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Wood too old?

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Forum topic by BMichs75 posted 06-07-2016 12:36 AM 1114 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BMichs75

40 posts in 1354 days


06-07-2016 12:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood table reclaimed

So is wood ever too old to use for a project? I had a friend who is tearing down a decent shoe late 1880’s house and said I could take whatever wood I want. The floor joists look promising and feel good in my hand, but haven’t had a chance to cut through it yet. The wood looks like possible oak or old growth pine. Planning on getting as many floor joists as possible (maybe 20 or so) to make a farm table. Any thoughts? I will hopefully get the wood this Friday and have some time to play with it a bit.

-- Brandon


15 replies so far

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Betsy

3386 posts in 3592 days


#1 posted 06-07-2016 12:46 AM

Lots of good reasons to use old wood. Unless it’s obviously rotted I’d go for it. Some of the prettiest wood is old reclaimed lumber. I’d take as much as you can politely take and look for the first opportunity to do a special favor for your buddy.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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HerbC

1660 posts in 2555 days


#2 posted 06-07-2016 03:32 AM

+1 on take all the old wood you can get… Don’t limit yourself to the floor joists, go for the flooring, any paneling, and any other useable wood available.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!

Herb

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

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Lazyman

1171 posts in 1083 days


#3 posted 06-07-2016 04:09 AM

If the house is in the east,there is a good chance that it has some American chestnut. It was used for framing, floors and other decorative pieces. Since most the Am. Chestnut was wiped out by disease, chestnut is a rare find so learn what it looks like and grab any you see.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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MadMark

979 posts in 1149 days


#4 posted 06-07-2016 04:33 AM

Don’t try to preserve the patina, plain it to S4S.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

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Cajun Wood Artist

291 posts in 638 days


#5 posted 06-07-2016 04:49 AM

I have and use a lot of 800 year old Louisiana Sinker Cypress that I do not consider too old to use.

-- Wood for projects is like a good Fart..."better when you cut it yourself"

View splatman's profile

splatman

586 posts in 1095 days


#6 posted 06-08-2016 02:51 AM

Wood too old? Is that even a thing?

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TheFridge

7272 posts in 1182 days


#7 posted 06-08-2016 02:56 AM

Never too old.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Dark_Lightning

2765 posts in 2805 days


#8 posted 06-08-2016 03:31 AM

Some wood gets hard as hell when it ages. I worked in construction in the early ‘90s for a living (and many more years, on and off, part-time), and I’ve seen full dimensional 2X4 DF that I had to pre-drill before I could run drywall screws into it. A real pain in the neck when on the time clock. YMMV in parts of the country other than the California desert.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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realcowtown_eric

605 posts in 1633 days


#9 posted 06-08-2016 04:48 AM

I’ll go along with what Dark Lightinng said, and add that one of my green oriented clients wanted me to re-use salvaged oak mouldings with 18ga brads, they wouldn’t pull out any way. They wanted me to reuse screws, that was not rational…..if I pulled them all out, sorted them and made one mistake as to length, and it popped thorugh the finished surface the whole cost advantage of thhe excercise would have been sucked up in the cost of repairing the damages.

DF particularly old is tougher than nails.

Eric
in Calgary

-- Real_cowtown_eric

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Tennessee

2512 posts in 2210 days


#10 posted 06-08-2016 11:28 AM

I just sold a wine bottle holder that was made from an oak beam from a barn constructed in 1876.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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jdh122

915 posts in 2513 days


#11 posted 06-08-2016 01:29 PM

Question for Dark_Lightning and Eric: Do you think there’s any chance the wood was that hard because it was old growth rather than because it was old? If it’s the age, what would be happening to the wood to make it so hard? The pitch hardens in softwood, maybe?
Just curious…

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View BMichs75's profile

BMichs75

40 posts in 1354 days


#12 posted 06-10-2016 07:39 PM

So here is my haul. A little disappointed there was not more to take, but it was buried under the rest of the house rubble. Here is what he saved for me. Looks like “real” 2×12 with the longest boards being 16 feet long.

-- Brandon

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Dark_Lightning

2765 posts in 2805 days


#13 posted 06-11-2016 06:29 PM



Question for Dark_Lightning and Eric: Do you think there s any chance the wood was that hard because it was old growth rather than because it was old? If it s the age, what would be happening to the wood to make it so hard? The pitch hardens in softwood, maybe?
Just curious…

- jdh122

That house was probably 50 years old at the time. Not sure if 1940s vintage counts as old growth. As for why it gets so hard, maybe it’s just because it is dry?

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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jdh122

915 posts in 2513 days


#14 posted 06-11-2016 08:16 PM

I think it’s unlikely that 1940s house would have old growth, although it would be more likely on the west coast than the east coast. Might be the dryness, but as I understand it, once it reaches moisture equilibrium it can’t dry more. Maybe there’s some effect of the number of expansion-contraction seasons it’s gone through that makes it get hard. Where’s a wood scientist when we need one?

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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AZWoody

876 posts in 920 days


#15 posted 06-11-2016 08:58 PM

Not sure if it gets harder or not but I have a violin that was made from an old post office that was torn down in Oregon from the 1800s.

Instrument makers prefer wood that is older.

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