using old wood


I'm doing some structural work on an old addition. A fair amount of the wood I take off is in decent shape. (No water damage, in particular.) It's T&G sheathing, 2x6's, and (especially) clapboards. It all seems to nail OK.
It would be nice to just re-use this stuff, where I can. Is there an informed opinion on doing this?
Thanks, George
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One concern would be to ensure it is nail-free (or at least you are aware of the location of any nails) when you cut it.
Not knowing exactly where it came from and where it's going to be used/ re-used, I guess the question would be: Do *you* have any doubts about whether or not it should be used for the purpose you have in mind?
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On Thu, 9 Oct 2008 10:25:14 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

No ... but there's always the 'things I didn't know' - like, maybe "old wood has lost its elasticity, so it doesn't have any grip, and your nails will end up popping," or something like that.
G
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wrote:

Wood logs are recovered from rivers, lake beds after many years. Barns/homes are dismantled and moved.
My tendency is too make smaller pieces out of bigger pieces. I'm a wood scrounge..
If the nails are popping, maybe it's the wrong hammer!
Use the wood, you determine fit for the job.
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George wrote:

I reuse stuff all the time--most older lumber is far better quality material than new. If surface checking on tuba-x material is excessive, I'll plane it down to one-by if it isn't going to be hidden. Structurally, unless it is actually rotted or split up too badly it'll be as good as or better than new.
Only problems are - additional time/effort required to clean it up by pulling nails, etc., (the primary reason commercial and professionals don't is that added cost) - related but if it needs finishing again it may take more extensive prep work owing to filling nail holes and the surface oxidation/existing finish - possibly appearance if not hidden but that's cosmetic defect only so for framing, who cares? - sometimes it's harder to work owing to being much harder than new lumber (fir or SYP are particularly noticeable in that regard). Again that really goes back to point (1) of taking more time/effort (but probably having better material).
I've taken 16- to 20-ft 2x6, -8, -10, -12's out of places that were essentially knot-free. Imagine the cost of one of even one of them suckers today _if_ you could even find it!!!
--
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dpb wrote:

I'll add an 'AMEN' from the peanut gallery to the above. When I was a wee lad, we used clear redwood for gutter boards and outside window trim. Not even a rich man could do that today. When I think back to the big scraps we routinely threw on the burn pile back then (every construction site had one), I could cry. Who knew? Poster above is correct about old wood getting hard as a rock- whatever the heck this place is framed with, I can't drive nails in it, or drill it with a dull bit. I just drill pilot holes and use screws now, to avoid trashing the drywall on the wall behind where I am working.
When salvaging old wood, your nose and a sharp icepick are helpful- nose to smell any funny-looking spots, and ice pick to probe for mushiness. If you can afford it, one of those airport metal detector wands like Norm uses on his show is a good saw and planer blade saver. If that is too pricey, a fistful of super-magnets in the end of an old sock will at least find the big ones.
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

In Campbell County, VA in the late '60s they salvaged an old school house and were selling off the various beams, joists, flooring, etc, etc., ...
I was inspecting a pile of from 3x to 5x beams from 12 to 16" deep and 16 to 20 ft long. It looked suspiciously dark and a little surreptitious slivers w/ the pocketknife revealed what I suspected--black walnut. I took it all for $1500 (a king's ransom then for a newly graduated fella' w/ new kid and house) and ended up w/ something on the order of 5000 bd-ft of what virtually all graded 1C or better walnut...
--
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dpb wrote:

lifetime of projects, or reselling it and making a few bucks? Either way, better that than the landfill. If I tripped across anything like that now, I couldn't take advantage of it, short of renting a storage locker. No space, no tools, and I'm no Norm Abrams skill-wise, either.
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote: ...

Built quite a lot of furniture w/ a sizable fraction (was doing that as moonlighting job back then) and then another sizable fraction went into replacing and extending interior trim, doors, windows, etc., of antebellum houses in Lynchburg during a period where many old, rundown rental houses in the older part of town were being rehab'ed by other young professionals needing affordable housing in a tight market and (like me at the time) w/ more time than actual cash.
Unfortunately, what was left I had to sell owing to not having storage for it when left Lynchburg... :(
--
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When I was a kid we used recycled wood for building a tree house. We would go around the neighborhood asking people if they had any wood we could have.
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Underprivledged kid. We had a lumber yard down the road.
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"George" wrote

I take it you are putting it back up where it came from, replacing a few pieces as needed? It will work fine if not warped or damaged (as you seem to indicate).
You may find a few pieces break or are otherwise damaged when you take them down but likely as not, even those can be re-worked for trims or smaller spots. A bit of a pain cleaning it up, but not too bad. I find it about even to the pain of having to make a trip to the local dump to get rid of it.
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If your work is being inspected by a building inspector at some point, they might look for a grade stamp, and fail you if the old wood doesn't have it. Not a common problem, but it could happen.
JK
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Re-using wood is becoming more popular as new growth wood is not as good as some of the old wood. Cost is a big factor also. It is ecologically sound also.
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I reuse wood in good shape all the time. Occasionally done some dumpster diving in the past for brand new wood.
I lived in VT for many years. If you have an old building to demo, especially barns, you put an ad someplace. It will be stripped to the foundation for free by people who want wood, people who want wood that can't be got any more (full 1" & better flooring planks, 8x8 & 12x12 long timbers, etc) and people who want anything they can haul. Last fall a recycle org totally disassembled an old town building to the foundation and even swept up and raked.
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I recycle as much of a building as I can. I have no problem pulling some nails and cutting off split ends to salvage as much as possible. Nail pulling is a great chore to give visitors when you don't feel like talking. ;)
Older wood is better than newer wood. It just is. The only constraint is how much time you are willing to spend to salvage a piece. It's not just the cost of the new wood you'll be saving, you'll be saving space in the dumpster.
R
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wrote:

What one would be doing with that time otherwise and is that of more value, tangable or intangable, to the particular person.
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