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Forum topic by j_dubb posted 06-04-2014 01:17 PM 978 views 1 time favorited 54 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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j_dubb

188 posts in 529 days


06-04-2014 01:17 PM

A buddy reached out to me yesterday and told me he had a 2-story red cedar barn that had collapsed and I was welcome to the wood.

Drove out to his place and while some of the wood looks promising, it’s going to be a weekend project to salvage anything from it.

However…off to the side he had another building he had dissassembled. It was made out of these big beams. 12/4×6” x 8’. The ends of the beams had seen better days as they were in the ground, but the upper parts of the beams looks relatively decent. He told me I was welcome to take some of them.

I brought home about 8 of ‘em – I was thinking perhaps I could perhaps make a bench top out of ‘em.

Now, I’m not so sure. I took one of the beams and cut a hunk out of it and sanded it a bit to get to some discernible grain….but I haven’t the slightest idea what this stuff is. It smells like steak sauce. Honest to god. Steak sauce. When sanding the “dust” seems a bit…wet, maybe? But the wood is pretty light.

I’d estimate that the building was originally built in the 1800’s, but I cannot say that with any amount of certainty.

At any rate….on to the pictures.

-- Josh // "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." - Jack Handey


54 replies so far

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j_dubb

188 posts in 529 days


#1 posted 06-04-2014 01:34 PM

Update: Just spoke to my buddy some more for a little more info on the wood. The “building” the beams were used to build wasn’t a building per se. It was more like an enormous water tank. The beams sides were slightly angled and banded together, to create, for all intents and purposes, a giant wine barrel (for water).

He’s not certain if the water was in direct contact with the wood or if there was a liner of sorts at some point in time.

-- Josh // "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." - Jack Handey

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chrisstef

11336 posts in 1727 days


#2 posted 06-04-2014 01:46 PM

As far as I know they used redwood, cedar, doug fir, and white oak to create a lot of those old water holding tanks. They still use them on rooftops in NYC and as far as I know, the water is in contact with the wood, no liners. Id eliminate redwood from the mix as its not native to CT. I cant say that your chunk looks anything like cedar, df, or white oak all though. It reminds me of walnut but the sapwood doesn’t seem light enough and the face grain doesn’t match up either. But holy hell is that one serious chunk of timber Looking at that band of sap wood, that tree was gigantic!

Do you have any clearer pics of the end grain? Are the pores open and visable?

-- "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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j_dubb

188 posts in 529 days


#3 posted 06-04-2014 01:57 PM

Stef I’ll have to get back into the shoparage this afternoon and take another look. I sanded it down with 60 grit so it’s pretty fuzzy. As it was, the pores didn’t really appear to be open/visible.

But you’re right – the tree had to be absolutely enormous.

At my buddies place we used a reciprocating saw to cut off a piece closer to the end, and where we cut it it honestly looked like MDF the wood was so busted (probably because water had sat in the bottom for a long time), but farther up away from the bottom the inside was healthier like what I’ve pictured here.

-- Josh // "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." - Jack Handey

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chrisstef

11336 posts in 1727 days


#4 posted 06-04-2014 02:00 PM

Whatever it is, its cool as hell. Looks like perfect bench making material.

-- "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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JayT

2531 posts in 931 days


#5 posted 06-04-2014 02:22 PM

Dang, that’s pretty stuff.

I like Schwarz’s advice on workbench wood, “The material should be cheap, easy to get, heavy (if possible), dry-ish and heavy (if possible). After a few years of use, your bench will look like every other used bench – beat up, broke in and awesome.”

You’ve got the first two covered. As long as the stuff is heavy enough and dry, you’re good to go. Four or five 6in 12/4 planks of that stuff for a benchtop would be ridiculously awesome.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

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j_dubb

188 posts in 529 days


#6 posted 06-04-2014 02:25 PM

I ordered a moisture meter from amazon about half an hour ago. I’ll get it on Friday and test the water.

(put intended)

-- Josh // "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." - Jack Handey

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LiveEdge

285 posts in 341 days


#7 posted 06-04-2014 04:01 PM

I wonder if it is chestnut. They used that for barns and the trees can get large. It darkens with age. Any signs of insect damage?

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j_dubb

188 posts in 529 days


#8 posted 06-04-2014 04:07 PM

There are bored holes on the bottoms of the beams where, I presume, they were in the ground. But other than that I’m not sure. I can grab some pictures of that this afternoon as well if it might help identify the wood.

-- Josh // "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." - Jack Handey

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Wolfdaddy

263 posts in 555 days


#9 posted 06-04-2014 04:10 PM

From where I’m sitting it looks like it could be old cypress. The dust from sanding does sometimes have a “wet” or waxy texture, and it is fairly light.

-- Your failures do not take away your possibilities.

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chrisstef

11336 posts in 1727 days


#10 posted 06-04-2014 04:55 PM

Im leaning toward the thought process of wolfdaddy as well. Sticky saw dust usually comes from an oily wood but there isn’t a ton of oily woods native to New England that I know of. Mid 1800’s barn would have to be all local stuff in my guesstimation. Cocobolo, cypress, rosewood, teak are all oily.

-- "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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LiveEdge

285 posts in 341 days


#11 posted 06-04-2014 05:54 PM

I withdraw my suggestion for Chestnut. I perused some pictures of old beams and don’t think this looks like that. If you just saw the dark flat grain you’d say it looked a lot like oak. I dunno. I think these are always fun to be detective on. Really you need a macro picture of the endgrain and that might get you somewhere.

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j_dubb

188 posts in 529 days


#12 posted 06-04-2014 06:08 PM

Yeah, I”ll break out the nikon and a decent lens to try and get a proper macro shot of the end grain later as well.

-- Josh // "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." - Jack Handey

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gfadvm

11353 posts in 1410 days


#13 posted 06-05-2014 12:49 AM

That sure looks like walnut from here. Not sure I’ve seen/smelled walnut Steak Sauce though!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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WDHLT15

1184 posts in 1196 days


#14 posted 06-05-2014 12:50 AM

I think that it is black walnut.

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

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chrisstef

11336 posts in 1727 days


#15 posted 06-05-2014 12:56 AM

Hoped those 2 guys would chime in ^.

Now Josh …say this with me …. real slow like .. In a tone raising from barry white to say …. axl rose ..

Mooottthhheeerrrr Looooaaad (james hetfield) ahhhh!!

-- "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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