Since my recent discovery of planes I have been looking at wood a little
differently. I've been planing down the mangiest specimens in my scrap
pile for practice and have noticed that the wood underneath the dirt,
raised grain and oxidation looks pretty good.
Armed with that knowledge, and running out of really damaged scrap to
practice on, I've started to raid another source: the 50 (or more)
year-old remnants of a kitchen installer/plumber whose building my Dad
bought in the late '60s. There's not a lot of great stuff there; the guy
wasn't a cabinet maker, after all. Most of it is narrower material,
including some oak 2x2 (ish) of random lengths.
But there is also a fair amount of what must have been real
utility-grade stock; stuff the plumber would make shelving out of for
his various fittings. There are 1x6 pine boards of various lengths. It's
pretty dirty, but what I've looked at appears to be less warped than
what you might find at HD.
I've seen furniture that is allegedly made from salvaged or antique
pine, some of which looks pretty nice. I took a piece home and planed
down one face (for practice, of course). Even dry it had a richer color,
tending toward orange, than wood you might buy now. I wiped on a coat of
Waterlox, which intensified the color.
I think this has possibilities. I'm sure I could cobble together enough
of this material for a coffee table, for instance. I'm curious, is the
difference I'm seeing due to age (even though I've planed off the outer
layer), or is it more likely that the wood was different to begin with
back in the '60s, or even '50s, when it was sold?