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Forum topic by 1900corey posted 01-30-2018 01:46 PM 730 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1900corey

5 posts in 314 days


01-30-2018 01:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: barn wood barnwood acclimation selecting reclaimed wood question milling finishing refurbishing

Hi All,

I’m venturing into making a barnwood kitchen table for my family. We have 3 young kids who destroy everything, so the spirit of this project is to have a surface with visual imperfections and get it done relatively cheaply. I’m a novice woodworker and have never worked with reclaimed wood. For now, my plan is to start with appx. 3” stock, rip it to 6” so I can joint the bottoms to get a flat surface to attach to the base (metal base, style TBD), joint the inside edges so I can glue them together, and possibly cap the ends with a breadboard. It would be finished with a pour-on epoxy so that I’d have a durable surface that can be easily cleaned. I’ve read up on a number of other LJ Forum threads, but I didn’t see answers to these questions. Appreciate any help you can offer.

Species
Beyond aesthetics, how important is the species in reclaimed wood? I’ve read a lot about species movement, but does that apply to boards that have been drying for 50+ years? Species workability isn’t an issue to me, as I only plan to joint the bottoms/edges, and lightly sand the tops. If they had low moisture content and I finished them in epoxy, would they still move?

Bread boards
Are they needed to stop significant movement on 2.5” stock that’s encased in an epoxy finish?

Stock location
Short question: I believe I should avoid stock that’s been piled outside, but A lot of the people I’ve contacted on Craigslist within 50 mi of Minneapolis keep their boards in a pile outside. If the boards aren’t rotted on the outside, would they be usable? Seems like the moisture/freeze cycle could cause issues.

Acclimation
I’ll buy a moisture meter and read up on acceptable moisture levels. Any idea of the approximate drying/acclimation time in my basement (days/weeks/months)?

Would seemingly straight boards warp & cup as they acclimate to my basement, or was that worked out in their decades of being in a barn?

Finish
I’m a fan of minimal/satin finishes, but as I mentioned, I’m considering a pour-on epoxy (like US Composites kleer kote http://www.uscomposites.com/kk121.html ). I’m not a fan of the high gloss finish, but my thought is that durability takes precedence. Are you aware of a finish that’s similar, but not as shiny?

I also plan to brush on a coat of it to the bottom to keep moisture in check. Is there any reason I should us a different finish on the bottom of the table top? Any recommendations of finishing bottom vs top first?


14 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5086 posts in 2548 days


#1 posted 01-30-2018 02:38 PM

If they had low moisture content and I finished them in epoxy, would they still move?

Yes, wood will always move, you can’t prevent it. The only solution is to allow for it. When you attach the top to the base use slotted holes that will allow for expansion and contraction in width.

Bread boards
Are they needed to stop significant movement on 2.5” stock that’s encased in an epoxy finish?

Bread board ends, do not prevent movement and if properly constructed will allow for it, their purpose is to prevent cupping and aesthetics, they are not really necessary.

Would seemingly straight boards warp & cup as they acclimate to my basement, or was that worked out in their decades of being in a barn?

They might, wood always seeks equilibrium with the ambient humidity, if you basement is warm and dry all should be fine. If it is cold and damp, the wood might actually pick up moisture.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View LiveEdge's profile

LiveEdge

594 posts in 1817 days


#2 posted 01-30-2018 07:05 PM

I’ll pose a question about the philosophy of working with salvage wood and you can ponder. Why are you worrying about wood movement and other things that go into “fine woodworking” when you already mentioned you want a table with imperfections from the get go? I’ve built a farmhouse table from reclaimed wood (see projects) and one of the beautiful things about it is I worried much less about the glue-up being perfect. For example, one of the boards has a small bow that sits about 1/32” above its neighbor. I just sanded it close to smooth and let it go. The wear from the sanding looks like the distress I was going for anyway.

So I’d humbly suggest that you do some basic due diligence (which you are by asking these questions in the first place), but don’t stress about it as much as if you were building a table you hope your kids will inherit (which I’ve also done, see projects again).

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

1052 posts in 3014 days


#3 posted 01-30-2018 08:51 PM

You don’t need to “stop” wood movement in tables, you need to account for it in the construction techniques. If it’s a table with stretchers just make sure the top is attached with z-clips or figure-8 clips (or wooden buttons) and there’s no need to worry more about it. I don’t think breadboard ends are necessary in that case.

If the table is a trestle-style, then breadboard ends can help with warping, but need to be constructed so as to allow the top to move, and the top needs to be attached to the trestle in a way that also allows for movement (slotted holes are the simplest way).

Personally I think that epoxy and farm-style tables don’t go together very well. True, I don’t like the look of epoxy finishes in general, and many people do like it. But epoxy, while a tough finish, is pretty hard to repair and I feel it will show the damage more than other types of finishes might.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2892 posts in 2222 days


#4 posted 01-30-2018 11:27 PM

A too-shiny epoxy surface can easily be dulled with extra fine steel wool, to any grade of “satin” that you desire.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

595 posts in 1666 days


#5 posted 01-31-2018 12:13 AM

Teach your kids to respect well-made things. Only badly behaved kids “destroy everything”.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View Richard Lee's profile

Richard Lee

196 posts in 972 days


#6 posted 01-31-2018 12:37 AM



Teach your kids to respect well-made things. Only badly behaved kids “destroy everything”.

- William Shelley

Ditto

View Richard Lee's profile

Richard Lee

196 posts in 972 days


#7 posted 01-31-2018 12:38 AM

Make it out of 1/4 steel plate, end of problem.

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

595 posts in 1666 days


#8 posted 01-31-2018 01:04 AM



Make it out of 1/4 steel plate, end of problem.

- Richard Lee

This would actually look really cool. Just don’t run into the corners. Ouch!

Seriously though, even as thin as 1/8” steel plate uniformly fastened, or glue laminated to a piece of plywood, could provide just the durable surface OP is looking for.

At some point I thought it would be really neat to replace my house’s main floors with 1/4” or thicker steel plate, but it’s actually more expensive than lots of other wood options and would be quite difficult to install.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View Richard Lee's profile

Richard Lee

196 posts in 972 days


#9 posted 01-31-2018 01:39 AM


Make it out of 1/4 steel plate, end of problem.

- Richard Lee

This would actually look really cool. Just don t run into the corners. Ouch!

Seriously though, even as thin as 1/8” steel plate uniformly fastened, or glue laminated to a piece of plywood, could provide just the durable surface OP is looking for.

At some point I thought it would be really neat to replace my house s main floors with 1/4” or thicker steel plate, but it s actually more expensive than lots of other wood options and would be quite difficult to install.

- William Shelley

I was being Facetious.

View 1900corey's profile

1900corey

5 posts in 314 days


#10 posted 01-31-2018 05:39 PM

Thanks for your feedback. Comments about slotted holes etc on the breadboard were particularly helpful.

Bondo – thanks for clarifying the notion of breadboards allowing movement. My basement is dry so they will hopefully not absorb any additional moisture.

LiveEdge – my fear with the movement was more that it would somehow crack the finish. I’m not as concerned with the initial construction as I am with pouring on a smooth epoxy that later bulges or cracks. I find the contrast between rustic wood and a smooth finish and metal base appealing… just wouldn’t then want the finish to be compromised and allow water in (which was the purpose of the epoxy finish). I’ll continue researching and appreciate your thoughts.

Runwscissors- nice name! I’ll experiment with dulling the finish on some scraps.

W Shelley and +1 – unsolisited advice; save it for the parenting forum. People like you made me reluctant to post my questions in the first place. I wonder how many people read through the threads and decide not to post due to know-it-alls.

Thanks again for your help all. Im still in the planning phase. I’ll post pics once I make some headway.

View 1900corey's profile

1900corey

5 posts in 314 days


#11 posted 03-17-2018 07:29 PM

Just thought I’d update this thread. I initially chose reclaimed wood because I Thought it would be a cheaper option. In the Minneapolis area it’s more of a racket and the average cost per bord foot was close to $7; some deliver periodically and that’s closer to $5. At that rate I opted for 8/4 walnut (about $9 bdft). I’ll finish with Waterlox, which i understand is pretty durable and easily repairable. Here it is in the works. First pic is after milling dry fit; second is glueup. Don’t judge me for the excess squeeze out… it was my first

glueup this big!

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1470 posts in 800 days


#12 posted 03-17-2018 07:58 PM

Very nice looking table.


Teach your kids to respect well-made things. Only badly behaved kids “destroy everything”.

- William Shelley

Ditto

- Richard Lee

Do you guys have kids?? My 3 kids are grown and they are still destroying things and they are well behaved college grads. It just shifts from furniture to cars. The 33 yr old just pulled the handle off of the microwave yesterday. IT NEVER STOPS!! :-)

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Richard Lee's profile

Richard Lee

196 posts in 972 days


#13 posted 03-17-2018 08:09 PM


Very nice looking table.

Teach your kids to respect well-made things. Only badly behaved kids “destroy everything”.

- William Shelley

Ditto

- Richard Lee

Do you guys have kids?? My 3 kids are grown and they are still destroying things and they are well behaved college grads. It just shifts from furniture to cars. The 33 yr old just pulled the handle off of the microwave yesterday. IT NEVER STOPS!! :-)

- Andybb

The table looks real nice. BTW

Yes I have 2 , both in Univ. now. If one of them ripped the handle off my anything they would be replacing or repairing it. If they ruin something its coming out of their pocket not mine.
To me its your fault not theirs.

View mrg's profile

mrg

837 posts in 3196 days


#14 posted 03-18-2018 03:05 AM

That is going to be a nice looking table. Squeeze out is a good thing, means you have enough glue.

-- mrg

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