• Advertise with us

« back to Safety in the Woodworking Shop forum

Forum topic by Timoteo_l posted 10-14-2013 10:22 AM 752 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Timoteo_l's profile


1 post in 1706 days

10-14-2013 10:22 AM


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


4861 posts in 3045 days

#1 posted 10-14-2013 10:26 AM

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

1286 posts in 2994 days

#2 posted 10-16-2013 01:09 AM

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

29224 posts in 2334 days

#3 posted 10-16-2013 01:14 AM

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.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View robdem's profile


380 posts in 2603 days

#4 posted 10-16-2013 01:48 AM

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

1286 posts in 2994 days

#5 posted 10-17-2013 01:20 AM

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:

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