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Forum topic by Timoteo_l posted 282 days ago 391 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 306 days

282 days ago


I am new to woodworking but about 6 months ago bought some beams from a house build in 1905 here in Portland Oregon and made a bed with them. Now that I have finished, my friend asked if they were treated with creosote. Needless to say this worried me a great deal! Is there a way to know? I’ve posted a picture of the bed. The beams are quite dark but I don’t know if this was just a stain. I had no itching, etc. with working on bed…

5 replies so far

View b2rtch's profile


4286 posts in 1645 days

#1 posted 282 days ago

The link does not work.
Post the pictures from your computer using the tool “img” just above this box where you write your message

-- Bert

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1595 days

#2 posted 281 days ago

It’s likely not creosote. Quick test:

Does it stink?
Is does it get black smears on everything?

Look at a fresh electric pole or railroad tie. It does weather off a bit on the electric poles but still will have a strong smell.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13222 posts in 935 days

#3 posted 281 days ago

Creosote is like a tar. Hard to mistake and really hard to remove. If you were able to process the wood normally, it probably wasn’t that.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View robdem's profile


308 posts in 1203 days

#4 posted 281 days ago

If beams were treated with creosote the beams would be dark all the way thru the wood not just on the outside . The smell test wont work if beams are hundred years old .Know this because work with railroad ties everyday when we cut up 20 year old ties no smell to them .

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1595 days

#5 posted 280 days ago

If kept inside as beams, the creosote wouldn’t leach out like on a railroad tie out in the weather. It would just get a crust on it and get harder. It ends up looking more like black glass when you chip it.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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