idieas for the motherload of material

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Forum topic by ifixbmws posted 06-04-2010 02:40 AM 1550 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 3302 days

06-04-2010 02:40 AM

im a a fairly new woodworker, i have built my own kitchen cabinets, and a few intermidiate furniture projects, and well to be frank i just hit the motherload of materials, it turns out that the crappy old barnwood that my mothers 1840’s house is built of is wormy chestnut, we learned this after the extensive remodel and addition i have no earthly idea how much i have but here is the first load i brought home loaded in a 17 foot box truck and i have about 4 loads worth, soooooo im asking all the talented guys here what would be worthy of building with this stuff im thinking some j.g. stickly or green&green inspired stuff havent tackled anything that advanced yet so im a little nervous about jumping in with this kind of material, what do you think?

-- man dovetails make welding look easy!

22 replies so far

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14 posts in 3302 days

#1 posted 06-04-2010 02:41 AM

-- man dovetails make welding look easy!

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1170 posts in 3846 days

#2 posted 06-04-2010 04:26 AM

my father comes across wormy chestnut pretty often in the mountains of N.C. He has built cabinets out of it, and they have turned out beautifully.

-- San Diego, CA

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117627 posts in 3965 days

#3 posted 06-04-2010 06:56 AM

What the heck give it a go

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2828 posts in 3673 days

#4 posted 06-05-2010 03:40 AM

I wouldn’t be in a hurry to use it up on a “worthy” project.(Anything you build with lumber from your mother’s 1840 home will be worthy!). I would start with a small project ( maybe a small table or stand that would be something you’d like to have for the house) and not worry about is certain style. Build what you would really like and no matter what the style or how advanced it might be, you will do a good job and will have a chance to get a feel of what it’s like to work with recycled wood. You will find that you will use a lot more material then expected by the time you sort out the warped, checked, cracked, split or twisted, so working with a smaller project to start with will give you a much better feel of what it will take to do a larger piece. If you have a good place to store it, then you don’t have to be in a hurry to use it up and over time that special piece will come to mind and you will have the perfect material to use. I couple years ago, I had one of my customers ask me to design and build a dinning room table, buffet and server for their new home from Walnut that was cut from their Grandfathers farm. This Walnut was stick stacked and air dried for over 40 years (waiting for the perfect project). They brought me almost 800 bd. ft of lumber and I thought they had lost their minds. I was shocked how much drop and cut off shorts and waste I had building these three pieces. They love their furniture and I returned all the walnut that wasn’t used, but didn’t return near as much as I thought I would when I first started. I sure hope we get to see what you build. No matter what it is, it will be special!

-- John @

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14 posts in 3302 days

#5 posted 06-05-2010 05:53 AM

thanks for your input guys, i have spent the afternoon cleaning up and hand planing the two widest peices in the lot man i wish i had a 24 inch planer.. but i couldnt see cutting down a 21inch wide board just to avoid a little work this stuff is amazing it actually planed alot easier than i had imagined ive gotten a reasonable count of what i have here and based on what i have left to bring home looks like about 4000 bft ranging between
8 and 22 inches wide and between 3/4 and 6/4 thick, one other question im very familliar with the timeline of the house and know the years that this section was built is somewere around 1870-1874. ive done some homework on wormy chestnut , but not sure, some of the lumber but not alot appears to be the same wood
but not wormy. is it possible that it is pre blight american chestnut? definatly not oak its far to light in weight
or could it be something else? ill try and post some pics of the flooring from the room that was paneled in the wormy… i convinced mom to let me number the floorboards and put them back after the remodel over the subfloor they look amazing.. i thought the guy that came to sand and finish it was going to have a heart attack
we also discovered that the upstairs in the same section was floored in quartersawn white oak!

-- man dovetails make welding look easy!

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2600 posts in 3349 days

#6 posted 06-05-2010 09:44 PM

Ah, they don’t build houses like they used to! You have a great opportunity to make some nice things from this wood. Keep us informed of what you do with this wooe. I recall a house used for practice by a local volunteer fire department and then torn down for a church parking lot. My father and I watched from our front porch. Dad almost fainted when he saw the sheathing under the siding was 1 X 12 poplar run at a 45 deg. angle! Wish i had some of it.

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1774 posts in 3874 days

#7 posted 06-05-2010 10:55 PM

Not that they dont build houses like that anymore, they dont make TREES like that anymore.
House is allready 160+ yo and tree, some of it could be 200-300 yo before it was cut down, who knows the tree could have been here when Columbus payed a visit.
What we call “witness Trees”
Anything you make will be treasured, personaly I’d make something for your Mother first!

-- Doug...

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79 posts in 3317 days

#8 posted 06-06-2010 02:46 AM

If you have some good family pictures, use some of the wood to make picture frames they would make a good memory of the house and family.

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1620 posts in 3915 days

#9 posted 06-06-2010 04:06 AM

Wow, do I envy you! A dealer in Pennsylvania is selling a 7” X 7”X 96” wormy chestnut beam, circa 1850 for $685. You have about 4000 bd feet! Any chance you can post a photo of the cleaned up boards? Would love to see how it looks. I think Huff gave you some great advice.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

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14 posts in 3302 days

#10 posted 06-06-2010 05:03 AM

i think picture frame is a great idea to get familiar with the wood and make mom happy i actually have never made any,,, and my brother has moms first grandchild due in about a month im gonna have a go at a simple cradle i think, and here is the first board i put through the planer just for you lenny… i have discovered some other species interspersed in some of the wood im unsure of the species one is a lightly quilted figure but doesnt look like maple, another machined like butter but has an odd reddish color and really wide grain ill try and get a good picture of them tommoro im spending the day denailing and cleaning up the smaller stuff

-- man dovetails make welding look easy!

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14 posts in 3302 days

#11 posted 06-06-2010 05:04 AM

-- man dovetails make welding look easy!

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3442 posts in 3496 days

#12 posted 06-06-2010 05:08 AM

That pic looks like red oak to me.

Note- 4000 BF of wood may be more than you will use in your lifetime. You might consider selling some to get yourself some serious toolage.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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14 posts in 3302 days

#13 posted 06-06-2010 05:37 AM

it does look a bit like red oak but keep in mind there is no finish whatsoever on the board in the picture and the board is completely dry, also compared with a simaler size peice of r/o i had in the shop it is roughly half the weight and machined alot easer than my past experieces with oak,. and as far selling it..i grew up in this house
so there is alot o sentimental value and besides as my sig hints i own a pretty large local automotive repair shop and about 400k in tools i lost the more tools bug along time ago and somethings cannot have a dollar figure placed on them imo

-- man dovetails make welding look easy!

View clieb91's profile


3622 posts in 4322 days

#14 posted 06-06-2010 05:57 AM

First. Welcome to LumberJocks.
Secondly, A very nice salvage of wood. I think most the guys her gave some great ideas. Your idea of a cradle is very cool, I am sure it would be something that could be pasted down through the family for may generations. I would think about putting some kind of information on the bottom maybe as to what it was made out of and maybe even leaving a space for a listing of the children that would use it.

Look forward to seeing the future projects.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

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2240 posts in 3658 days

#15 posted 06-06-2010 06:30 AM

You can send it to me and I will certainly find ideas for you for projects…LOL.

Needless to say, welcome to LJ’s and glad to hear you have the opposite problem I do….usually I am scrambling for material. As for what you have….I would start out by making the things you need….then when folks see them they ask if you will make it for them…works alot for me….I’m not in the business of cabinetry or funiture making (this kind of woodworking is just a hobby)...but I do make a few dollars for underwriting my tool and material purchases by selling items or doing renovations/repairs -(I was involved in home construction/general contracting for over 20 years – now I just do commercial mechanical work).

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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