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What kind of wood was used in Rowhomes in the early 1900s and what is this black covering?

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Forum topic by JMPeters posted 10-22-2012 07:43 PM 1530 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JMPeters

3 posts in 787 days


10-22-2012 07:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: reclaimed lumber lumber old wood black wood

I recently received some wood from a rowhome built around 1912 in Chester Pa. I think it is pine but i am not sure. It has a golden light brown color but it is covered in dark black dirt or stain. I tried to google this but couldnt find anything about it. Is this black stuff a toxic stain or treatment used in the early part of the century or just grime?


21 replies so far

View IsaacH's profile

IsaacH

128 posts in 841 days


#1 posted 10-22-2012 07:58 PM

if its paint or stain from 1912 you have the possibility of lead. DO NOT SAND IT!!!! if you can determine that its not dirt, you could try to plane it but keep all of your shavings misted with water to eliminate any dust . If you can determine that its just dirty , then sanding outside with a dust mask should be ok.

-- Isaac- Decatur, GA - "Your woodworking....NOT machining parts for NASA!!!"

View OnlyJustME's profile

OnlyJustME

1562 posts in 1122 days


#2 posted 10-22-2012 08:03 PM

Most likely some sort of pine, hemlock or fir wood. could be coated in creosote which would mean yes its toxic but can’t tell without pictures. Usually old grime or dirt is a dingy gray in color. what part of the home did the wood come from? wall, rafter, floor?

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View AKSteve's profile

AKSteve

444 posts in 1048 days


#3 posted 10-22-2012 09:47 PM

hmm I used to live in a row home in West Chester, I think it was probably Hemlock. don’t know what the black stuff is. be careful of lead though.

-- Steve - Wasilla, Alaska

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3580 posts in 2705 days


#4 posted 10-22-2012 10:36 PM

Wish we had more to judge. Kinda like ” WHAT IS THIS STUFF ON MY SHOES”?
Help us help you with some pics if possible.

-- bill@magraphics.us

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

1264 posts in 1041 days


#5 posted 10-22-2012 10:40 PM

May be mildew. May be paint. May be anything. Picture please.

View JMPeters's profile

JMPeters

3 posts in 787 days


#6 posted 10-24-2012 07:47 PM

Ok, here are the pics. Thanks everyone for helping out. Looking at it, I think it is just grime but still unsure. The wood itself is odd and havent seen it before. Im guessing hemlock since ive never seen hemlock before.

View patron's profile

patron

13156 posts in 2086 days


#7 posted 10-24-2012 08:10 PM

looks like dry fungus
those were studs from old plaster walls
with the plaster lath they used then
(1/4”x1 1/2” slats for the plaster to curl around)
the wet plaster probably started some mold
in the spaces sealed by the plaster
and then dried out
over the years

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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JMPeters

3 posts in 787 days


#8 posted 10-24-2012 08:22 PM

David- Have you ever worked with this and if so is it toxic? I know this may be obvious to some but Id like to work with these pieces if I can or throw them out ASAP if I cant…

View patron's profile

patron

13156 posts in 2086 days


#9 posted 10-24-2012 08:37 PM

done pleanty of remodeling
on old buildings

wear a good mask

they didn’t use any thing in those old buildings
to much work and cost then

all this toxic stuff (except for lead and asbestos)
is a new scare thing

most of the old framing was just mill lumber
(real dimensions and rough)

go ahead and run one over the jointer
and see what you get

should be good wood
(check for little nails from the lath strips)

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

11453 posts in 1751 days


#10 posted 10-24-2012 08:47 PM

its just old grime i wouldnt be concerned with lead or asbestos on those boards. if there was any asbestos it would have been in the plaster scratch coat. ive demolish plenty of himes with timber just like that and done a bunch of project with it too, my suggestion is to use a belt sander to get all the grime off and locate any nails before you use your planer. i cant wait to see what it looks like under that dirt

-- "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 patron's profile

patron

13156 posts in 2086 days


#11 posted 10-24-2012 08:51 PM

good call chrisstef
on the sanding first

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Don W's profile

Don W

15519 posts in 1312 days


#12 posted 10-24-2012 08:52 PM

I agree with Chris. The white lines are from lathe, so you may find a bunch of little nails. A lot of those lathe nails rusted off and the ends stay in. So make sure they’re gone before running through the planner. Belt sander is a good idea.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

11453 posts in 1751 days


#13 posted 10-24-2012 08:55 PM

and if you cant get the nails all the way out use a punch to bury them deeper than your cut

-- "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 Don W's profile

Don W

15519 posts in 1312 days


#14 posted 10-24-2012 08:57 PM

I use a hand held planer (the power kind) with a set of so-so blades if I think there is only a chance I’ll hit metal. Blades are cheaper, and its way quicker than the belt sander. If I’m sure of nails, then its the sander.

Wear eye protection!!!!!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

11453 posts in 1751 days


#15 posted 10-24-2012 11:04 PM

Post your pics when ya get it all cleaned up JM and welcome to the gang.

-- "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

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