Reclaimed Wood

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Forum topic by Chris Januski posted 05-31-2016 01:47 PM 1077 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Chris Januski

19 posts in 1552 days

05-31-2016 01:47 PM

Hey guys, I came across a bunch of reclaimed boards from a house built in the 1930s. The house was being torn down and all of the lumber was being thrown away. I was able to get all of the floor joists from the contractor. What considerations do I need to keep in mind when working with this rough cut wood? Can it be lightly planed (leaving rustic look) or should it be planed all the way down? I’ve worked with rough cut wood before, but all of the projects I’ve done have been taking the wood to fresh S4S. Any ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

8 replies so far

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1584 days

#1 posted 05-31-2016 02:11 PM

“What considerations do I need to keep in mind when working with this rough cut wood?”

Depends what you wanna do with it.

View knotscott's profile


8382 posts in 4184 days

#2 posted 05-31-2016 02:41 PM

Get a metal detector and check for nails. That’s a nice haul.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View AZWoody's profile


1477 posts in 2032 days

#3 posted 05-31-2016 04:02 PM

How you plane it is up to you and what look you want to come from it. The main thing is what knotscott said. Look for nails and and other foreign matter that might be embedded on it. That will cause you a lot of grief with your planer blades.

I’ve done some work with reclaimed wood and I planed it to help clean up the face, but not enough so it erased the circular mill marks. It mainly depends on the look you’re going for.

That is a great find you have there though. Any idea on species?

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1556 days

#4 posted 05-31-2016 04:07 PM

Nails. Look for nails. If you work a belt sander over the surface of the wood, you can usually see the shiney spots where the nails are. My brother reclaims old cypress and heart pine, and he’ll give me all I want, but I finally quit using it. It’s very tough to find ALL the nails.

View Chris Januski's profile

Chris Januski

19 posts in 1552 days

#5 posted 05-31-2016 05:36 PM

Thanks for the tips guys. I pulled out the majority of the nails myself. The boards were floor joists with hardwood flooring nailed into it with cut nails. Some of the nails were rusted and broke off in the boards as I was pulling them out. I’m looking at getting into the reclaimed wood craze of tables and shelves. I honestly don’t know what type of wood it is.

Here is a picture of a shelf I’m making for myself. It is going up as a simple shelf at home (I wasn’t too concerned about it being perfectly flat). I sanded the board with a random orbital then applied 3 coats of satin poly. This is a pic of the 3rd coat drying. I’m happy with the saw marks, just the look I was going for with this shelf.

View Gentile's profile


362 posts in 2626 days

#6 posted 06-03-2016 03:11 AM

Nice score! Most likely old growth lumber. Ho close together are the growth rings?

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View splatman's profile


585 posts in 2207 days

#7 posted 06-03-2016 10:41 PM

The odor will be a clue, when you cut it. Old Douglass Fir will have a distinct smell. Cut/plane a piece to expose the inside. This will also show whether it’s softwood or hardwood, as well as many other things. Do post pix.

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3105 days

#8 posted 06-03-2016 11:42 PM

My feeling is that when you plane old wood you have new wood, and new wood is less valuable than old wood.

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