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Forum topic by ajosephg posted 03-11-2009 10:43 PM 1934 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1880 posts in 3558 days

03-11-2009 10:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question pine oak

There are many old wooden chicken houses in the part of the country that have become eyesores and fire hazards. The county is going to pass an ordinance allowing them to be burned. When one of the local bureaucrats was asked about recycling the wood, he said it couldn’t, because it was “green” when the buildings were constructed and therefore it would be nigh unto impossible to pull the nails out, and the wood would be so hard that it would be impossible to drive nails into again.

This doesn’t sound logical, but thought I’d ask the experts.

-- Joe

15 replies so far

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3556 days

#1 posted 03-11-2009 10:55 PM

Sounds like our normal bureacracy. They would rather burn and take to landfill than to salvage the material. This country needs to earn to recycle like the Germans do.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3819 days

#2 posted 03-11-2009 11:25 PM

I have to concur with Dave’s statement. A neighbor built his house in the late 30’s with recycled oak beams from a building that was being torn down. Over the years these have hardened so much that a common nail will bend before it can be driven into the wood.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 3693 days

#3 posted 03-11-2009 11:35 PM

I bought some 100 year old 2×4 and2×6 on ebay they were 2 foot long , they came out of a old hotel they were tearing down in new york . realy nice color and grain for what I neaded .they were also very cheap,as the guy quated shipping incul. It cost him more for shipping than I paid for the wood It was very hard and dry. lots of dust when working with it

-- Chuck, wiswood2

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3524 days

#4 posted 03-11-2009 11:47 PM

That’s why there are so many types of screws….........! Wood here is rather hard to come by and someone wants to have a weeny roast?!?

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3677 days

#5 posted 03-12-2009 12:09 AM

When being elected/hired to office, Politicians and city/county workers will tell you anything you wnat to hear, we all know this. When they want something they will tell you, we need to recycle and go green, when they are “IN”, that all goes out the window,they don’t really care in most cases about being green, and it’s cheaper to burn stuff, than to recycle it, which is true, but IF they don’t have to spend money,a nd people are willing to take the wood and to take nails screws out, why should they care?

My only concern would be possible ammonia build up from the Chicken Poo over the years. Is that possible or is it just me over thinking? I certainly wouldn’t use it to make something to eat off of, like a table or whatever, but anything else, I can see being useful.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3558 days

#6 posted 03-12-2009 12:18 AM

I doubt if there would be any bad stuff left over from the chickens. These buildings are pretty open for air circulation and I think the litter was removed after every batch of chickens. Also most of them have not been used for many years and are in various stages of decay so if there had been bad stuff it’s probably gone by now. Even so, you are right I wouldn’t want to eat off of it. Since the lumber is well weathered its highest use would probably be for craft stuff.

-- Joe

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129 posts in 3373 days

#7 posted 03-12-2009 12:22 AM

I wouldn’t want to use any of the wood that was near ground level, but wood from the walls and rafters could be some pretty nice stuff. It is liable to be very hard, but like Kindlingmaker said, that’s why there are so many types of screws! Also nothing that wood glue won’t cure…

-- John, co-owner Sawdust 'n Stitches

View toolman409's profile


20 posts in 3403 days

#8 posted 03-12-2009 06:50 AM

I’ve looked at some so called good wood in fallen down old buildings. One was from a guy who was told he could have the scrap steel for cleaning up the building. I think he wanted someone like me to produce the sweat so he could cash in.

It was obvious to me no one had bent a weed around the pile of crap for decades. The wood was completely exposed and nasty as all get out.

On the other hand, I was given some hay loft floor wood from a barn in TN that had been torn down. It was obvious the wood had NOT been exposed to weather. I was told the barn was built at least 110 yrs ago and the wood was beech. I worked really hard (milling) to get enough good wood to make a couple flag cases. Lots of splits, cracks, etc. I was amazed how nice they came out. It finished out a lot like cherry. My eyes just popped when I put the finish on it.

I’m not so sure but what it was actually chestnut, but then again the friend I got it from was a woodworker for years and knew A LOT about wood, so I have to go with what he told me.

Our friend passed away a year or so ago. His widow has one of the cases and I am proud of that. He had grown up in the area where the barn had been. That was a special meaning to his family.

About chicken houses. Some fall down during ice storms. I wouldn’t go near one of those unless it was during the coldest days of winter, preferrably under 32 deg F for several days. Need I say why?

If you can find a building that is just STARTING to get unstable and is ready to be torn down….....

-- Keith, NW Alabama

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4003 days

#9 posted 03-12-2009 10:32 AM

I think its a myth that wood hardens with age. Probably brought about by people comparing slow growing old growth woods to todays fast growing cousins. Trees grown in deep forest conditions are simply more dense as a result of the shady conditions making for a tighter grain.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View tinnman65's profile


1357 posts in 3411 days

#10 posted 03-12-2009 02:57 PM

You should find one with some decent wood, build a nice small little table or something from the wood, and take it to the next meeting. It would be interesting to see them get around that one. But then again you my find yourself enlisted to tearing down chicken houses all summer long. They may say “if you want them good, otherwise were going to burn them”.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3558 days

#11 posted 03-12-2009 03:43 PM

Tinnman -
You have nailed (no pun intended) the real problem of repurposiing these – they are so big that a person working alone would die of old age before finishing even one house. Then there are all of the bugs and other critters that live around these things.

-- Joe

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3891 days

#12 posted 03-12-2009 04:21 PM

I use a fair bit of re-cycled wood from churches, barns, and homes so it really depends on what specie of wood they are using. Trying to put drive a 6” ardox spike into a brand new freshly cut piece of fir is impossible without a pilot hole and yes, when the fir is dry…...forget it, maybe thats why its almost always “bolted” together. For the most part, churches, barns, old homes around here, used white pine.

I have chickens and…...........they ”stink”. Cleaning the coop once a week and they still stink. I really cant imagine 100 years worth of chicken fece permeating into the wood and then processing it without gagging.

Horses, cattle, sheep…...............have a certain smell to the manure but chicken manure is dreadful!!!

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 3863 days

#13 posted 03-12-2009 06:24 PM

It would be nice for people to as a carpenter (actually more than one) for their opinion on something like this rather than assume that because you are human you have some inherited ability to know how wood ages.

It seems to me that reclaimed/recycled wood has to be individually evaluated for worth. I use pallets a lot for smaller projects and on the same pallet you can have a real nice piece of white oak right next to a crappy piece of pine. Even if the board looks good a first, once it is separated from a structure and has been stickered and allowed to acclimate it may turn out to be worthless. Every board is different.


-- He said wood...

View LeeinEdmonton's profile


254 posts in 3579 days

#14 posted 03-13-2009 12:51 AM

I think you have all seen John’s (Cranbrook 2) extreme birdhouses. He uses reclaimed 100 yr plus wood salvaged from barns. I think most of you have also seen my recycled wood projects ie: garden bench, arbors, & animated toys. However, you gotta be alert to critters…especially chicken mites re chicken houses & wood from areas where carpenter ants & termites are common. As to wood hardening with age….this is common with fir & is fact but useful projects can still be fashioned from same. In the case of nailing or screws, predrilling is the usual approach.


-- Lee

View pitchnsplinters's profile


262 posts in 3435 days

#15 posted 03-13-2009 01:17 AM

Reclaimed wood example.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

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