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Author Topic: re-purpose Grandfather's barn lumber?  (Read 494 times)

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Offline sheltonfrms

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re-purpose Grandfather's barn lumber?
« on: December 04, 2017, 11:11:45 AM »
Please let me know if there is a better place to ask this, thanks:

My grandfather was a sawmill man. he built two while i was growing up. he sold off both of his old mills just before he passed away back in 2004 (boy i sure wish i had one of them! and what i wouldn't give to just watch it run again!! such an awesome sound/smell i can still remember like it was yesterday!).

all of the farm buildings barns etc, and even the majority of his house was built from his rough cut lumber he milled on his homestead. As my wife and i plan for building our house ( planning to start in 2018 ) i have pondered taking the flooring from his old barn up, and re purposing this for an area of wood floors in our house. of all the rough cut left around the farm this is the best looking wood to me, without any signs of rot etc. mostly i'd say this is all untreated rough cut pine.

I inherited his 20" planner and should be able to plane these boards myself. A good friend of mine has a shaper he said i could use if i wanted to tongue and groove these boards.

My question is mainly will these old boards be too dried out to work with? assuming i can get them up without damaging/splitting the wood would they plane and shape ok?

Any opinions on how to better re-use some of his old lumber? i just think it would be cool to say hey this is the wood he cut from this property, that sort of thing!.

Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: re-purpose Grandfather's barn lumber?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 11:51:24 AM »
No, not to dry, they will make beautiful flooring, try to save as much of the old building you can.  That is family history and needs to be preserved in some nature or the other.

Oh, and by the way, welcome to the forum, why not fill out your information and let us know a little about you, then pull up a stump and join the conversation.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: re-purpose Grandfather's barn lumber?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 01:46:17 PM »
Wood only ever dries to match the environment it's in. In a barn it's basically exposed to outside air, so depending on where you live it might still be at 10-12%. As long as bugs or rot haven't got at it, it will be fine to reuse.
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Offline sheltonfrms

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Re: re-purpose Grandfather's barn lumber?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2017, 01:47:46 PM »
Just for fun, here are some old pics of my grandpa and his mill...

Offline AlaskaLes

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Re: re-purpose Grandfather's barn lumber?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2017, 03:28:55 PM »
It's cool to have this connection to the wood that Grandpa milled.
I'd definitely be putting that to use.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: re-purpose Grandfather's barn lumber?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2017, 04:50:38 AM »
Good stuff 

Offline Don P

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Re: re-purpose Grandfather's barn lumber?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2017, 07:09:34 AM »
A lot depends on width, thickness, and cupping, you might need to rip wide boards down if they're heavily cupped. If the nails aren't pulling without splitting and if you have access to the underside I've cut them with a long metal "Torch" blade and sawzall then use a punch later to knock them out.

You can cut down rotten bottom vertical siding boards into wainscot paneling. Ripped down boards can be used for trim. I worked for one homeowner who had torn down several oak and chestnut houses. We planed, edged and glued up stock to make doors, crowns, casings and baseboards out of the old wood. Lots of labor but it was beautiful.

That looks like an old M-14 Belsaw, they're still some kicking around, I bought another one last year.

Offline sheltonfrms

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Re: re-purpose Grandfather's barn lumber?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2017, 08:22:59 AM »
Thanks for the replies! i'll start putting together a plan on how to get these boards up/ hook up the planner, and see what we are really working with. i'll add some pics along the way.

I'd love to know more about his old mill, i'll ask around the family and see if there are any other pictures/home movies.

I've wondered before if it was a Detroit diesel, that thing really screamed from what i remember! i loved to hear him crank it up. i'm going to do some digging into the bell saw history now i'm curious.

I've spent several months looking over the "simple band sawmill plans" and have actually collected most all the metal i need to build the head/carriage for it, 5 hp electric motor, handful of pulleys etc needed. ....looking at these old pics and videos of bell saws on you tube last night i may start considering building a circular mill ha!

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: re-purpose Grandfather's barn lumber?
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2017, 09:58:57 PM »
I've used a lot of barnwood.  Too dry?  That's never an issue.  As said, that wood will be 10-15%.  After cleaning and preparing the boards, bring them into the house or similar climate controlled zone.  In a month or two some of that moisture will come out as they acclimate.  If you can keep the boards in the house for a few months, that would be great.  Then finish them whether you're T&G'ing them or ship lap or whatever.
Why would you plane the wood?  The circle saw marks are what's cool.  Unless you had a severe cupping or warpage issue...I wouldn't plane the face.   I could see planing the backside to make sure you have some consistent thickness....

Clean the circle sawn boards with a Makita Wheel Brush/Wheel Sander using either an abrasive nylon bristle wheel.  Make sure to order the tool with that wheel as wheels are quite expensive to purchase separately.  They do last a long time though.  I use the coarse and medium on hardwood.  I used them on heart pine, but I don't know how they'd do on softer pine.  If you just want to experiment before you commit to the Makita, get a drill mounted nylon abrasive wheel like these:

After cleaning the wood, you may pre-finish them with a nib sanding to knock off any loose fibers or splinters, apply two coats of finish and nib sand as needed and continue coating to the desired level of clear finish.

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