Reclaimed wood, fungal grief lurking?

Hi,
I'm new here (thought I've lurked for a while). I'm also a total ignoramus WRT wood, so I'd appreciate some expert opinion :)
Long story short: I live in England and I've just inherited some wood. A useful amount for a few small jobs. It is hardwood (not sure which type, might be mahogany). It's been stored in a leaky garden shed, unused and I hate wasting good wood so I had planned to salvage it.
Problem is, the shed is rotton and the wood's been getting wet, mostly where it's sitting on the floor. I really don't want to run the risk of storing wood that *may* be at risk of dry-rot (I've seen advanced dry rot before. but not in its early stages).
If I showed you some piccies, any advice on the wisdom of keeping the wood would be very welcome. If I kept it, I would definitely cut off the rotton bits and use the good sections for various random projects.
Here goes (warning, 2.2MB per photo over my DSL, but I didn't want to lose detail)
http://www.dionic.net/wood/wood1.jpg
http://www.dionic.net/wood/wood2.jpg
http://www.dionic.net/wood/wood3.jpg
The bugs in no. 2 are woodlice, which I know like rotting wood but aren't a threat in themselves. Some of the white fluff may be fungal growth or it may be the product of spiders or insects - I don't know.
Many thanks in advance.
Tim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Keep it dry with good air circulation.
--
Help improve usenet. Kill-file Google Groups.
http://improve-usenet.org /
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

'Dry rot' is a misnomer. Dry wood doesn't rot. Rotten wood can dry but it is still rotten. Once the wood is dry, the rot will stop spreading and the rotten parts can be cut away. The rot will not spread so long as the wood is kept dry. An airconditioned building is generally dry enough, a typical unairconditioned basement is not.
Before wood rots, it spalts. Spalting is just the early stage of rot, after the wood discolors but before it gets soft. Spalted wood is prized for turnings and other specialty work, so much so that turners will sometimes saturate the punky parts with super glue to keep it useable.
The wood looks like mahogany to me, but it may also be one of the African or Asian woods commonly called Mahogany even though they are not. The latter are highly variable in their rot-reisstance (because there are so many different species called 'foo' mahogany). Real mahogany is highly rot-resistant so there should not be much rot in it.
Good luck.
--
FF





Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Fred the Red Shirt coughed up some electrons that declared:

I'll be storing it in a garage which isn't very dry.

I just looked that up on google - very interesting.

It's hard to be sure. We're a bit short of good wood over here, especially since Queen Liz I chopped most of the oak down to build her navy. Most wood (hard and soft) is imported and there's a lot of futzing around with terminology.

Well, it doesn't look too bad, just blackened and some white bloom. I was just worried about storing wood that might be an infection risk to the rest of my house.
Cheers and thanks,
Tim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Tim Southerwood wrote:

I wouldn't worry about it, the spores that cause rot are omnipresent and already present in your house. It takes a particular set of conditions for them to cause damage.
If the old wood is solid (not punky), use it. At least one of the boards is ribbon stripe mahogany. Just a guess but probably Khaya (African mahogany).
More on rot: it has a distinctive odor. I can't describe it exactly bit once smelled it isn't forgotten.
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I won't proclaim to be an expert, but here's what I would do.
Make some cross cuts at what you perceive to be the most damaged areas. Now make a few other cross cuts at what appears to be the least damaged areas. Using an awl poke and dig top, sides and cut side (probably end grain). Also test a few random areas at what appears to be non-damaged surfaces that have been at least 18" above the floor and as far away as possible from walls, ceiling, windows and doors. Good stock may be just slightly softer at the fresh cut end grain. Well dried stock should not have that much deviation in softness. Try the same test using a known well dried piece of lumber you think is the same species. This is a general dry rot test. If it's rotten it will be soft and easy to push the awl deep into the wood and will crumble if scraped.
Within the cuts look for color variations, mold, fungus, water stains, etc.. Try planing or sanding down a section that is discolored and see how deep the stain continues.
Good wood especially old growth mahogany can be exposed to moisture for many years without failing. Look at some old boats.
Cut off the worst sections and discard or try and plane down to a good surface. Brush off any fungus, wipe down with an anti-fungal (only if you really think you need it, they often will discolor the wood). Sticker and stack as if it was freshly milled wet wood. Start of stack should be at least 18" above ground. There should be air gaps between sides of each board and stickers between each layer. The entire stack should have preferably 18" of clear space around all sides, top and bottom. If possible have a fan to circulate the air.
I hauled away a junk mahogany and teak boat and recovered well over 70% of the wood. Essentially free wood except of course for quite a bit of labor involved in reclamation. I still have a few pieces and I feel it is of higher quality than many of the young new-growth mahoganies being sold today. The teak was near perfect after re-surfacing. Plus it can be a sales point. Many of the yuppies prefer to purchase items made from recovered product like fences, barns, broken furniture, etc..
I have the luxury of not having to warehouse purchased exotics with recovered wood. I would keep a careful check on the drying condition and possible contamination if I needed to mix expensive stock with recovered stock. I have not yet had a problem with cross contamination from trees recovered from the ground or other mold and stain issues. I have however rejected wood/trees that appeared too rotten to recover enough to be cost effective. I am more concerned about possible termite and beetle transfer in my sheds, although I haven't had that problem yet.
The wood in your pictures doesn't appear to be that damaged but I would go on feel (above awl test, and cut density) rather than sight.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Joe coughed up some electrons that declared:

Thanks Joe. I need to cut the frames up anyway for storage (their original purpose was to be a conservatory, which is now irrelevant) so I'll make inspections as you suggest as I go.
I've seen what dry-rot can do to a house in advanced stages, so I was a bit wary of cross infection issues. I expect I'm over worrying.
Many thanks for the good advice. I might be back in a while to get some tips on wood working - I plan to start learning to make things once we've moved house.
Cheers
Tim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Did I miss something? Or are the pics of the shed walls and not the stored wood?
-Zz
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Zz Yzx coughed up some electrons that declared:

Both. The stored wood is actually made up into a set of door and window frames for a conservatory (outbuilding slapped onto the back of an Englishman's house to get more living area whilst being exempt, more or less, from building and planning regulations).
It is of no use for that for me, but the wood is quite substantial so I see other potential uses.
The shed happens to be stained a similar colour.
Cheers
Tim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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.