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Rough Cut Oak 4x4" x10 - previously used as dunnage ????

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Forum topic by C_PLUS_Woodworker posted 04-20-2012 02:13 AM 5750 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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C_PLUS_Woodworker

461 posts in 1566 days


04-20-2012 02:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: oak

I can pick these up for just a couple of bucks each.

They were used previously to stack Railroad rails

They are untreated

Can I clean these up and use the oak?????

Thanks.

-- We must all walk our own green mile


3 replies so far

View Edziu's profile

Edziu

150 posts in 1709 days


#1 posted 04-20-2012 02:41 AM

Absolutely!

But, since you are getting a deal on the wood, buy yourself a moisture meter, because these were probably never dried to 6-8% like you’d expect furniture grade lumber to be.

View Doss's profile

Doss

779 posts in 923 days


#2 posted 04-20-2012 04:09 AM

Rip one open and find out how it looks. You can also get an idea of how wet is it as well. Rip… not crosscut.

Usually I don’t see much moisture when I’m prepping my logs into lumber and squaring up the ends. As soon as I make that first rip though, the moisture begins to pool on the surface after a few minutes.

The wood should be great though if they were properly protected (or at least somewhat protected) from ground and water damage.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Scsmith42's profile

Scsmith42

125 posts in 1335 days


#3 posted 04-20-2012 11:49 PM

I have a different take, and that is I would recommend against it, for these reasons.

First, dunnage typically is placed in the dirt and therefore the surface will have dirt, rocks, etc embedded in it. Definitely not good for planer and jointer knives.

Second, you will have creosote soaked into them from where they were in contact with the RR ties. Creosots is not a nice chemical (think carcinogenic).

Third, they are probably not kiln dried, and being in proximity to the ground most likely have some unwanted critters living inside them.

Fourth, most dunnage is around 3” x 4”, and 4” oak requires several years to air dry – more if it’s sitting on the ground.

Fifth – a lot of oak dunnage is cut from the center of the log, and is comprised primarily of juvenile wood, which tends to check and move a lot.

If you’re going to spend a few hundred hours building a nice piece of furniture, it would be a real disappointment if it had problems down the road due to poor quality wood.

Just my 2 cents.

Scott

-- Scott, North Carolina, www.quartersawnoak.com

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