Which Wood Would Be Best?

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Forum topic by christherookie posted 10-08-2018 08:38 PM 538 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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138 posts in 3654 days

10-08-2018 08:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: farm table

My wife wants a farm table, which I can do, but I found I have questions about the wood. I picked up a single piece of black oak barn wood about 2-1/2×4-1/2 that was bowed and twisted a little, just to see what I could do with a hand plane. I don’t have a jointer or planer. From the small time I spent on it, it looks great. I could pick up more to do the whole table.

I read up on how to treat the wood for indoor use and everything I read said I needed to have it kiln-dried to kill off any lingering bugs inside (and dry out the wood to around 7%). Now that’s all well and good but that means to build the table, I’d need to:
1. Spend the $$ on the old wood
2. Hand plane it.
3. Pay to have it kiln-dried

Is that about right? Any tips or links would be appreciated. :)

8 replies so far

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1097 days

#1 posted 10-08-2018 09:18 PM

Does this wood have insects in it?

View LittleShaver's profile


609 posts in 1227 days

#2 posted 10-09-2018 12:51 PM

Old barn wood should be dry enough as is. Assuming it hasn’t been stored outdoors. If you think you need it kiln dried, do that first. Drying can introduce new warping and twisting that you may have already planed away.
7% sounds a tad low for a target moisture content. 10-12 seems more like a reasonable range.

-- Sawdust Maker

View tomsteve's profile


988 posts in 1827 days

#3 posted 10-09-2018 01:40 PM

1: spend the $$ on the wood
2:pay to have it kiln dried before-
3: hand plane it.

however, kiln drying might only be an option. any signs of bugs and whats the MC as is?

View Aj2's profile


2650 posts in 2405 days

#4 posted 10-09-2018 01:50 PM

I would not kiln dry if you don’t need to. Air dried wood really works nicely with hand tools esp if you plan on hand planing the top.
Black oak sounds awesome.
How or why kiln dried wood changes wood is something we don’t talk about often enough. But it does alway a compromise

-- Aj

View christherookie's profile


138 posts in 3654 days

#5 posted 10-09-2018 02:23 PM

It doesn’t appear to have signs of bugs, like holes or trails anywhere. I might hit the place again and ask where the wood came from. From the location of nail holes and discoloration, it appears to be the top of a railing of some sort – but warped a bit more than I would expect. This shop gets most of their stuff from homes remodeled by the local historical society.Maybe from an old stable because it does appear grey and weathered.

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1097 days

#6 posted 10-09-2018 04:19 PM

From what you’re saying there would be no need to kiln dry it as there is no insects in it. Given the age, the only real issue would have been from insect that can infect any wood, such as termites or carpenter ants. If you don’t see any evidence of it then you should be fine.

As long as you can mill it straight and flat, you should have some excellent wood to work with.

View LesB's profile


2315 posts in 4050 days

#7 posted 10-09-2018 04:24 PM

Have you considered taking the wood to a commercial shop that can plane it for you? It would save a lot of work and you would end up with nice even pieces of lumber.

-- Les B, Oregon

View HokieKen's profile


12003 posts in 1746 days

#8 posted 10-09-2018 05:37 PM

If you need to pay to have it KD and have to pay for the wood to begin with, you’d probably be miles ahead if you just buy KD S4S lumber to begin with. It probably won’t cost much more and it’ll save you lots of time.

That being said, if you don’t see signs of bugs, I would assume it’s a non-issue.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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