reclaiming wood

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Forum topic by Glenn posted 07-07-2009 02:54 AM 1083 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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141 posts in 3388 days

07-07-2009 02:54 AM

I’m new to reclaiming wood (i.e., never done it), but have been considering it lately because quality hardwood around here is scarce.

I know someone who has 11 solid oak church pews with a blond finish for $485, which I assume, with a little planing, would yield quite a bit of wonderful lumber.

Assuming these are “normal,” beefy church pews in good shape, does this sound like a good deal which I should check out further?

-- Glenn, Arkansas

9 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117095 posts in 3578 days

#1 posted 07-07-2009 02:57 AM

I guess it deponds what you can make from them.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View patron's profile


13604 posts in 3342 days

#2 posted 07-07-2009 03:08 AM

only God can answer that , my son ! (lol)
have to look at them first ,
and guestimate the bd. ft. .
if you can put it to use ,
it sure beats no wood !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Glenn's profile


141 posts in 3388 days

#3 posted 07-07-2009 03:14 AM

lol, i guess i should measure them first.

-- Glenn, Arkansas

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3823 days

#4 posted 07-07-2009 03:21 AM

Glenn, they will yield some wood but as Jim said how useful the wood is going to be depends on how you are going to use them. I have a pew that my wife just had to have when she heard our church was giving them away (one of her many projects that she has “commissioned” me to do). It was 16 feet long and I had to cut it half to get it in my truck. The wood is maple and varies in thickness from about 13/16th to about an inch but very little of it is flat since it is curved to make the seating comfortable.

Getting flat stock to work with is going to require some planing so some of the thickness is going to be lost in the recycling process. Just looking at my pew for lumber I would be satisfied to get 1/2 inch thick stock out of it by the time I finished planing it. This would be good for boxes or drawers but for furniture it would have to be laminated. Now the ends of the pew, that I am working on, are about 2 inches thick but are painted. So I am not sure what type of wood is there but these should yield quite a bit of lumber that would be useful for furniture.

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

View aurora's profile


229 posts in 3253 days

#5 posted 07-07-2009 03:43 AM

i love reclaimed lumber, .. but get a magnet or nailfinder. i lost my ass on a project with reclaimed floorboards that had carpet tacks in them. i spent more in planer blades than i saved on lumber. project looked like a fine antique when finished, but i lost my religion cussing out the planer, knives and carpet tacks. some shops will check out the material for you, but you sort of pay for it. good luck and have fun. what’s the project your using it on ?

View Glenn's profile


141 posts in 3388 days

#6 posted 07-07-2009 04:03 AM

That’s all great info. I was thinking of making a bed and then stockpiling the rest for future projects.

-- Glenn, Arkansas

View hootr's profile


183 posts in 3347 days

#7 posted 07-07-2009 11:55 AM

hi glen, aurora hit it on the nose
use as nail finder and figure on sharpening planner blades afterward cause the varnish/paint is hard on blades
but the old wood can be worth it
don’t try to drum sand till its planed, varnish will ruin sandpaper in about 2 seconds
good lucki

-- Ron, Missouri

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3527 days

#8 posted 07-07-2009 05:26 PM

...just a thought… Buy the pews, refinish them, sell them at a profit and then go buy the wood you want. Just a thought.

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

View WibblyPig's profile


172 posts in 3275 days

#9 posted 07-08-2009 07:34 PM

Where in Arkansas are you? Here’s a link for woodfinder:

I’m willing to bet that allowing for 85 bucks in gas, you could spend that other 400 and get 3 or 4 times as much wood from a local mill.

Check out the website – I’m sure there are a few places near you that you don’t know about.

Also, check out these guys :

They’ll hook you up with someone local who has one of their mills and sells the wood.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

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