Early 1900s House is all mine to salvage...


My grandfather past away this year and his country "estate" was split up amoung his children. My aunt got the land that had the house where he was born and raised (he was 93 when he died). The house hasn't been lived in for many years but is still in relatively good shape considering its age. Anyway, my aunt told me I could salvage any wood from the house that I wanted. I pulled a few of the exterior wall planks and brought them home recently to check out. As soon as I cut into it I could smell that tourpentine smell like you smell from fat lighter. It's certainly nothing like the fat lighter we use to use to start fires (it's not sticky with resin) but it definitely has that sweet smell. I assume that this wood is old long leaf pine??? So my question is this...will this wood be good to build furniture with? If it is, I would probably never have to buy wood again, especially if I can get to the true 2x4 studs. I haven't even looked at the floor joists yet but I would think they would probably be pretty big considering the age of the house. Any thoughts? If it is usuable, what type of finish would you suggest? I'm a shellac man myself.
Thanks for your help, Greg
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How much time do you have to harvest this wood?
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My aunt wants to haved it burned by the local fire dept for practice at some point but she would most likely give me as much time as I need. Greg
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Greg:
Get all that stuff you can. It might be any number of pine types depending on your region. It almost doesn't matter what kind of pine you are looking at... it will be old growth stuff that is a joy to work with. It is hard, somtimes brittle, and is a bit like working with some of today's exotic.
Ahhh... but the smell. Makes you think of carpenters long gone by. And with some of hte stuff I have salvaged that was like this, it looked like some of the finest of woods available to the discerning eye. No kiddin... some of the annular rings were less than an eighth of an inch apart on some of the stuff I have found in the these old houses!
When I have a chance to remodel or work on an oldie, I usually save some of the wood, even if it is to make a pen or spoon or something from the old stuff just so I can work with it. The 2x4s used as framing are better material than a lot of the trim I seem to be buying these days.
Keep that stuff cool and dark though. It will be stable as a stone if you do, but it won't tolerate a really hot day (San Antonio TX, last Saturday was 98+) in the back of the truck. Those wonderful smells you are getting are because of the resins still in the wood. They will flash off quickly if they are cooking outside somewhere exposed to the UV.
Robert
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I've posted this tidbit before so should probably look it up to double check my memory but here goes anyway:
A few years back, 0I built a small step stool for our then 3 year old so's she could reach the bathroom countertop and sink. The wood was salvaged from our attic and eave crawl spaces when I insulated a few years earlier. Douglas Fir, old growth, harvested c. 1920.
In a 4" wide quartersawn section there are just over 200 rings as I recall - that's a ring between every 1/32" and 1/64". Had to use an awl point to keep my place when I counted.
--
Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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Fly-by-Night CC wrote:

Check out www.heartpine.com. Generally, in reclaimed SYP, a minimum of 6 rings per inch is acceptable, and it is often possible to find as many as 30, so your figure is only mildly surprising. All that time seasoning means the color is a lot better, too. Today, an awful lot of SYP gets knocked down at about 10-15 years old, the better to feed pulp and chip mills.
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Well, I finally took a piece of the wood I had and removed the old paint and sanded it. It is absolutely beautiful. There are about 15 rings per inch and it is very hard. I put a little shellac on one side and wow. I need as much of this stuff as I can possibly salvage!
Thanks, Greg
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Hate to be one to throw a wet blanket but be careful sanding painted vintage wood. Practically all paints prior to the '70s contained lead and sanding even a chemically stripped wood will release small particles of the lead paint into the air where you and others may breathe it in. (One of the hazards of old houses is that operating the double-hung windows creates lead paint dust from the abrasion of the painted surfaces - kids get the dust on their hands or teethe on the sill and can ingest enough lead to harm their development.) Ultimately it's up to you to decide the risks but thought I'd put the reminder out there anyway.
--
Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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On Fri, 03 Jun 2005 00:54:02 -0700, the inscrutable Fly-by-Night CC

OK, let's see a show of hands. To make it easier, looking for a smaller number of hands. Let's just raise ours if we have NOT ever been fishing and bit the little lead BB sinker onto our lines with our teeth. Let's raise our hands only if we have NEVER played with lead soldiers or stained glass came or wheel weights on our cars. Let's raise our hands if we have NEVER soldered anything.
Those of us not raising our hands are all reasonably alive, eh? We survived it as our parents and grandparents did. The risks are much less than one thinks if one follows the headlines.
So, were there any hands raised here at all? If so, I'd bet we could count 'em on one hand, even after a tablesaur accident.
Owie, drop by your local library and pick up a copy of Michael Crichton's newest book "State of Fear". It'll put an interesting bit of perspective into your life. Do the research (on the questions he brings up in you mind) to verify it for yourself. (THAT is the scary part. Everything we thought we knew about all these calamities was wrong.) ;)
-- "Not always right, but never uncertain." --Heinlein -=-=- http://www.diversify.com Wondrous Website Design
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Yeahbut just think how much more intelligent we'd be today if we hadn't done all those things? Hell, by now we'd be teletransporting and traveling at light speed if'n it weren't for those damn sinkers and lead toys (don't forget tetraethyl lead in gas).
My 70 year old mother frequently makes negative comments about the safety measures and products of today that didn't exist when I was growing up - like bike helmets and car seats. I remind her that just because my siblings and I didn't die or be seriously injured doesn't mean other parents aren't living with the loss or permanent damage their kids suffered.
One can certainly take precautions and protections too far - to the point of dulling life's experiences unnecessarily - but for the moderate price and mild inconvenience of strapping a helmet on my kid's noggin or clipping her into a car seat, it's a small price to pay for what I consider reasonable and common sense-ical.
--
Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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On Fri, 03 Jun 2005 13:14:07 -0700, the inscrutable Fly-by-Night CC

<g>
Granted, but look what's happening out there.

Insurance bills have quintupled this decade to pay for bogus claims. Attorneys have been let into court to fight for said bogosity. People are getting settlements which raise the cost of products for all of us and it was their fault for being STUPID in the first place. I'm tired of paying more for (or not being able to buy any longer) items which have been totally changed for "safety" reasons. I'm pissed aobut them taking my allergy medicine off the shelf because it was a danger to women. I'm not a woman, so label it MEN ONLY and give it back! WTFO? This is one of my hot buttons and I could rant for hours on it, so I'd better nip it now. <sigh> Well, maybe just a bit more...
Our fearless(?) leader(?) Shrub has wasted the first $30B on total nonsense under the guise of "national security" which wouldn't stop a single terrorist for more than about 20 minutes. Do YOU feel safer spending an extra 3 hours in "security" to go flying while all the baggage has been passed directly into the belly of the plane totally uninspected? I sure don't.
M. Jackson and M. Stewart end up in jail while Simpson and most of Enron, the Clintoons, bin Laden, et. al., go free. Do you feel safer?

Since falling down is a daily occurrence for kids, helmets are a good idea. I believe in seat belts in cars, too. And if adults want to ride motorcycles without helmets, I'm OK with that, too. I just want their status changed with the insurance company/hospital/clinic/MD. If they have an accident, it's their responsibility, not the ins. co., etc. Ditto people who don't use seat belts. Use a belt, get coverage. Otherwise it's a personal responsibility thing. Let's pass THAT one law and we'll all be better off. To do my part, I'm thinking of getting a DNR tattoo for my wrist. If and when I'm damaged that badly, DO NOT RESUSCITATE, just let me go. I've already donated my body to science fiction.
-- "Not always right, but never uncertain." --Heinlein -=-=- http://www.diversify.com Wondrous Website Design
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Citing Crichton's novel as evidence of anything serious doesn't carry much weight. I work with environmental scientists every day and consider myself pretty well versed in the basics of climate change science. His novel is a joke-- colleagues of mine are actually using it to teach undergrads what's wrong with the whole "global warming is a myth" school of thought.
You and other adults around us may not show any problems from lead exposure. But the EPA action level is, IIRC, just 10mcg/dl in human blood. Studies show that levels above 6mcg/dl in children can result in serious mental impairment. How many of the "less bright" adults around us may have been exposed to lead as children back when we all "knew it was safe" before those whacky environmentalists tried to scare us all?
Working with lead painted wood can be safe if you're careful, but I wouldn't do it indoors and wouldn't consider doing it anyplace around children. Just be sure you don't inhale or ingest any particles and you'll be OK. The tougher task is making sure none of it gets tracked into the house on your shoes or clothes, or in any other way creates a hazard to kids or pregnant women.
-kiwanda
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