I've got access to an entire barn's worth of barnwood including beams.
Provided they are cleaned and scanned with a metal detector, are they
any "harder" on the machinery than kiln dried hardwood?
The presence of dirt, grit and nails could certainly be most damaging,
but I would think it to be common sense to clean them off prior to
Boy are there some nice beams in there. And miles of pine.
Nahm uses the stuff all of the time. Probably three or four projects per
year. Always the metal detector, and through the sander to clean up the
grit, before it goes to the jointer or planer blades.
I imagine that a hand held belt sander, as opposed to a stationary wide
belt sander, would be sufficient.
To me, this is the best type of recycling! And pretty much the only way to
You lucky fellow, you!
The only problem with barn wood is trying to justify to your wife that
now you need a stationary planer. Depending on the age of the barn, the
wood will probably be fairly uneven so it takes a lot of planing to get
all that wood down to a usable thickness and it takes a LOT of time on a
A word of advice - thickness everything first. Then joint one side,
then thickness the other side to get your final board. The accumulated
grit and gunk is a little harder on blades so there's no use in trashing
both the jointer and the planer.
I did that.
I used a wire brush and metal detector. I did *not* belt-sand.
I would say that it was harder on the jointer and planer blades. I would
just plan on a resharpening after getting the top layer off.
The beams that I used (true 4x6) were very sandy from laying around the
construction site of my addition for a long time.
There was *alot* of waste. I assume that the beams were installed green
about a century ago and there was plenty of checking. But for the project
for which it was used I *wanted* to have those flaws to show off the fact
that it was recycled lumber. I'll post a few pics to abpw.
Reminds me of when I was a designer for a cabinet shop in the 80's.
A fellow bought a barn in Oklahoma, I think, and brought the boards in
in a horse trailer to get a set of cabinets made. We had to mill every
one of the 8-10" wide x 10-16' long WALNUT planks.
I think he said he bought the entire barn for $3000, what a shrewed
The set of Euopean frameless cabinets with Walnut raised panel
doors/drawer fronts cost $50,000. Imagine what they would have cost if
he didn't have his own wood!!!
Who cares - you're going to do these on your "old wood" set of planer
knives, where you don't mind the odd chip. Don't worry if you don't
have such a set, the first few boards will make them for you.
Use a metal detector to remove nails and anything that might fly out
at you, but sand and grit aren't magnetic anyway.
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