Usable? 50 yr old 12" 4/4 reclaimed red oak

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by SchottFamily posted 08-10-2012 07:54 AM 832 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SchottFamily's profile


105 posts in 1536 days

08-10-2012 07:54 AM

I just bought a house that was built in 1965 and pulled a half dozen 15’ 12”x1” of what I think are red oak shelves out of the garage. I’m assuming they’re original to the house because of the nails used to secure them to the plaster slat walls. I would HATE to just throw them out if I didn’t have to.

Anyhow, the boards are very dry to the touch, but free of defects. Since the garage isn’t sealed or climate controlled – what kind of success do you think I would have in reusing them for some shop projects? They’re beautiful as they are, but as dry as they are, I was thinking stands for my joiner and planer. If I’m mistaking dry for dry rot, then I don’t want to take the chance. One of the boards didn’t pull free, but split in two when taking them down from the wall.


11 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


6325 posts in 2419 days

#1 posted 08-10-2012 08:27 AM

If they’re stable, I’m sure you could use them for lots of things. It doesn’t really look like red oak to me in that pic….can you take a couple of others that show more of the board and grain?

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 1966 days

#2 posted 08-10-2012 11:21 AM

Doesn’t look like oak to me (MHO) Whatever they are if they are in good shape you have some great lumber.
Build something nice out of them.

-- Life is good.

View WDHLT15's profile


1406 posts in 1519 days

#3 posted 08-10-2012 11:22 AM

They should work fine for about any project.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View RickLoDico's profile


55 posts in 2104 days

#4 posted 08-10-2012 11:57 AM

From that one pic it looks more like cherry than oak. Either way they’ll be fine for any project. they’re not going to be “too” dry. If you have a metal detector, check for any hidden nails.

-- He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

View Zinderin's profile


94 posts in 1176 days

#5 posted 08-10-2012 12:21 PM

Let them stabilize where you’re going to use them, I would think.

Please, you “wood whisperers” correct me if I’m wrong (I’m no expert), but I was taught wood will draw in moisture just as easily as it will expel it. That’s why wood stabilized and used in the high desert can have issues if you bring it to a beach house. Right? Wrong?

View ksSlim's profile


1135 posts in 1933 days

#6 posted 08-10-2012 12:51 PM

Depending on finish or lack thereof, all wood will attempt to allow moisture to move in and out to equalize with the environment.
The rule of thumb I was taught, the denser the wood, the more lateral (width wise) movement.
Always good to allow wood to stabilize in the area of use. After “climatized”, mill to rough size and watch for movement for a week or two before final milling and assembly.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


3380 posts in 1394 days

#7 posted 08-10-2012 01:23 PM

From the picture, I’m thinking cherry also. I would think that they would be fine for just about anything.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

5318 posts in 1372 days

#8 posted 08-10-2012 01:26 PM

Wood is good…. please don’t thow those babies away….

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


13294 posts in 2050 days

#9 posted 08-10-2012 02:06 PM

The majority of what i use is reclaimed lumber. It can be a pain in the neck to dimesion it but like you got yours it usually FREE. Use it ! At very worst its good stuff for shop cabinets and shelving.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 2739 days

#10 posted 08-10-2012 03:13 PM

That aint oak. I would say cherry. I got some 100 year old oak out of a hotel that was tour down.It is great to work with.

-- Chuck, wiswood2

View JohnEinNJ's profile


94 posts in 1391 days

#11 posted 08-10-2012 03:32 PM

definitely get a metal detector – the Rockler Little Wizard is only about $20, and works fine.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics