosin. I have seen heart pine floors that are oiled rather than varnished. That may be the reason why.

View bruc101's profile

bruc101

1077 posts in 3005 days


#3 posted 04-16-2016 09:53 PM

Personally, I would never have sawed that beam down that much to make a mantle. As the other posters have said, you may be in for a difficult time, and may not be able to use it now for a mantel.

I know a sawyer that would have only sawed a little off of it at a time over a period of time so it could acclimate to it’s surroundings. I’ve seen him do that several times and in the end had some beautiful resawn wood that could have been bad but turned out beautiful. He also let’s a beam rest after he’s got it to the planned size for a few weeks to see what new personalities it’s going to produce.

You opened that beam up into a world it didn’t know in a short period of time and it sounds like some of the stresses and hidden rasins have now come out to play.

Good luck.

-- Bruce Free Plans http://plans.sawmillvalley.org

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1939 days


#4 posted 04-17-2016 12:07 PM

You should heat the wood to set the pitch. Otherwise, like Herb says, you could have major pitch issues, and dripping pitch onto a fireplace hearth is not a good thing. I heat pine to 150 degrees and hold it for 24 hours in my kiln. This sets the pitch so that pitch will be solid at temps lower than this.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

View khutch's profile

khutch

4 posts in 235 days


#5 posted 04-18-2016 12:37 PM

The resin is not as bad now as it was to begin with. It seems to have dried somewhat, it wasnt ever super sticky, just enough you could tell it was there. It was my first time attempting to have a beam sawed and from what everyone is telling me, I screwed up. The fireplace will have gas logs installed and its pretty far recessed into the firebox, so Im not too concerned with fire. The logs will be used very rarely as I am in central Alabama, and our winters just arent very cold. Is there anyway to salvage what I have? Or should I, in everyone’s opinion, just scrap the idea and try to find another type of board? I really wanted this unique mantle as its something that isn’t normally seen in our area.

View khutch's profile

khutch

4 posts in 235 days


#6 posted 04-18-2016 12:42 PM

I do not have access to a kiln nor do I know anyone with a Kiln. I may as well just use this extremely heavy beam as a paper weight.

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

2143 posts in 1636 days


#7 posted 04-18-2016 11:03 PM

You have a 150 year old beam. Any stresses from drying and cutting have been worked out long ago. The crack has probably been there for many years and was a result of those stresses being relieved. The resin also has probably dried out to the point it won’t be a problem. You probably could seal the beam with shellac before finishing it.
The split I would not try to pull it closed. You might put a screw or two in it to stabilize it (or possibly dowels) but that might not be necessary. Your choice. I would fill the splits with epoxy mix some pigment into the epoxy to color it. You can either use a contrasting color to accent the split or go the other way and try to color the epoxy for a close match so that it isn’t easily seen. You could finish it with a polyurethane, I would look at a pour on epoxy bar finish. You say this will be in the house so you won’t have really extreme moisture changes inside I don’t think you will have to much problem with seasonal wood movement.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

22007 posts in 1801 days


#8 posted 04-18-2016 11:08 PM

I don’t think it will move much. For me, it’s still worth a try.

Welcome to Lumberjocks

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View putty's profile (online now)

putty

999 posts in 1070 days


#9 posted 04-18-2016 11:14 PM

You shouldn’t have any resin running out of 150 year old piece of wood… It would be solidified and well on its way to being amber

-- Putty

View hotbyte's profile

hotbyte

842 posts in 2439 days


#10 posted 04-19-2016 12:23 AM

Our house was built in 1895 and is almost all old pine. Years ago I pulled some rough sawn 1×10 attic decking up and replace with plywood. I used some to replace decayed siding on my shop which is same sized boards. One piece that gets a lot of sun has started weeping some rosin around a knot. I’ve also cut some beams and had them weep rosin. It’s not 150 years old but pretty close and still can weep.

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1939 days


#11 posted 04-19-2016 11:57 AM

Whatever the highest temperature that the pitch reached, that will be the point where the pitch is set no matter how old the pine wood is. If that was 100 degrees in use, then, if you put it inside a climate controlled space like a house for most uses, you would not have any problems. However, as a mantle, with the heat from a fire, you can exceed 100 degrees and the pitch will get sticky again and may weep and drip. You could get some black plastic, wrap the mantle in it, and set it in the sun until it gets very hot. That will help as the Alabama sun will get it very hot inside the black plastic, and that probably will be enough. I hope that you use the piece. It deserves it.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

View khutch's profile

khutch

4 posts in 235 days


#12 posted 04-19-2016 12:05 PM

This beam is 100% red color in the grain. I felt of it yesterday, and it is not tacky to the touch. I think I am going to give it a go and see what I can do with it. The only reason I am thinking of screwing the split is to simply stabilize it from cracking further when it is placed on the fireplace. I have a fireplace that is built specially for this beam that will actually hold the beam on top of it instead of it being screwed to the wall or laying on supports like some mantles are. The beam is EXTREMELY dense and heavy for its size. Almost like a rock. I’m guessing this is the “on its way to amber” that Putty had mentioned. I haven’t noticed any resin dripping or even accumulating on it since being sawn. I will get some pictures of the beam today to show everyone exactly what I am dealing with. Thanks so much for everyone’s input, please keep the information coming! I can see I will like being a member of the forum for many years to come with such Knowledgeable memebers.

View hotbyte's profile

hotbyte

842 posts in 2439 days


#13 posted 04-19-2016 12:06 PM

That makes sense and explains why my piece in the sun has started oozing. Also, why the friction from cutting/drilling causes oozing.

Whatever the highest temperature that the pitch reached, that will be the point where the pitch is set no matter how old the pine wood is. If that was 100 degrees in use, then, if you put it inside a climate controlled space like a house for most uses, you would not have any problems. However, as a mantle, with the heat from a fire, you can exceed 100 degrees and the pitch will get sticky again and may weep and drip. You could get some black plastic, wrap the mantle in it, and set it in the sun until it gets very hot. That will help as the Alabama sun will get it very hot inside the black plastic, and that probably will be enough. I hope that you use the piece. It deserves it.

- WDHLT15


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