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Planing wide lumber

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  • Planing wide lumber

    Hey.. New Here... I have acquired quite a bit of barnwood, all oak and most is around 7'-8' long and 1x8 there are abouts. All of it is weathered silver/gray and mostly all from the outside siding of the barn and about a hundred years old (age of the lumber milled 50 years ago).
    I started out thinking I could just belt sand it down with 40 grit and smooth it up with 80, then tung oiled it and buffed it up. Beautiful wood under all that silver with lots and lots of character! Nail holes, worm holes, beetle holes, plenty of knots and so forth. Well it took me two hours that way one side. Now I'm using a 3 1/4 hand planer. Much Much faster! But my problem is leaving a consistant smooth flat finish with the planer. And I know my planer is not wide enough but that's all I got. I do take out each ridge I leave with the planer with the belt sander but still lots of work. Is there a way to get a nice flat finish with the 3 1/2" planer on these old 7"-8" wide boards. I do not want to rip the boards.
    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: Planing wide lumber

    If it was me I'd either buy a lunchbox planer or try to find someone in your area who would be willing to bring theirs over to your house and plane it for you. You may offer some of your wood to them to pay for the planing. If you were closer to me I'd do it.

    Chuck

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    • #3
      Re: Planing wide lumber

      Barn board is usually very dirty (50 years of farm dirt blowing around). Before you run power tools on it you should pressure wash it and scan it with a metal detector for buried nails etc.
      To eliminate 'plane tracks' when using a finish hand plane you bevel the outside edges of the blade (about 1/32") but we are only removing 0.001" per pass. I would imagine (have not tried it) that this principal would work on a power plane as well. You would need to remove the blades and radius the edges to a point slightly more than the maximum depth of cut.
      If you are removing a 1/16" per pass than I would radius the edge 3/32". The radius can not just be filed off it must be as sharp as the rest of the edge because it is still a cutting surface. When installing the blades they must be perfectly parallel and exactly level with the heel of the planer

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      • #4
        Re: Planing wide lumber

        Wait and see if John of Extreme Birdhouses offers any insight. He has built many projects using old barn boards. He'll probably have some ideas on how to handle this wood and what to watch out for.

        I'm thinking you do as suggested and borrow a planer or trade some lumber to a friend with a planer and you'll be good to go.
        Last edited by Bob D.; 11-17-2008, 06:11 PM.
        ---------------
        Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
        ---------------
        “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
        ---------
        "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
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        sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

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        • #5
          Re: Planing wide lumber

          I appreciate all the advice. Metal detector... I'm goning to get one. A carpender friend told me they make a device for just that purpose. I'll check into that too. This afternoon I went ahead and made three passes with my hand planer and shaved off 1/16" off three 1x8's and then reset it way back thin and took the ridges off then put the 40 grit back on it and turned out nice. But I show would like to have a lunch box planer. Maybe something even bigger. Will go ahead and buy one after Christmas. And a joiner too. (If I aint broke). In the meantime I'll just keep building up my stock, denailing and cleaning up what I got. I dug out what looked like a 22 bullet out of one little hole I was poking around in. My brother suggested that I just go down to Lowe's and buy some finished oak. I told him to go down there and check out the pricing!
          Thanks

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          • #6
            Re: Planing wide lumber

            Sure, you could go to Lowes or Home Depot and get oak but none of that will have the character of the barn wood. People will pay a lot of money for old reclaimed wood, I would love to be abel to come across some of that stuff. The work needed to get it usable is well worth it.

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            • #7
              Re: Planing wide lumber

              Barn wood can't be had at the borg shops. That oak is some great stuff! I have some from a friend's barn and it's the most incredible stuff I've seen. It's hard as the nails you're pulling out though. It's worth it to get a metal detector. I've found stuff in the boards I have that just didn't have any outward indication of anything there. I'd hate to se you ruin that hand power planer or worse. A chipped piece of metal can ruin your eyes REAL fast.

              I like the sandblasting idea. There's so much dirt on the boards, it'll dull a blade fast. If you have a compressor and an air nozzle, that's the next best thing to a sandblast kit.

              Good luck with the stuff. The graining and hardness of old barn oak can't be reproduced. The amber color is pretty amazing, too.
              I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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              • #8
                Re: Planing wide lumber

                Originally posted by stms662 View Post
                My brother suggested that I just go down to Lowe's and buy some finished oak. I told him to go down there and check out the pricing!
                I bought 5 linear feet of 5/4 x 6" oak today and it was $20. At that price, a lunchbox planer will pay for itself rather quickly.

                If you can, post some before and after pictures of the boards. I'm sure they would be really interesting.

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                • #9
                  Re: Planing wide lumber

                  I've actually heard of using a router to plane a board pretty nicely.
                  Check out this link
                  http://www.leestyron.com/sled.php

                  To do a larger board you could also put the board in between two boards of equal height and put a board across the bottom of the router and just slide back and forth.

                  Hope this helps.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Planing wide lumber

                    Originally posted by Hiker-42 View Post
                    I've actually heard of using a router to plane a board pretty nicely.
                    Check out this link
                    http://www.leestyron.com/sled.php

                    To do a larger board you could also put the board in between two boards of equal height and put a board across the bottom of the router and just slide back and forth.

                    Hope this helps.
                    That's like watching paint dry...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Planing wide lumber

                      Here's a few pics of what I'm working on. Not the best pics but this some of them before and after. Notice the old silver barnwood and then the almost finished boards and two freshly planned ones.
                      Attached Files

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