Lumber Advice

There is a local store that sells leftover building materials and/or salvaged materials from renovation projects. It is run by the local Habitat For Humanity. They always have lots of lumber in selected bins. The exterior of the wood mostly looks old, weathered, and dusty. The cost is usually cheap, cheap, cheap. I have planer now, so I think this would be a great opportunity.
My question: How do I tell the type of wood? I know I could score some great wood at a great price but I don't know what I would be buying. The grain patterns are usually so obscured, combined with my limited knowledge that I haven't a clue.
I sure would hate to miss an opportunity for some great wood because I could identify it. Are there any websites or books that could help me with this question?
Thanks, Brad
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By the book on identifying wood by Tauton Press. You most likely will find pine, some cypress, perhaps some chestnut. Doubtful about any large quanity of cabinetmaking woods such as cherry, walnut, etc.
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That all depends upon the location. In older homes here in St. Louis, I've run into a lot of structural walnut members. Also, the older homes have mostly old growth wood - tight rings, very stable and hard as hell. You'll also find grand old homes that are past their prime, in a bad neighborhood, etc. and the beautiful millwork ends up getting painted.
If you're going to mill it, watch out for 2 things - nails and lead paint.
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Thanks for the advice. I will get the book and a metal finding gizmo. That is a good call. I don't want to buy new blades yet.
Much Obliged, Brad
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