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Old Barn Wood

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  • Old Barn Wood

    Does anyone know anything about old barnwood. I live in northeast Iowa and see alot of old barns half caved in. I always think of asking these farmers if I can take some off there hands. Does anyone know what kind of wood barns are made out of and if it is anygood for woodworking Thanks.
    I like orange tools!!!!!

  • #2
    Re: Old Barn Wood

    Hey Hartness!

    Old barnwood is an excellent source of "rough" lumber. You have to be super-careful about nails and other metal in the wood, but it is usually really nicely figured and tough wood. I can't stress enough, however, that you have to really watch out for buried metal in the timbers.

    Typically, depending on region and local varietal availability, it'll be anything from oak to poplar to even pine in some areas. Around here (mid-atlantic East Coast, Shenandoah valley), it's typically an oak (white, red, or pin). Although at 100+ years, oak takes on a whole new identity that I tend to equate with a "poor-mans Ironwood" because it's so tough. Poplar will get tough, but not near the tenacity of that oak. Pine tends to deepen it's color, and will toughen a bit.

    Whatever you do, go to the landowner and ask permission to "rid them of the falling-down eyesore" first. Offer to remove the thing from their property, and do so. Make the area as clean as you can, but don't promise the landowner you'll clean it up like it was never there. Keep their expectations clear. Give them your idea of site cleanup as precise as you can. Usually they'll let you take the old barn away, and you won't have to pay a dime. If they say they want to charge you, then you can tell them what you'd charge them to remove the dangerous, decaying structure.
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.


    • #3
      Re: Old Barn Wood

      A few years ago, "barn boards" were bringing huge money! People loved the recycle affect and the look too. Kitchens were a big deal using barn boards. I'd love to get about 500 feet to mess with.
      Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!


      • #4
        Re: Old Barn Wood

        There is a member of this forum who makes some excellent extreme birdhouses from old barn wood, John I think his name is. Do some searching on "extreme birdhouses" and you should find a number of his posts with photos.

        Last edited by Bob D.; 06-24-2007, 10:42 AM. Reason: added link
        "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006


        1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error


        • #5
          Re: Old Barn Wood

          I've made some really nice picture frames with some a few years back. I do agree with VASandy, metal has a way of embedding itself in the old wood so be cautious. If you get some, post some pics of your projects.
          If at first you don't succeed, try reading the owners manual.