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Old wood?

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  • Old wood?

    Has anyone ever recycled old furniture wood?
    I mean, have you taken an old piece of furniture and salvaged the wood from it for use in another project?

    What made me think of this was while driving along the other day I saw a nice old dresser sitting out at the curb to be trashed and I thought what a waste of lumber. Looked fairly old and to be white oak but difficult to tell when driving by at 25 mph on the opposite side of the street. It wasn't there the next time I went by so couldn't get a closer look but the top was about an inch thick and approx. 24 x 60".

    If one were to use such old lumber, I expect it would be pretty hard and I wonder how the finish may affect tooling such as running through a thichness planer. Guess this would gum up the knives pretty fast but otherwise is there any other reason not to do this?

  • #2
    Well you sure know that the wood is stable and dry!! One thing to watch for is old wood that may have a layer of lead paint. Not a consideration if you have a clear finish. You may want to put some 60 grit on a belt sander or ROS to get the bulk of the clear finish off before going to the planer


    • #3
      I've made in the neighborhood of 25 projects in the last 3 years, and have paid for wood for about 3 of them. The vast majority used hard wood that I salvaged and recycled from other things. People throw out alot of good useable wood. Garage sales are another good source of inexpensive lumber. My employer throws out alot of good wood too....just ask. Sometimes I need to work a bit to salvage the good parts, and throw out the rest, but I enjoy seeing new life from an old piece.

      It helps to have a planer and jointer. Just be sure to check for nails, screws and staples.

      [ 03-31-2004, 12:11 PM: Message edited by: hewood ]


      • #4
        I will echo the nails and staples comment. I do most of my woodworking with salvaged wood. The first and costly mistake I made was visually looking the wood over for nails etc and then running it through my planer. I missed two embedded screws that did a number on my planer blades.

        Since that time I purchased a $40 stud finder with a metal detector mode. This has paid off for me many times over finding embedded staples and nails that I could not see by looking the wood over.

        If you see more lumber on the side of the road let me know and I will use it.


        • #5
          I was watching Norm Abrams this weekend and he suggested buying a metal detector wand from a security supply company. That should easily find all the nails, screws, and staples that you'd find in recycled wood.

          While my first few projects have all been with new wood, I do have a large stack of wood waiting to be recycled. I don't have a plainer or joiner though. I guess I'll need to take this stuff somewhere to get it milled. Any suggestions?


          • #6
            I do it all the time. I love finding old furniture that people are throwing out that has one or two good pieces of lumber in it. My thickness planer is broken at the moment but usually you can recovery then mill the lumber pretty nicely with handplanes.


            • #7
              Wanted to add to Bob D. that I got a lot of white oak from my town's newspaper building giving away used pallets. It was shorts and only 3/8 inch thick but a lot of it was quartersawn and all was well air-dried. Used it for a lot of boxes and accent wood in different things.


              • #8
                My wife and I regularly go to auctions in the Scranton,PA area. I see 6 foot long walnut and cherry, etc tables sell for $10 to$20 because a leg is damaged or a small crack is somewhere.


                • #9
                  evenin guys

                  I have been rehabing old homes for a couple guys and what i replace comes home with me. they always put in new cabinet's (the cheap unfinshed ones you can find at lowes or HD). I have the better ones in my shop now, and need a few more homes to finish three walls of work bench and functional wall cabinets in it. Work shopo will be complete in another month. All out of recycled wood.

                  Happy woodworking guys!


                  • #10
                    old wood

                    if you have a metal shop in town watch there, we have one here in van buren ar that gives their pallets away. their 8 to 10 feet long 4 feet wide and are usually made from 1 1/2 inch red oak,with 4x4 red oak beams. after tearing them apart running them through and jointer and plainer usually end up with 10 to 12 6 inch boards about 3 feet long 1 1/4 thick no nail holes.i take them then and run them through the bandsaw cut the in half and glue them together and replane them and get a board 12 inches wide 3 feet long and 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick. i do alot of scrollsaw work so it works great for me.and its free and does not take that much time to do.sure glad metal is heavy so they have to use thick hard wood to throw away.

                    REUSE WOOD DONT TRASH IT