Recycled Wood Project #3: Free wood, is it a boon or a bust?

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Blog entry by SirFatty posted 06-02-2012 01:59 AM 3597 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Glue up and thickness planer. Part 3 of Recycled Wood Project series no next part

Where I work there are daily shipments of bar stock, aluminum, stainless and other types of steel. These come in ten foot lengths and usually in a pine crate. The crate is just four pieces nailed together to form a long rectangle. Here’s some of the wood that I brought home recently:

Some of it is in pretty rough shape, but there is quite a lot that is ok. One side is clean, the other side has dirt and oil on it. I’m hoping that the oil does not penetrate too deeply. We’ll see.

When the bundles of bar stock are removed from the pine crate, they are laid flat across several pieces of oak until delivered to the CNC machines. I managed to snag of several of these as well:

The oak is 3-1/4×2-1/2, roughly cut. Some is plain sawn, while some is quarter sawn.

First step will be prep, make sure there are not any bits of metal or other debris embedded in the wood, then a trip through the planer. The only thing I’m not sure of is if this is dry enough to use. Since it is not intended for woodworking, it probably isn’t air or kiln dried. Not sure how to find out without purchasing a moister meter.

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11 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4764 days

#1 posted 06-02-2012 02:02 AM

moisture meter + metal detector = good start

looks like a nice snag!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 3952 days

#2 posted 06-02-2012 02:45 AM

I would not consider pine in the quality and sizes you got to be worth the risk to my planer blades or worth the time and energy to clean up. It is easier to go to the box stores and hunt up a couple of straight 2x’s in whatever width and length you need and not too expensive either. Oak is a different case, if it is fairly split free and good sizes then it is worth the time; I’ve largely stopped collecting most oak as it has too many splits in it but will still investigate a piece I find to see if it is good. The pallet people seem to use oak from the center of the tree or very close to it and don’t always cut the straightest so a lot of the pieces I get end up splitting in weird ways.

-- A posse ad esse

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 3322 days

#3 posted 06-02-2012 04:28 AM

I would have to respectfully disagree with derosa. Some of the most beautiful wood is reclaimed. You may just find some jems, or you may just find some nice straight pine. Either way, you are not wasting wood, you are using a good resource wisely. Perhaps its not worth your time and effort…perhaps not…define worth! I can say it is extremely satisfying to build something from the reclaimed lumber you yourself reclaimed.

I would definitely recommend getting a good moisture meter! It should be in the tool box of every woodworker. You should now what your wood is at before you work it, if you are not going to let it sit around your shop for months or even years.

That is my humble two cents.

Very Respectfully,

Your Friend,


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 4869 days

#4 posted 06-02-2012 07:34 AM

Any wood is good wood.


View Bob817's profile


679 posts in 3498 days

#5 posted 06-02-2012 09:43 AM

Just be careful and be sure to clean it good with a wire brush someone else has recomended on a post not to long ago about the same issue of reclaimed wood and yes def. a metal detector if you don’t already have one. Shipwreck is right “Any wood is good wood.” ;-)

-- ~ Bob ~ Newton, N.H.

View SirFatty's profile


547 posts in 3328 days

#6 posted 06-02-2012 11:33 AM

derosa, that’s more or less what I was thinking, but this is my first run with reclaimed wood, I’m going to give it a shot.

PurpLev and Nate, I think you’re right… looking at getting a moisture meter today. I see there are few different ones, analog, digital readout and LED (at Rockler). Any recommendations?

ShipWreck, Bob817, I hope so! If so, then I have a steady source of this material!

-- Visit my blog at

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 3388 days

#7 posted 06-02-2012 03:13 PM

A wink and a nod from Mother Nature for repurposing wood from her trees.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View SirFatty's profile


547 posts in 3328 days

#8 posted 06-03-2012 01:15 PM

You’re right about that Grandpalen! I have some old piano parts that I will be posting about later…

-- Visit my blog at

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 4903 days

#9 posted 06-04-2012 05:34 PM

Are you kidding me? That is a nice gloat!

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 4156 days

#10 posted 06-04-2012 05:46 PM

Reclaimed Wood ? As long as you are willing to work it. It is Worth it, Most of my projects are from reclaimed Wood !!!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View mich's profile


16 posts in 4135 days

#11 posted 08-14-2012 08:22 AM

Reclaimed wood…, so that’s what you called them. Most of my project are made from recycled wood.
I’s like a ‘hidden’ treasure finding usable piece/face, etc2.
Sometimes it takes a lot of time to figure out the right/nice arrangement, but when it’s done, you’ll be very rewarded.

Thanks for sharing

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