Old Lumber

I have some joists that are about 3" X 12" . They came out of an old building and are thought to be about 100yrs old. Any ideas about what kind of wood they would have used for this then? Maybe pine or fir? And if so would it be worth using for furniture projects? Because floor boards were nailed on one edge it would seem you would cut off about 2-3" of waste to get rid of possible nails before ruining jointer blades etc. Never done anything like this before , any advice welcome.
Thanks, Chris
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'd say there's a good chance they are yellow poplar. Poplar used to be used very often for beams and joists because the trees grew very tall and very straight.
Doug

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Chris asks:

Also use a metal detector, just to make sure.
Where are you? In the U.S., you could be dealing with pine, fir, chestnut, oak, maple, almost anything. Many years ago, I went out with a woman whose brothers framed some houses in CT with maple. I'm almighty glad I didn't have to do the fasteners there!
Charlie Self "Ain't no man can avoid being born average, but there ain't no man got to be common." Satchel Paige
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote in

I had a house in Waterbury, CT. Joists, studs, rafters all oak.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Oh yea, fasteners. While working on my grandmother's house (the one with walnut walls) we had to attach some 2x4s to the wall. Regular nails would just turn to pretzels rather than drive into that stuff. I got some hardened nails and a good number of them simply *broke*, damned dangerous when the did too.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What Charlie Says is true its hard to tell what you have especially from the size, ' I grew up in Boston and when i got to do work in some old buildings you never knew what you were cutting into. Wash DC was the same some of those old row house's had 3x12 oak joists 12" on center.
Same as a lot of old Barns, when a farmer needed to build a Barn he cleared out a stand of trees, cut the wood for his barn and had more clear ground to plant his crops.
He never give a damn what wood it was, wood was wood.
Clean some of it up you may suprised at what you find. Could be like opening a birthday gift<G>
Good Luck, George

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Could be anything, really. Back in those days, they used whatever was available. You may get lucky and find chestnut! Clean up some of it and post a pic on news:alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking and maybe someone can tell.
Or, you could avoid the hassle and let me have them.
Frank
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Could be darn near anything. Our previous house was built in 1928. Most of the framing is rough-sawn beech. Most of what isn't beech is sugar maple. There's a little bit of white oak thrown in just for variety, and one joist in the basement appears to be yellow pine.

Depends a lot on the species, and what type of furniture you want to make.

Metal detector.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
They're junk. Hey, I'll do you a favor and dispose of them for you.
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Interesting thread - there was an add in our local paper for "Chestnut" lumber. It said there were 2x4, 2x6 & 3x4 in various lengths.
I called the guy today - he's a local farmer. He said they'd dismantled an old house on his property, and were selling the lumber. He said it was mainly rafters, wall studs, and floor joists. Yes, my ears did perk up some! He wouldn't give me a price - said to come and look and make him an offer.
Not sure what to offer him if it's in good wood. The local "antique" lumber places charge anywhere from $6/bf and up. I've been a little hesitant to buy used lumber, from the standpoint of hidden nails and metal and because I'm still a little new and learning to identify various wood and what condition it's in.
I don't know much about chestnut other than it's a hardwood. Is it good to build furniture with? Also, my next project is a workbench - would it be good for the top or legs? If anyone has any experience, especially buying used or recycled wood, I'd appreciate hearing your opinion.
Thanks -
Nick B

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 28 Oct 2003 02:58:11 GMT, "Nick Bozovich"

I wouldn't hesitate. Make an offer. Take it home. Build what you like, except for that workbench top, I'd use a closed grain wood.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Good wood and good for furniture, but a bit soft for bench top.
John Martin
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
JMartin957 wrote:

Plus it would be pretty much criminal to build something like a workbench out of a nearly extinct species that used to be the king of the forest.
If you (well, the OP) must build a workbench out of it, build a damn nice one!
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you've got a piece that's easy to handle, weigh it. If you don't have a scale accurate for it's weight, use a bathroom scale - weigh yourself, then weigh youself carrying it.
Measure carefully and calculate the density. If it's really dense, it's a hardwood etc. You can compare it to listed wood densities to narrow down the selection.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Chris wrote:

Could be anything. FWIW, there was an old feed mill here (southwestern Virginia) about that age. Someone took it apart block by block, board by board to get the timbers. Filled up lots of flatbed trucks hauling it all off. It was all white oak.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Don't know the answers to your questions but since you brought it up...
After my maternal grandmother died we worked on her house to get it to a state my mother could stand to sell it. After pulling down the umpteen layers of paper (many "newspaper") covering the upstairs walls & ceiling guess what I found; the walls & ceiling were made of 1x8 or bigger black walnut. Mom said some one had to told her dad that was "the best wood" so that's what the cut when building. All the many coats of white paint base boards & window trim too. Sold the house for next to nothing to the first person who needed a house and didn't have "any money".
Then there's my dad's sister's barn. The barn has grown out of and over a log cabin/home. One of the walls of the original cabin can be seen inside pretty well at old windows & "out side" door. Squared logs at least 16 inches on a side of American Chestnut.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks, a lot of good ideas here. FYI the wood came from a warehouse in New York City, it was built in the late 1800's. It's sound , no rot. I'll clean some up see what it looks like. The density thing sounds interesting.
Chris

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Could also be something like eastern hemlock, making it about worthless for anything but what it was used for.
Answer is to clean a section with a sharp edge tool, and identify. Density means less than appearance in any application you might find for the wood, so why bother.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

In NYC, by the late 1800's, they weren't cutting lumber locally (it was all long gone), so odds are it's not going to be one of those "cut whatever's close" deals. In that era there was a lot of large-scale lumbering being done in the south, and on the west coast (I believe Michigan had been largely cut over by then). Odds are they'll turn out to be southern yellow pine, that was very popular for beams, trusses, etc at the time.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I did a total remodel on an old homestead place in southern Ohio, and after stripping the lath and plaster, I started to drill the studs to send in the first electrical service the house had ever seen. I said "no, you're kidding", as I first saw the shavings. I picked up a handful and smelled them. Cedar studs, every one of them. All exactly 16" centers. Balloon framed. Poplar 2 x 8 floor joists.
It was built slightly pre 1800, as I recall. All milled off the land it was built on.
--
Jim in NC



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.