Hangar beams/Old growth?

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Forum topic by HawkDriver posted 04-27-2011 05:21 AM 1458 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View HawkDriver's profile


447 posts in 2655 days

04-27-2011 05:21 AM

We have a couple of old hangars that are being demolished where I work(Barstow-Daggett Airport). The following is an excerpt from the all knowing wikipedia:

“During World War II the airfield was used by the United States Army Air Force Fourth Air Force The base was first constructed by the Douglas Aircraft Company to modify the A-20 “Havoc” light bombers then being sent to the USSR under the Lend Lease program. Later the base was used for training P-38 fighter aircraft in gunnery and using the new rockets fitted under the P-38s’ wings.[3]

The various aircraft accident reports show the base was used by transient aircraft from all branches of the military. After the end of WW 2, the base shut down as an active airfield, but was used by the USMC as an open air storage area. There is a military presence at the airport today, and it is not uncommon to see uniformed personnel refueling their helicopters at the fuel island.

Today the Army has based several UH-60 Blackhawks there operating under the NTC aviation company which on paper is based in Fort Irwin.”

The hangars in question are the ones constructed in the 40’s for the Air Force. They are large in size at about 10000 square feet. Some beams are solid and appear from the ground to be about 8” or greater x 16” or greater. Some are also constructed with smaller sizes held together with carriage bolts. The hangars are constructed entirely of what appear to me to be a pine of some sort.

The following is a picture of one that was leveled today:

Being in the high desert of SoCal, the timber obviously isn’t from around the area, which causes me to have the following questions:

1. Does anyone have any idea of the type of lumber used during this timeframe for such projects?

2. I will be reclaiming some of the beams and am curious to any input those of you may have for working with timber this old that has been in a desert environment for this long. The interior beams have been kept out of what little rain we do receive each year, but the hangar doors have been open for years.

3. I plan on making some benches for our newer facility here to keep the historic part of these hangars around. Any of you have any suggestions as to other projects I’d love to hear them.

Any insight, questions or comments you have is appreciated. I will post some pics of the beams when they are available for me to pick up.

-- Patrick, Helicopters don't fly. They beat the air into submission.

7 replies so far

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3764 days

#1 posted 04-27-2011 07:04 AM

I would suspect Redwood was brought from up north around Redding maybe Mendicino or Tahoe or as far north as trinity forest.
It would be very clear, straight and stable in the desert climate.

My inlaws live ourside Palmdale and have a barn we took down and the ridgebeams were redwood.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3775 days

#2 posted 04-27-2011 07:27 AM

I am guessing doug fir from the age and size. Should be old growth, and tight grained, but a softwood as well.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3019 days

#3 posted 04-27-2011 02:15 PM

I am glad you are going to re-purpose some of that timber. More people NEED to do that.I tore down some old houses that use Douglas fir as the framing, when it gets older it tends to split when nailing, all you need to do is pre -drill some holes before using screws or nails. Post some pictures of what you have made with this material.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View McKinneyMike's profile


80 posts in 2683 days

#4 posted 04-27-2011 11:36 PM

I would say that they are Long Leaf Pine as this was the wood of choice for almost all government buildings that I have seen salvaged before. Cut a piece and if it has a strong smell of turpentine, you have your answer.

-- McKinney Hardwood Lumber --Specializing in exotic and figured hardwood lumber -McKinney, TX

View HawkDriver's profile


447 posts in 2655 days

#5 posted 04-28-2011 06:38 AM

I got up close this afternoon before heading home and took a few close ups. The wood smelled musty only. It was amazingly straight and very little if any knots.

-- Patrick, Helicopters don't fly. They beat the air into submission.

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3775 days

#6 posted 04-28-2011 07:09 AM

I got some doug fir from a mill that was built in the 1880’s looked the same only tighter grain. Still finding pitch pockets. Nice beams, mostly 12×12 by 24 ft long, looks very close.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3915 days

#7 posted 04-28-2011 07:19 AM

turning that into a pot of gold is possible

commitment isn’t far off convinced

i think both are required

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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