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12 posts 1 2

100+ year old barn wood

#185778 by tdubnik » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:31 am

Recently my daughter-in-law asked me to build a coffee table for a recent addition to their home. She showed me a picture of a table that she liked and asked if I could mimic it. The picture she showed me was of a new table that looked like it was picked up at a garbage dump. It was distressed and looked to be falling apart and the builder attempted to make it look old. To me it just looked fake.

I told her if I built it I would use genuine reclaimed wood that shows the true character of age and not a faux finish. I told her I would have to find the wood as I didn't have any readily available. I managed to find the wood on Craig's list but had to pay double what new wood would cost and drive for over an hour to get it. As it turns out the wood came from old barns salvaged in north Georgia and was around 100 years old. The wood was full thickness and still showed marks from a circular saw mill.

I got the table built and she was very pleased with the results. Never hurts to earn a few brownie points.
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Wood for the top and base. I planed the underside to a consistent thickness and skip planed the top to get rid of some splinters.

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These are some ~6x6 posts I turned legs from. The turning was a difficult task as the wood was hard and brittle and prone to tear out and chipping. I was luck that for this particular table those were desirable traits.

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This is just some of what I found in the wood. I had to buy a metal detector to find all of the nails imbedded in the wood. Many couldn't be seen on the surface as the visable portion had rusted completely away.

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In the end this is what I wound up building.

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This is the table sitting in its new home with my two grandsons checking it out.

Turned out to be a fun project and challenging as I had to refresh what little turning skill I might once have had. I also had to figure out how to remove nails that you couldn't grab hold of and were sometimes imbedded by 1/2 to 1 inch.

When I was growing up on my dad's Georgia farm we had old buildings on the property. Sometimes they would fall in or we would dismantle them but we hardly ever kept the old wood. Back then we would pile it up and light a big bon-fire. I guess times have changed.

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Re: 100+ year old barn wood

#185780 by paulsgreenbarn » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:41 am

That's a great job on the Coffee table.Gotta love the old reclaimed barn wood.I'll take a dozen of those table and will sell them in about two weeks I bet.Very cool design.you have a good eye to come up with that piece.

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Re: 100+ year old barn wood

#185782 by rjent » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:00 am

Very very nice! Nice design.

How did you do the breadboards at the ends?

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Dick

1965 Mark VII S/N 407684
1951 10 ER S/N ER 44570 -- Reborn 9/16/14
1950 10 ER S/N ER 33479 Reborn July 2016
1950 10 ER S/N ER 39671
1951 jigsaw
1951 !0 ER #3 in rebuild
500, Jointer, Bsaw, Bsander, Planer
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And a plethora of small stuff .....


"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine." - Benjamin Franklin

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Re: 100+ year old barn wood

#185791 by tdubnik » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:23 pm

rjent wrote:Very very nice! Nice design.

How did you do the breadboards at the ends?


Nothing very fancy. I left a 3/4" thick tenon on the top and routed a corresponding groove in the breadboard ends. I attached the ends by drilling holes from the bottom but not all of the way through the top to insert 1/4" dowels. I removed the end boards, enlarged the dowel holes drilled through the tenon to allow for expansion except for the center hole. I then glued the center 3" or so; put the end back on and inserted the dowels from the bottom being careful to only glue them to the breadboard end and not the top.

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Re: 100+ year old barn wood

#185792 by masonsailor2 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:35 pm

What a beautiful job ! Did you use a duplicator for the legs ? Old barn wood worth more than new wood. Makes you appreciate old barns a lot more. I grew up on a cattle ranch in Montana which was founded by my great great grandfather in the 1870's after the civil war. When I was about 10 or 11 my grandfather and father decided to get rid of the "great barn" as we called it which was really old at the time. They wanted to build a new modern barn. So on Christmas eve they invited all the neighboring ranches and they burned it to the ground. One of my best childhood memories ! Wish I had the wood now :)
Paul

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Re: 100+ year old barn wood

#185794 by tdubnik » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:00 pm

masonsailor2 wrote: Did you use a duplicator for the legs ? :)
Paul


Paul,

Unfortunately, I don't own the lathe duplicator so I had to turn all of the legs by hand. I did it the old fashioned way by taking measurements and using a caliper to set my key depths. I also made a profile template that I could use to check my progress. They turned out fairly close but they are not duplicates by any means.

I actually had to turn nine legs as I made two tables(made one to sell and recoup the cost of the wood). The ninth leg was because the first one I attempted blew out a huge chunk that I couldn't glue back in place.

Your question on the lathe duplicator leads to an interesting project I have just completed and will post soon. Stay tuned as I think this project will be of interest to many of our Forum members.

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Re: 100+ year old barn wood

#185800 by beeg » Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:06 pm

LOVE that table. How does it compare to the one the D-I-L saw? Bet the grand-boys are thinking "we CAN'T destroy that table." :D

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SS 500(09/1980), DC3300, jointer, bandsaw, belt sander, Strip Sander, drum sanders,molder, dado, biscuit joiner, universal lathe tool rest, Oneway talon chuck, router bits & chucks and a De Walt 735 planer,a #5,#6, block planes. ALL in a 100 square foot shop.
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Bob

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Re: 100+ year old barn wood

#185813 by algale » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:59 pm

Super design and execution. Love it!

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Gale's Law: The bigger the woodworking project, the less the mistakes show in any photo taken far enough away to show the entire project!

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Re: 100+ year old barn wood

#185814 by charlese » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:58 pm

It is no surprise that your wife is "very pleased" with the new/old table!

I enjoyed your expression of the only way to build this table. And your effort to get old wood.

Beautiful job! Just beautiful!! Excellent workmanship! :D :D

Also, I'm thrilled that you are able to make those legs without the aid of that "thing". Nice work!

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Octogenarian's have an earned right to be a curmudgeon.
Chuck in Lancaster, CA

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Re: 100+ year old barn wood

#185827 by tdubnik » Fri Mar 20, 2015 5:11 am

beeg wrote:LOVE that table. How does it compare to the one the D-I-L saw? Bet the grand-boys are thinking "we CAN'T destroy that table." :D


The picture she showed me was similar in design but built from new wood and made to look old. To me it was very obvious it wasn't reclaimed wood and the distressing and finish just looked fake. She likes this one much better and got to see the building of it several times along the way. She also had a hand in designing the legs.

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