I could use some guidance. A house on the next street was demolished this
week. I managed to get a little bit of oak flooring, but I got there after
Danny had broken most everything up with a backhoe and piled it on top of
the foundation. We swapped stories about places we'd both lived (Virginia
Beach, Guantanamo, and Opelika, Alabama) and he took my phone number and
said he'd call me when he was about to tear down another house. These are
usually houses from the 'forties or so, wood frame construction and almost
all with wood flooring. Frame will be yellow pine, almost surely.
What should I try to get first, before Danny reaches over my shoulder with
that backhoe, and what tools do I need. No power, of course. Would a
chainsaw be of use? (Yeah, I know, nails everywhere.)
Thanks for any help.
Pensacola, FL, USA
No power? Argghh.
A planer/thicknesser machine would come in very handy to plane down the old
boards to a nice condition. I suppose you could hand plane, but that will
take a lot longer.
Apart from that... a nice hand saw for crosscutting would go well if you
want neater cuts. Chainsaw will carve through them faster of course, but the
finish will be pretty rough in comparison.
Oh, and a hammers and couple nail punches will remove most nails.
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When I do salvaging I use just a few tools, a hammer, crowbar, wonderbar,
and a pair of channel locks and infrequently a handsaw to cut pieces to
truck length. The things to go for first if you are planning on using it
for woodworking purposes is flooring (usually pops up easily once you get
it started and then use the wonderbar and your hammer... prying as you go),
then old doors (excellent quality wood in doors i.e. fir,cypress,white
pine) and if the house is old enough to have the old wide baseboards that
have the shoe and cove moldings seperately applied this wood is of
excellent quality but will have plenty of 6d or 8d finishing nails (job for
the channel locks). Sometimes the treads and risers on the staircases will
yield good wood with about 30" clear of nails. I don't bother with joists
or any of the structural wood unless I can pull pieces from the demolition
pile. Also old fireplace chimney bricks are usually worth the effort to
pick up and often times can be sold to make a few dollars. Usually I use
recycled/salvaged wood for boxes and small projects or accent woods in
projects but I suppose if you want a rustic look then your imagination is
the only limiting factor. Happy Hunting !
What do you need? Maybe the framinglumber will be SYP, maybe not: I'd aim for
ceiling and floor joists as supplying the most usable wood per unit. Flooring
if you want or need oak, maple or whatever it is. Baseboards might be oak in
better homes, walnut or cherry or other fancier woods in fancier homes.
Tools: several really good pry bars; cordless recip saw--I've got a Skil
battery powered that is remarkably good, but if you're going to do a lot of
this, I'd aim at the TOL stuff, like Milwaukee. The chainsaw is fast when you
can use it, but you'll need a batch of chains and you'll spend lots of time
sharpening them...and changing them.
I wouldn't try to strip the stuff out on-site. Get it out of the way of the
backhoe, and into your transport and take it home where you can do the work of
removing nails and any finishes.
If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave
Thanks for the advice. Actually, when I said no power I meant at the house
that was being demolished. I've got 220 to a breaker box in the shop.
I'll probably try for flooring and trim to use for small pieces and accents,
joists for furniture if I see good clear pieces.
The house I live in was built in 1940, and some of the floor joists are
clear 6x6's. Well, the pieces the joists tie in to, if they're called by
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