Reclaimed wood dining table questions

Page 1 of 2  
Hi,I recently found some nice reclaimed wood (Floor joists from the Charles town Armory in Boston) that I want to make into a dining table like this:
https://drive.google.com/a/jimryan.com/folderview?id 21fHsS3YlzhbHNCS3Q wZnR4aFE&usp=sharing
I ran one of the pieces of lumber through my planer and it appears to look like Douglas Fir, so it is a bit reddish in tone. The wood is ~14" wide, 2 " thick, and ~7 foot long I have 4 of them. The table is planned to be 3' x 7'. I plan to to plane each of the boards on both sides so the surface is flat. But the person I am making it for wants that look like in the pictu re above. So I'm not really sure how to treat it when I'm done putting it together. I also am now sure what to do with the legs, aprons and other pi eces below. I'm not sure if I need to search for more reclaimed lumber or just find some more Douglas Fir at a lumber yard and treat it somehow to ma ke it look old.
Thank you for any thoughts.
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sunday, July 5, 2015 at 11:23:07 AM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@jimryan.com wrote:

2" thick, and ~7 foot long I have 4 of them. The table is planned to be 3 ' x 7'. I plan to to plane each of the boards on both sides so the surface is flat. But the person I am making it for wants that look like in the pic ture above. So I'm not really sure how to treat it when I'm done putting i t together. I also am now sure what to do with the legs, aprons and other pieces below. I'm not sure if I need to search for more reclaimed lumber o r just find some more Douglas Fir at a lumber yard and treat it somehow to make it look old.

I needed permission to view the pic. I clicked the request tab.
Any relation to Michael (Mike) Ryan (You dog!), who attended Uni. of Idaho (Moscow) in 1973-74, and maybe '75 & '76? He was my (dorm) room mate. W e lost touch, sometime after I left Idaho.
Sonny
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sunday, July 5, 2015 at 12:34:29 PM UTC-4, Sonny wrote:

s:

e, 2" thick, and ~7 foot long I have 4 of them. The table is planned to be 3' x 7'. I plan to to plane each of the boards on both sides so the surfac e is flat. But the person I am making it for wants that look like in the p icture above. So I'm not really sure how to treat it when I'm done putting it together. I also am now sure what to do with the legs, aprons and othe r pieces below. I'm not sure if I need to search for more reclaimed lumber or just find some more Douglas Fir at a lumber yard and treat it somehow t o make it look old.

We lost touch, sometime after I left Idaho.

I reset the link so no permission is needed, and I granted you permission a s well.
No, sorry, to my knowledge I don't know Michael Ryan. Leave it to an Irish man to go to school in Idaho. They just can't get away from potatoes.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sunday, July 5, 2015 at 2:48:41 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@jimryan.com wrote:
Looks very similar to cypress: color, grain, the knots, the small checks a long the center line. Cypress is a relatively soft (density) wood.

Did it smell like or have a hint of a smell of turpentine, once planed? F reshly cut pine will have a smell, or at least a slight smell, of turpentin e, even with old lumber.

That (last) pic, of a completed table, is SYP. I would never install a br ead board on a thick slabbed table top. I suggest you discuss, with the o wner, not using a bread board on the proposed table top. That design aspe ct would cheapen a nice old salvaged thick-plank table top. Use the fourth board for a wider tabletop or use the fourth board for the skirt <~~~ it w ould match the tabletop. Re the pic: That wide of bread board looks bad, a wkward, not right, also. A plank table top should not need a bread board. If expansion-contraction is going to be suspect, then use dutchmans, unde r neath if need be.
The end grains will absorb more stain, so if you stain, try to do some test ing on any cut-offs, for end grain staining. Personally, I wouldn't stain anything. I'd simply clearcoat the table, once prepped.
As long as the table top results are pristine, then it doesn't matter what kind of base you build right now (for use by the owner). The table top is the most important part, to get right and be perfect, to look and be its be st. A different base can always be built, later, if need be. Re that pic tured table base is basic. Look for a better design and better wood, if t ime permits. 4X and 2X framing stock is not the greatest lumber for a dini ng table base.
Sonny
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 07/05/2015 11:23 AM, snipped-for-privacy@jimryan.com wrote:

It is _not_ Doug Fir; show a clean crosscut to show some end grain but I'm virtually certain it's SYP (southern yellow pine).
--


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

There was a huge trade in southern yellow pine from the southern states to the New England states in the years between the Civil War and World War I. It was the preferred material for building and similar purposes (ships, etc) during that time.
If you see a picture of a sailing schooner (a "down easter"), you can be pretty certain the cargo is either coal or southern yellow pine - two commodities that needed to ship cheapest way possible, and no-one particularly cared when they got there.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sunday, July 5, 2015 at 4:18:59 PM UTC-5, dpb wrote:

Hmmmm, I'm leaning toward your assuredness. That test staining and clearco at/wetted(?) sample looks splotchy. Splotchy results are more in tune for SYP, than cypress, but the planks still look a heck of a lot like cypress, to me. Cypress was also shipped, in bulk, to northern states. My salva ged pine planks don't look like his planks, especially with those small che cks down the center line of his planks.
Agreed. End grain photos would be nice. Bald Cypress - http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/cypress,%20b ald.htm
YP - http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/pine,%20yellow.htm
Sonny
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 07/05/2015 5:50 PM, Sonny wrote:

I've quite a lot of old SYP that has checked; probably as much that hasn't. All depends on how it was dried and these were probably full 2" and 14" wide for construction, not finish, so likely weren't dried to full end result initially.
It doesn't look much like cypress at all to me...but the telltale end grain could be the conclusive piece of evidence.
But, one think it _isn't_ is Doug fir... :)
--


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

OP said the reclaimed timbers were floor joists. I'm dubious about cypress being used for that kind of structural application, it was more commonly used for siding and shingles. SYP fits the application a lot better.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Monday, July 6, 2015 at 12:35:38 PM UTC-4, John McCoy wrote:

Thank you all for some great advice. I'll try to put some end grain shots up there today or tomorrow.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Monday, July 6, 2015 at 12:50:00 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@jimryan.com wrote:

Google search for images of long leaf pine dining tables. https://www.google.com/search?rlz 1PQHA_enUS574US586&biw80&bih=8 41&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=long+leaf+pine+dining+tables&oq=long+leaf+pine+d ining+tables&gs_l=img.3...24033.29864.0.33477.19.19.0.0.0.0.211.2595.0j15 j1.16.0....0...1c.1.64.img..12.7.1160.2k0cAiS_pW0#imgrcPv_otZY7N-BM%3A
Click on pics of interest, for ideas for your table's design, like maybe th e base of this table: http://mecox.com/product/extraordinary-pine-dining-t able Seems to be simple & easy geometry, probably with mortise & tenon jointery, and still looks elegant. This is a very heavy table, though.... wouldn't be moved very often, if at all.
No matter what the lumber is, you probably have some very good lumber. A ny old nice salvaged lumber is premium, IMO, so strive for the best design possible and do your best work possible. Don't rush and don't skimp. An d show us some finished pics, also.
Sonny
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Monday, July 6, 2015 at 11:35:38 AM UTC-5, John McCoy wrote:

That's incorrect. You can't think in terms of today's usage. Think in te rms of what was going on back then, in the 1700s, 1800s, & even into the ea rly 1900s, to some extent.
Cypress was widely use for framing in all parts of homes and many other bui ldings, probably just as much as pine. Actually, SYP wasn't the top pine choice, back then. It was long leaf pine, not SYP, that was the premium p ine lumber and most widely sought after and used. Once all the premium pi ne was logged, the poorer quality pines, like the yellow pines, were used. Poorer quality yellow pine grew faster, in order to replace the premiums, hence, just about all that remains, since the early 1900s, is the poorer q uality yellow pines, i.e., those that we are most familiar with, today. W e can't apply today's rationale to the events and circumstances of long ago .
SYP was/is a magnet for termites, powder post beetles and other insects, de spite having a turpentine content. That old cypress was used because its very much more resistance to insects, very resistance to rotting and it is structurally sound for that framing use.
His boards don't look quite like long leaf pine, either, but they just migh t be.
Down south, today, salvaged old cypress and salvaged long leaf pine are pre mium "decor" lumbers for many applications, rather than being as commonly u sed utility-wise or structural-wise, as long ago.
For one test, he needs to smell that planed surface, to see if it has an od or of turpentine. If it's pine, he should have gotten a distinct whiff of the turpentine scent, when planing, without having to go back, now, and sn iff the planed surface.
I don't know if the western varieties of pine have the turpentine scent. Just about all the eastern/south eastern pines do have the scent.
Sonny
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 07/06/2015 12:53 PM, Sonny wrote:

You're getting a little carried away here, Sonny.
Looking it up the Armory wasn't built until 1907 by which time commercial framing lumber was pretty much commonplace.
The barn out here in SW KS built just after rationing was lifted following armistice of WWI (Nov 1918) was only some 10 year later and it's all SYP looking very much like OP's samples.
The very first glance of the first planed piece made me initially think it was a red oak given the two-hued shades with the distinctive sap wood to the edges at the right end of the plank but on further looking there's no indication of the typical oak porosity and the appearance of the medullary rays are just so distinctive is why I'm pretty sure...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I'd always heard of longleaf as being a yellow pine. Longleaf, loblolly, slash, and one other I'm forgetting where the southern yellow pines. Now-a-days most of what you get is slash pine, because it grows faster. Not really sure when the old growth was logged out, but I think it would have been in the WW1 timeframe.
I'll grant you, the northern and western white pines were superior lumber, especially for purposes other than construction.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Monday, July 6, 2015 at 4:43:13 PM UTC-5, John McCoy wrote:

Agreed. Here's a pretty good article: http://www.wood-database.com/wood- articles/pine-wood-an-overall-guide/
To me, "yellow" pine is a bad characterization for a large group of timbers , all lumped together as a group. Other "YP" lists include other species of pines, as listed above, as well. And if yer from the south, it would be yaller pines.
But long leaf pine is different and distinguishable, despite what that arti cle says. Long leaf pine has a distinct redness about it, also, especiall y the heartwood.

I'll agree with that, too. I think we kinna got skewered with each our tra in of thought. I was thinking table tops, flooring and other often-used s urfaces, where surfaces generally need to be hard and tough. The premium hard (surface) pine would be LLP.
White pine superior for other uses: Yep. Works well, finishes well, look s great, too, for detailed milling for all kinds of interior applications, cabnets, etc. If you tried to mill YP for detailed work, like moldings, fr ames, etc., you'd get resin caked and/or burned onto your cutters, saw blad es, rollers, etc. The heartwood of LLP (less resin) works much better tha n the other YPs.
Sonny
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

More resin in longleaf, I think. I've been told of people searching out longleaf stumps for lighterwood, because there's so much resin, even decades after the tree was cut.
But you can get lighterwood and that reddish heartwood in other yellow pines too, just not so much of it.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 8:16:55 PM UTC-5, John McCoy wrote:

Jesus Christ! You're arguing for arguments sake, with poor "evidence" or " knowledge". You should do your own field work and not rely on those "peop le", i.e., some root-collecting hillbilly(?), whom you believed to be intel legent enough to ID the specie of pine by virtue of decayed, weathered, mos s covered(?) root stock. Too bad we don't have one of them, here, to abso lutely ID the OPs boards.
I suppose those "people" are as knowledgeable of comparative "resin" conten t in the root stock of the different pines, as well, as they are knowledgea ble of IDing the specie of aged root stock.
There's a difference between resin and sap, both of which are different fro m pitch. The burning qualities of pine root stock comes from the pitch, n ot resin (or sap).
Sonny
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 07/07/2015 6:42 PM, Sonny wrote: ...

...
US FPL also includes the others; the particular article notes they're there in lesser quantities despite a complete listing.
I'd wager in a random sample of commercial lumber from similar locations within the log eyeball identification of the various species in a blind test odds would be minimal at being above chance on isolating species; they're that similar and have enough variation between individuals of the same actual species as to be as the article says, virtually indistinguishable as lumber.
The picture of the link you give of a second species (forget which one I clicked second and didn't go back) chose a particularly stained piece as its prime picture, hardly a way to make a fair comparison.
I make no guess as to what particular species OPs sample board is but I'm essentially positive it is one of the SYP group. Given the age of the building from whence it came odds are better that it could be longleaf but again you've got to remember this was construction lumber (and a government building so in all likelihood it was low bidder). We're not talking furniture lumber here; even at the turn of the 20th century time frame.(+)
A side note here on an earlier point rather than posting twice -- you commented on the checking; recall that OP says these are 2x14; that's quite a wide piece and you see that this particular board is edge of log so there's sapwood both sides. That's a wide slab to start with to expect to dry w/o checking and when one considers the location in the log it'd be remarkable if there weren't any.
I mentioned the barn lumber here in comparison; it wasn't as long a span nor as heavy a load as an armory so the mow floor joists are nominal 2x8 (were finished 4S as a modern 2X except thickness/width are about -3/8" or 11/32" shy of nominal instead of the modern "less-half". Being smaller dimension, most don't have much checking but as noted there are some that look essentially identical to OP's. The columns were built on-site by using 3 to 5 2x6 instead of solids. The height to the gambrel break in the mow roof is 22-ft and they're all single spans. When we did the re-roof and tightened up some of the interior bracing I inspected some of those fairly carefully; there are some that are almost completely knotless the whole length...tough to find that now! :)
Speaking of pieces of lumber; in the late '50s/very early '60s Dad built a small feedlot and in conjunction added a feed mill and some grain bins in a corner of the mow. The additional framing for the support of those bins was Doug fir and there are some leftovers of it still up there. They're 20-footers 2x10 and 2x12; quite a few of them are also knot free (not quite as mean a feat with fir, granted, but still considering today's lumber that's pretty remarkable they just came in on the rail car that way w/o any special requirements...I can't bring myself to even touch one of 'em given what they'd cost! Haven't come up with the neat enough project yet to make cutting one up worth it over having them to marvel over...
The fences for the feedlot were all SYP roughsawn material of 10/4x8 16/18 ft. There's a pile of it left over as well; it has checked some because it wasn't dried that much intended as fence material when sawn. I have built a couple of bench tops with a few of them for the chopsaw to sit in along the barn driveway since came back but again it's too good to use... :)
(+) Geezer story alert--Speaking of changing perspectives on wood and its usage, when we were still in Lynchburg Campbell County salvaged an old elementary school the earliest parts of the building which dated back to the late 18th century. Rather than an auction, they had dismantled everything first and had it available for purchase. I went down one Saturday morning thinking to get a slate board for the kids and just wandered around thru all the lumber piles. Some looked awfully dark but thought was just coal remnants after all those years of furnaces but decided to just see. A few whittles w/ the knife and surprise! most of the structural timbers were black walnut--as much as 3x12 12 and 14 footers.
I had just met a local young kid who was turning out decoupage plaques by hand for the then craze as a way to earn spending money to get through school when he advertised a small shaper and planer in the Sunday paper. We had struck up a friendship and were trying to build some furniture together as a venture to both make a little extra money. Davis Paint, a local home-owned manufacturer and retailer had bankrolled Eddie and set him up a shop in the basement of their store downtown in order to ramp up the plaque production. Anyway, I called Eddie told him what I had found and we bought 10000 bd-ft of walnut for $1000 out of that stack of material. The point of the story is that way back then, walnut wasn't considered a furniture wood in that area yet, it was used as any other hardwood as a construction material or even fence posts I was told altho that I never actually saw.
The biggest regret (other than giving up UVA season basketball tickets the year Ralph Sampson was to matriculate) when we left VA to head to TN was having to let all that go as had no place to put any of it other than a board or two...Eddie ended up going on to quit school and start a fulltime wood shop. After the plaque craze died out, he got into the platform shoes for the local Craddock-Terry shoe manufacturer and turned some 40000 bd-ft of soft maple thru the shop one year doing them. Unfortunately, he ran into some serious health problems with rheumatoid arthritis at a very young age and ended up crippled before he was out of his 40's...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wednesday, July 8, 2015 at 8:54:48 AM UTC-5, dpb wrote:

When it comes to salvaging and using old lumber, I always get excited. Th ose "what if" moments, when those old lumbers are not able to be had, or re tained, are almost heart breaking. For some pieces, I, sometimes, never k now, exactly, what is there, so I try not to dismiss anything, until I can better evaluate it.
In the spirit of salvaging, I'd like to see OP make the best table he can, no matter what the wood is.
Another geezer story: Long ago, I salvaged an old house, thought the 2X4 roof rafters were "same ole" cypress, which I already had plenty of, so I was not so excited/impre ssed. Later, I needed new saw horses and grabbed some of those 2Xs. Tur ned out to be red maple (a secondary lumber?)..... not the greatest lumber, but I was pleasantly surprised. Their "roof rafter weathered" look was t he look of typical weathered roof rafters, whether cypress or any other woo d.
Despite red maple being labeled a "secondary" lumber, some of that maple ha d hints of birdseye. You never know what you've salvaged, until you give it a good inspection and/or work with it. Here are two projects, using tha t maple: 1) Child's loveseat rocker, chair on my right. Made to donate to a school fund raiser, but I discovered a construction defect (my screw-up), so it w as never donated. The chair on my left is made from salvaged cypress. https://www.flickr.com/photos/43836144@N04/4032552238/in/photostream 2) A large rocker. https://www.flickr.com/photos/43836144@N04/4043071185/ in/photostream
Sonny
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sonny wrote:

Lovely. The theme makes me remember the "swings" from 3rd grade. Happy Rocking/Swinging!
Bill
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.