Preping Reclaimed Lumber

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Forum topic by johnnymo posted 08-21-2009 05:39 AM 13830 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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309 posts in 3354 days

08-21-2009 05:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: pine planer

I have a lot of reclaimed wood that I would like to plane. I know I need to get a metal detector for finding nails and screws but what about the grit that is on the wood? I recently purchased a Jet 10” jointer/planer combo and I don’t want to mess up the knives on it. Can I go ahead and start planing the wood (I think it’s pine) or do I need to sand the grit off the wood first before planing.

-- John in Arizona (but it's a dry heat!)

16 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8540 posts in 3797 days

#1 posted 08-21-2009 05:44 AM

what is this “grit” – if this is goo, I would use an angle grinder with some wheel brushes and clean it off, or use some chemical that will desolve it, and then wipe it off, otherwise it WILL gum up your planer/joiner knives real fast – like – REAL fast

I just used reclaimed bowling alley lanes to build a workbench, and I used a wheel brush to take off the tar and finish that was on the floor slabs before jointing/planing/routing the material. before I did that – I tried hand planing it off, but it completely marred, and gummed my hand plane after a few strokes to the point it wouldn’t cut through anymore.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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309 posts in 3354 days

#2 posted 08-21-2009 05:55 AM

The grit is mostly dirt. The wood was used to hold metal tubes, bars, and sheetmetal together on pallets so there is some type of lubricant on some of these. I did do some sanding and the wood looks good underneath. I was wondering, to save time, if I could just run the wood through the planer?

-- John in Arizona (but it's a dry heat!)

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3611 days

#3 posted 08-21-2009 06:04 AM

I would use a good stiff wire brush and remove as much of the grit and dirt as possible. If you have an “old” set of knives I would use those first and then change blades when you get the initial pass done for final thicknessing.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View patron's profile


13630 posts in 3490 days

#4 posted 08-21-2009 06:05 AM

some comercial shops will plane boards ,
for a fee , and they use old blades to do it ,
if you want to do it yourself ,
get another set of knives ,
and run the ones you got already in the machine.

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

View john's profile


2376 posts in 4530 days

#5 posted 08-21-2009 11:24 AM

I use reclaimed wood everyday so i decided the easiest and fastest way to clean up recycled wood is with a cheap planer and cheap blades . I scrape off as much crap as i can with a scraper and that’s it .

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

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Mike Gager

665 posts in 3416 days

#6 posted 08-21-2009 01:36 PM

how about a belt sander?

View TheWingDoctor's profile


14 posts in 3591 days

#7 posted 08-21-2009 04:21 PM

The junk on these boards will destroy your planer/jointer knives in a heartbeat, and then you do not have a way to get a good finished surface without replacing the blades. I watched Norm :) do this, and I have used it also with good results, use a metal detector or a sharp eye to remove all the metal and then remove the surface junk with a course belt on a portable belt sander. The grit and and other junk will not hurt the sanding belt like it will those expensive planer blades. Once you have the wood as clean as you can get it run it through the jointer and the planer to bring the surface true.

Saving money is great, but save those planer blades too!


-- Bruce - Fav. Quote "A man's got to know his limitations." Dirty Harry Calahan

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3674 days

#8 posted 08-22-2009 04:50 PM

I like to use my drum sander with 80 grit on it to remove the dirty outer layer when using reclaimed lumber. If you don’t have a drum sander I recommend using a beltsander as was previously stated.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3821 days

#9 posted 08-22-2009 05:12 PM

You might wont to clean the lumber up before you run it though the planer.

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3532 days

#10 posted 08-22-2009 05:43 PM

I just used a wire brush, followed by a quick once over with an old paintbrush to remove dirt on old lumber and my planer blades held up pretty well. Well, they did, until one particular board. It had a lot of old nail holes, but no nails/metal. I cleaned it up some and ran it through and that was the end of useful life for my blades. Someone had apparently used the board as a form for pouring concrete at one time and some of the nail holes had filled up with concrete. One in a million chance that would happen I guess. Just use common sense and be careful and realize any grit left on the wood is going to have some affect on the blade, however small, so it will dull it faster than perfectly clean wood. If there is an oily buildup, use a scraper as someone mentioned above.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View johnnymo's profile


309 posts in 3354 days

#11 posted 08-23-2009 04:18 AM

Wow! Thanks for all the suggestions. A lot of great ideas here. Again, thanks! Keep the ideas coming!

-- John in Arizona (but it's a dry heat!)

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3630 days

#12 posted 08-23-2009 04:33 AM

You could always just hose them down real well. If you have a pressure washer that would take it off. Then you let it dry real well before you plane it.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View rayb444's profile


5 posts in 1498 days

#13 posted 09-15-2014 05:03 PM

I use a pressure washer and it works really well.

View CambridgeSupply's profile


1 post in 302 days

#14 posted 12-24-2017 06:00 AM

Adding a resounding agreement to rayb444. We’ve washed tens of thousands of bf of gritty reclaimed lumber. We’ve saved hundreds and hundreds in sharpening fees, not to mention the significant downtime of changing out blades, calibrating new ones, etc…

-- Joseph, TX,

View TheFridge's profile


10359 posts in 1635 days

#15 posted 12-24-2017 07:08 AM

I use reclaimed wood everyday so i decided the easiest and fastest way to clean up recycled wood is with a cheap planer and cheap blades . I scrape off as much crap as i can with a scraper and that s it .

- john

Ditto. Have a 10” ryobi scrub planer I use. After wire brush. No sense it killing the blades completely. Otherwise I use a scrub plane.

Edit: pressure washer sounds awesome.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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