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Planing old wood a cheaper alternative?

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Forum topic by PoorCollegeStudent posted 06-22-2007 02:55 AM 4162 views 1 time favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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PoorCollegeStudent

22 posts in 2643 days


06-22-2007 02:55 AM

I’m new to the forums, but I’ve been reading them quite a bit and I’m very happy to join this little community.

I am a young woodworker, but it’s quickly become addicting (and its a very expensive addiction, especially for a college student).

I’ve been coniving, trying to cut some expenses, and I thought that I could buy a planer and plane down some old wood thus saving the expense of wood. After a few projects it seems like the planer would pay itself off. I have been trying to research it a bit and I know I have to be very careful to make sure any kind of metal is out of the wood (maybe by buying a metal detector).

Are there any pitfalls I’m not seeing? I’ve never actually used a planer, they seem magical. Take a nasty board and make it look fresh… for free!

Thanks for your help!

Scott

-- -- a bad day woodworking is better than a good day at work --


20 replies so far

View HandsOgold's profile

HandsOgold

95 posts in 2654 days


#1 posted 06-22-2007 04:03 AM

There are a lot of questions that have to be asked. Are you discussing a hand planer or table planer, which can be expensive. and of course quality counts (and costs.) What kind of boards do you believe you can get on the cheap? and what do you plan on using them for. Good quality old hardwood can cost more than current lumber. Do you wish to do small projects with exotoc wood? That is hard to find in “used” condition. It is probably easier to veneer particle board for a project than trying to prep reclaimed wood for such a project. I would try to get my stockpile of boards Before the planer. There is the story of the new African nation of Ghana, whose foreign minister borrowed $2,000,000 from Russia to build the most modern mango canning plant on the continent. He then discovered that Ghana doesnt GROW any mangoes.

-- Dan

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WayneC

12290 posts in 2748 days


#2 posted 06-22-2007 04:24 AM

And there is the issue of getting square stock. A planer is part of the equation. Normally you would need a jointer as well. There are ways of working around it (sled for your planer for example). Also, the dirt and grit on old boards can quickly dull jointer/planer blades. You proabably should sand old wood before you plane it.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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PoorCollegeStudent

22 posts in 2643 days


#3 posted 06-22-2007 05:06 AM

Well… I think you’re definitely right about finding the boards before I get a planer. I was talking about a machine planer. And basically, I’ll settle for whatever wood I can find. I’d just like to have some stinking wood without going broke doing it.

How do you know if the wood is salvagable? I’ve found wood in dumpsters in old furniture and such. Last year I made a coffee table for a friend out of wood from a couch they threw out in my dorm.

So it’s important to clean it first. What is a sled? I have heard people say you should have both a planer and a jointer. If the purpose of the jointer is to square it then couldn’t I use a table saw instead? This is an honest question. I have no idea if that’s true or not.

Thanks for responding so quickly.

-- -- a bad day woodworking is better than a good day at work --

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2737 days


#4 posted 06-22-2007 05:07 AM

Take a look at craigslist.com . You’ll find folks giving away old furniture, some suitable for recycling into wood, pallets, scrap wood etc.

You’ll definitely want a metal detector.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

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Bill

2579 posts in 2812 days


#5 posted 06-22-2007 07:12 PM

If you get a mechanical planer, you will definitely need a metal detector for salvaged wood. One hidden nail and you will need a new set of blades at least.

Someone also posted on here about checking out places that receive things on pallets, especially from overseas. While we use things like Pine here, other places will use mahogany or teak or something “exotic” to build their pallets with.

The jointer is designed to give you a square surface on a board. The planer is designed to bring wood to a certain thickness. If the wood is not square, the planer will simply make the wood the same thickness, but still may not be square. As for the tablesaw, you need a square face to place against your fence for your cuts.

A cross cutting sled will allow you to rip boards long than normal on your table saw than with just a miter bar.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View doyoulikegumwood's profile

doyoulikegumwood

384 posts in 2643 days


#6 posted 06-22-2007 07:16 PM

welcome abored pcs usally you run your boared thru a jointer to make them squar befor runing them thru you TS this way you know you have 1 side that is true then you can true up the other side of the board. ive recycled wood for years thier are pros and cons to it. first off you hit the nail on the head with the metal detector i have a hand held wand like they use at the air port. my favorite place to get recycled wood id my moms 110 year old house. thru out many renovations ive pulled a plethra or nice old wood out of her house. i got about 600 board feet or oak out of her kitchinthat they used as sub floor under maple hard wood i reclamed that as well. most of the maple i used to make her some really nice cabnets out of. but long story short if you are going to do this a plainer would be a good investment depending on what your tool colection looks like now

-- I buy tools so i can make more money,so ican buy more tools so I can work more, to make more money, so I can buy more tool, so I can work more

View doyoulikegumwood's profile

doyoulikegumwood

384 posts in 2643 days


#7 posted 06-22-2007 07:24 PM

oh and in my long winded response i forgot some thing another way to cut costes on lumber is stay away from big box stores my current lumber guy is a molding maker in town he orders his lumber by the truck load and gladly selles lumber to me cheaper then most lumber yards and still at a profit for himself just ask around not sure where in texes you are but thier are a ton of jocks in texes that can help you out

-- I buy tools so i can make more money,so ican buy more tools so I can work more, to make more money, so I can buy more tool, so I can work more

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2961 days


#8 posted 06-22-2007 08:43 PM

One alternative to a jointer would be a hand plane used for jointing. With a hand plane, a square and a little patience you can square up a board and bring it to whatever thickness you desire. We are talking about a somewhat slower process and one that requires more work on your part, but it can be done and was done for 100’s of years. In fact, in the olden days they only flattened the part of the board that was going to show outward. The inner side of the board was rough. I’m sorry, I used to have a link to that site, but I can’t find it. Good luck.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View PoorCollegeStudent's profile

PoorCollegeStudent

22 posts in 2643 days


#9 posted 06-24-2007 11:25 PM

Thanks for all of your advice! I’m excited to try to find a place that has “exotic” crates. I never would have thought of that. I’m going to try to talk to some companies that don’t get their wood from the lumber yard and see if I can hitch on to some sort of deal.

Now I must face my bigger problem. Having to set up temporary shop where ever I can.

I’m glad I got into this little community. You guys are awesome.

-- -- a bad day woodworking is better than a good day at work --

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2812 days


#10 posted 06-25-2007 01:38 AM

Well since everything is bigger in Texas, I am sure someone has space you can borrow. Must be one of those 12 car garages around somewhere.

Maybe one of the local high schools offers adult classes in wood shop. Then you could get shop time without the shop.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2856 days


#11 posted 06-25-2007 02:03 AM

Hello PoorCollegeStudent;
—-I was reading about your looking for wood and thought I would pass on this link to you about where to look for ‘much wood’. We discussed this back some months ago and then also maybe some have new ideas about where to look! Ideas of most popular places to get good quality wood

Hope this helps you in finding more wood then you can ever fit into your ‘temporary shop’, and I wouldn’t let temporary shops or any-thing keep you from achieving all you set your heart to do. As I often tell folks, where there’s a will, their’s a way….I myself have built furniture at the kitchen table while also sharing that kitchen space with other family members and moving from there to a shed in the dead of winters with no heat and doing finish carpentry with gloves on my hands….

On jointing, I might add that I have jointed boards with circular saws and table saws….it just takes time and patience, which we all have.

GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2812 days


#12 posted 06-25-2007 02:04 AM

Wayne suggests looking on craigslist for things like wood, tools and such. Bob has also suggested a site, I think it was freerecycle.org or something like that. Might be able to pick up a few things you need.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12290 posts in 2748 days


#13 posted 06-25-2007 02:08 AM

Also Habitat for Humanity ReStores is another potential source for wood and tools.

I suggest investing some time in learning about quality old tools. Never know what you may come across at a yard sale or flea market.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 2977 days


#14 posted 06-25-2007 02:19 AM

Old furniture, pallet wood (though lots of it is of the lowest grade), and old architectural items are a good place to get lumber (if the furniture, doors, etc… are old enough there might not be any metal fasteners holding them together. Taking apart an old table (watch the curb on trash day) or door will certainly give you a sense of where all the screws and other nasty bits (that’ll ruin your planer blades) are.

Lots of good wood out there (and lots of great advice before mine).

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2812 days


#15 posted 06-25-2007 02:25 AM

All great ideas Scott.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

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