Pergola wood


I want to get some 4 x 12 beams for a pergola. I have four, IIRC, down in Vegas, about 12 to 16 feet long, square on the ends. They are about ten to twenty years old, and straight as day one.
Are they pine? Fir? What was used for external wood back then? If I was to go buy some stuff today, what would I ask for? Really, I think I'll put an ad on Craigslist for old wood, and just use stuff that is old that has kept straight. Guides for identifying wood would be helpful.
It seems that this old wood is fairly dense (heavy). Just going to band saw it on the ends, or carve it. I live in a dry climate with little rain, and reasonably cold in the winter.
Steve
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I usually watch for (and stores included) if it is outside stored wood, don't use it inside. If it is inside stored wood then don't use it outside.
One of my uncles retired, as an old farmer, and finally got around to using up some old wood in his drivin' shed, possibly over a hundred years old. He was always a good work worker and produced some very nice projects, not having much toime, being a busy farmer.
He was ripping an old piece of ash (can't remember exactlly how big but a large old barn beam) he wanted to use in a project. When he got half way down the length, the piece exploded end to end and he thought he was dead. When he pulled himeslf to gether again, it seems one piece has a twist in it almost 360 degrees from end to end and had been wating for all those years to "let loose" from the rest of the beam.
All those years of drying didn't settle this piece of wood down.
I want to get some 4 x 12 beams for a pergola. I have four, IIRC, down in Vegas, about 12 to 16 feet long, square on the ends. They are about ten to twenty years old, and straight as day one.
Are they pine? Fir? What was used for external wood back then? If I was to go buy some stuff today, what would I ask for? Really, I think I'll put an ad on Craigslist for old wood, and just use stuff that is old that has kept straight. Guides for identifying wood would be helpful.
It seems that this old wood is fairly dense (heavy). Just going to band saw it on the ends, or carve it. I live in a dry climate with little rain, and reasonably cold in the winter.
Steve
visit my blog at http://cabgbypasssurgery.com
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Steve B wrote:

If the reference to Vegas means location rather than the proposed payout plan, then more than likely they're either Doug fir or perhaps redwood (altho you later went on to say they're fairly hard so that would tend to negate the latter). My vote in the western states would be most likely fir.
As for what to ask for today, a key to your IRA would be first followed by visit to the local pole barn erector or timber framer depending on how deep the well is...
--
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Redwood is listed as a hardwood. It is dense not porous.
I had 7 acres of coastal redwoods at one time and with scrap had by bandsaw cut some heavy wood. 3x 4X typical. Built a wood rack that holds a cord of wood - left it with the house. Built a nice potting bench out of heavy wood and brought it with us. Now in Texas.
Martin
Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net "Our Republic and the Press will Rise or Fall Together": Joseph Pulitzer TSRA: Endowed; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Originator & Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
On 8/8/2010 10:49 AM, dpb wrote:

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Martin H. Eastburn wrote:

"softwood" vis a vis "hardwood" is a generic differentiation of non- vs deciduous, not a description of the wood itself. It is generally true that hardwoods are, in fact, harder than softwoods on average but there are exceptions.
I made no statement about density; nor did I infer it was particularly an open-grained wood.
--
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Yes that's true. Balsa wood is considered a hard wood. While certainly not hard, for it's weight it is very strong. It used to be used between sheets of aluminum for bulkheads in planes. Don't know if it is still being used for that.
On 8/9/2010 2:21 AM, dpb wrote:

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On 8/8/2010 9:41 AM, Steve B wrote:

I built a pergola a few years ago and used Western Red Cedar that I bought from the local Ace Hardware lumber yard (don't know how many of _those_ are left in the world...). Used 6x6 vertical posts, 2x12 beams (let-in to 2x10 in some places for decoration), 2x8 rafters on 24" centers over the beams, then topped it off with 2x4 longitudinals on 12" centers for blocking the sun. All horizontals overhang their supporting sections and have nice "ogee" patterns cut into the ends. Finished it with a liberal application of Behr premium 25-year weatherproofing wood "stain" (it's really paint, not stain), and there are no signs of warping, splitting, rotting, or deterioration anywhere. I'll report back in 5 years. :-)
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wrote:

Post a picture - I'd like to see it.
R
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Sounds sturdy. Actually, I have come up with an idea suggested in another newsgroup, and it involves stuff I have in stock.
Telephone poles, I have about a dozen. Corrugated CorTen steel panels, 7' x 6'. HEAVY. I am thinking of making the frame out of telephone poles, then decking the top with the CorTen panels. 6 or 8" galvanized lags to hold them on. Not a lot of fancy woodwork, but some to saddle the poles, and get the whole framework to lay right. Something close to log cabin construction.
Steve
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On Sun, 8 Aug 2010 07:41:40 -0700, "Steve B"

Prolly doug fir.
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