Salvaging wood from old houses

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.
Lionel
Pensacola, FL, USA
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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.
-- Regards,
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Lionel wrote:

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 ! Regards. CB
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Lionel asks:

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.
Enjoy.
Charlie Self
If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to. Dorothy Parker
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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 another name.
Thanks again.
Lionel
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