When I got home from work yesterday there was a message waiting for me
from a former coworker. She had moved into 1906 home and has been doing
renovations. There was a pile of 100 year old thick pine t&g panelling (8"
to 10" wide) and 2x4s (full dimension) waiting for me in the back. Some is
rough because it was on the outside of the wall, inside the bricks. The
inside boards are smoother. I hitched up the trailer and told my son to
come along to pick up some wood for his new bed.
The renovators were going to just chuck it in the landfill and they were
pretty rough with it. They expressed surprise when my friend said she
wanted to keep it. So there is lots of splitting. Some boards have dry
rot, so I'm a bit concerned about the overall quality. But I'm sure I've
got enough to make a nice headboard for my son (maybe both sons), and the
2x4s will probably turn into nice corner posts. It's to be a captain's bed
but I don't think there'll be enough for the drawers, too.
I've never worked with wood like this before, so any advice you have
would be appreciated. At the moment I'm afraid to plane it by machine for
fear of knicking the blades with bits of old nails ro grit from the driveway
where it was "stacked". I'm assuming the belt sander will work. Am I in
for an ordeal?
Anyhow, I'm finishing up a couple of other projects first but I figured
I'd better pounce on this opportunity.
- Owen -
First get a small metal detector and find the nails and bits of metal,
when you get a clear board, you will be fine to plane it. Check both
sides. I use chalk to mark the metal locations and then dig them out.
Second - remember much of this older growth lumber, It is harder than
most of the pine you deal with, assume it works like hardwood, until is
Third - have fun, much of the splitting and other problems can be dealt
with by cutting down the boards to smaller sizes.
I think you have a real find, good luck.
Or, if you have one, a belt sander will do the trick nicely as well.
If not, you can clean the surface with a random orbital sander to
remove the grit and then pull the visible nails- I don't have a metal
detector, but this technique has worked fine for me in the past.
Giving it a quick cleanup with the sander makes finding nails and
staples much easier.
Second that one- it's amazing how much tougher the old stuff is than
the standard lumber around today. Some of that old pine works like
On Sat, 15 Jul 2006 10:27:24 -0400, "Owen Lawrence"
A massive house on the ocean here was renovated some years ago. I did
some of the trim inside and was offered a huge pile of wood similar to
what you have there. It was full of nails, some rusted and broken off
inside, and some where dry rot had made the nail hole quite large,
etc. I was not interested because I only burn hardwood at home...:)
However, one of the framers took it. We (finish carpenters) thought he
was wasting his time. About a year later he invited us to his *shop*.
He did not have any machinery, just hand tools. He had built 3 pieces
of dining room furniture from the wood and I must say I was impressed.
He had allowed all the old nail holes and defects to become featurtes.
When stained the defects became darker, etc. Anyway, very difficult to
put into words but I was amazed at what he had done with all that old
wood. He never worried about his machinery because he did not use any.
Thanks All for the pointers and encouragement. I've been thinking of how I
might leave in these "features". I've never built anything rustic looking,
but I do like the rustic look. If I can't make the wood work on its own
then I may do some inlays to cover up the worst offenders. But since I'm
not actually handling the wood at the moment it isn't speaking to me yet.
I'll do my best to go with the flow, and let the final design emerge
organically rather than try to impose one.
I've got two more coats of finish to apply to my current major project, then
two small boxes to finish up, and then I'll have at 'em. I'm looking
forward to it!
- Owen -
I work with old wood a bit. Found that attacking it with the vacuum, a
belt sander, and the vacuum again does the most good. If you have
access to a metal detector, so much the better. Have fun.
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