Reclaimed Barn Wood Flooring Questions

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Forum topic by cuda567 posted 12-02-2014 06:52 PM 1341 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 863 days

12-02-2014 06:52 PM

I am currently building a barroom and have purchased approx 500sq feet of white oak planks that were used for flooring in a barn and are very hard.
These Planks are all different thicknesses and cupped and not square at all. I was thinking about just squaring them up and laying as in the picture but I really think I should cut the width down to 6”max and run 1 face over the jointer and then planer.

Does anyone have any thoughts? I am very new to woodworking and would appreciate any ideas

7 replies so far

View Ub1chris's profile


79 posts in 800 days

#1 posted 12-02-2014 10:25 PM

A very ambitious project for a newbie.
I milled some wood for flooring once.
It was not as easy as it seems.
For me at least – more trouble than its worth.
For only 500ft it is a little easier than the amount I had to do.

Jointing/planing is probably a good idea.
Don’t be tempted to zip through it quickly though.
Any errors will really stand out.
As well as ripping to 6” (or even narrower) shorter lengths may be easier to work with, even although it may not look as nice
Good luck, and keep us updated on your progress.


View cuda567's profile


4 posts in 863 days

#2 posted 12-03-2014 01:09 AM

Thanks for the reply Chris, I am a little over my head,
I just told the wife I am going to have to upgrade my table saw shes ecstatic…..not:) and add dust collection, currently I have a bench top ryobi piece of junk, I am going to install 220 for the larger table saw. I do have a grizzly 6” jointer that I think will work good, my planer is questionable its a 12”grizzly benchtop not sure if it has enough power.

Chris do you think I should tongue and groove?

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13569 posts in 2038 days

#3 posted 12-03-2014 01:38 AM

Dave – I actually like the look of what you have there. I would plane from the bottom to get them to consistent thickness (tripping hazzard otherwise), and would maybe clean up the really out ot square ends, and give it another look before moving forward with more drastic actions.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 1621 days

#4 posted 12-03-2014 01:56 AM

I had a customer once bring in some old flooring/planks he got from an old school house it was some old white oak. a good 1 inch thick.

I trimmed a little bit off each end to eliminate any dirt,rocks ect from the ends, a few pieces had some nasty knots I cut out, Loose or had voids in them. Skimmed both sides with the moulder then picked the best face and planned it to 3/4. I did T&G it, since I did not have a end matcher I took a slot cutter to the ends and made splines for the ends. Ends have to be perfectly square.

Personally I would have not done the spline bit but the customer wanted it done that way. It was a mix of 4-6 inch wide. We ended up with 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 T&G wide planks. Some of that old growth lumber is some darn pretty stuff… It be real wise to look at it closely cause you never know what your going to get.

He did bring back about 50ft of the 5 1/2 wide stuff to mill down to 3 1/2 to make it all work. They did a row of wide then narrow and I have to say it look real nice.

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Snipes's profile


87 posts in 1664 days

#5 posted 12-03-2014 03:56 PM

If you want it rustic square the ends, clean up the sides, knock down the edge to match the one next to it and nail it down. Hit it with sander and your choice of finish and it will look great.

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2997 days

#6 posted 12-03-2014 04:18 PM

If you don’t have one it would bea good idea to buy an inexpensive metal detector before doing and milling of used wood.

-- Custom furniture

View cuda567's profile


4 posts in 863 days

#7 posted 12-04-2014 02:03 AM

Thanks for the great info and suggestions, this site is an incredible source for woodworking information.
Yes I have been going over all my reclaimed wood with a metal detector never know what you will find in 100year old barn wood.
I’m still mulling over my next approach on how to handle the flooring, I do like rustic, I just don’t know if I want it so rustic that it looks like I just threw it together.

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