Welcome! Forums General Woodworking Discussions Wood and Wood Preparation Risks in older lumber for novice woodworker?

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  • #548242
    Blaine Hill
    Participant

    I’ve been offered free lumber, with my only cost is truck rental and time to fetch is (weekend trip).

    My in-laws have have offered me two piles of wood in their basement. Each pile is waist high, perhaps 36 inches wide of rough sawn lumber. One pile is cherry and black walnut, all at least 1 inch thick, with some monster 4 inch square pieces. The other pile is cedar(perhaps useful for Paul’s blanket chest?). Both have pieces at 8 and 10 feet long. All the trees were cut from their property, and stored in a basement (heat and AC, though a bit damp and dank). All the wood is at least ten years old. The ends were not waxed or painted.

    I’ve three strong sons to help me load and unload, and can rent a truck. Is there any reason not to jump on this opportunity? I’m quite new to lumber and use of handtools.

    #548251
    deanbecker
    Participant

    The only thing i think you should do differently is bring it to me for storage.
    Sounds like a perfect deal. Especially with the three sons.

    #548252
    harry wheeler
    Participant

    That really sounds like a great find and if it were me, I would definitely go for it. As long as the wood has been out of the elements and free of insects, it should be okay. Not sealing the ends may have allowed some cracking but those cracks usually won’t go very far. Unsealed ends just dry and shrink quicker than the main part of the board which is why it cracks. Hopefully, it was “stickered” meaning that layers of lumber were separated with spacers to allow air flow around the entire surface of each board. That just speeds up the curing process. If it wasn’t stored that way, you can expect the interior boards in the stack to have a higher moisture content and they will need some additional drying time before you try to use them. If you have a moisture meter, try to get the wood below 12% moisture before using it. That much lumber can weigh in at 3,000 to 5000 pounds, depending on how it’s stacked, so keep that in mind for transport purposes.

    Harry

    #548263
    btyreman
    Participant

    sounds like a great deal, I wouldn’t hesitate to take and use that wood, providing you have the space e.t.c

    #548265
    Blaine Hill
    Participant

    Thank you. The tip on the weight was very helpful. I’ll stack it with stickers and let it acclimate in my garage. @ deanbecker, nice try!

    #548305
    deanbecker
    Participant

    That was worth trying.
    Do check for bugs ,small holes ,and sawdust piles,, and if necessary treat the problem before mixing it with other woods.
    Do t know your location but some areas are prone to wood worms

    #548308
    harry wheeler
    Participant

    I also meant to share some rules with you regarding free lumber:
    1. If it’s offered, the answer is always yes no matter what.
    2. Get to it as fast as possible – you never know what might happen.
    3. Don’t tell anybody about it – especially fellow woodworkers – most of us can’t be trusted when it comes to free wood.

    Harry

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