Barn Wood

I've come into possession of a fair amount of barn wood, something I've never worked with before. The question is, how do I take this weathered, glorious wood and make those beautiful things I've seen people make with it.
More specifically, do I sand it down to smooth it out, or just enough to get rid of the potential splinters. Also, do I finish it the same way I would with "normal" woods?
Any help is greatly appreciated.
Dakota Mike
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Barn wood is impossible to reuse but as a persoanl favor I'd be happy to haul it away for you. Where are you located?
Seriously, what you do with it will depend on the application and on the wood. Barn wood will typically be full of big and small bits of metal, sometimes including bullets and shotgun pellets. So the first step should probably be to go over it with a good metal detector and dig out all the metal.
Then beams may be resawn into dimensional lumber for furniture, or turning blanks, or just surface cleaned and resused for post and beam construction. Siding may be planed down to fresh wood, or just lightly sanded to remove the grey wood, depending mostly on taste, then used for raised panels, tabletops, doors etc.
Barns were typically made from a mixture of whatever grew locally, in some parts of the Eastern US chestnut was favored for siding and it is not unusual to find black walnut beams. There is a good chance it will be old-growth and probably plainly figured as fancy figure implies less stable wood and was typically not used for construction.
--

FF

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Michael Robinson wrote:

Brush/vacuum to remove the dirt. Carefully remove any metal, ceramics, bone, etc. that will bung up your blade. Do a light belt sanding to take our more dirt, long splinters, etc. Hit it again with the shop vac and inspect again for foreign stuff while you're at it. Now you are ready to joint, plane, resaw, etc. this stuff into whatever lumber you need for your project. If you want really nasty ugly stuff, stop after step 1.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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Here's mine: http://musial.ws/big_pile_o.htm
The barn was about 125 years old or so and from the ring sizes, it looks like the trees were at least 200 years old when they were cut down. Ring count is 20-30 rings per inch. 3 truckloads for a bit over 200.00 all 4/4 & 5/4
But enough gloating.
I'm planing it down and building an office/library. Frame and panel wainscoting around the room, book shelves, built in desk, etc. I'm selling some more of it to a guy who rehabs houses and he's going to mill it to use for flooring. That will probably still leave me with 400 b.f. or so for various stuff that I'm still thinking about.
I'm just using some orange shellac as a finish and it's BEAUTIFUL. If you're interested, I'll post some pictures of the shelves, etc.
Steve
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