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Antique Barn siding. Looking for ID. Any salvage folks out there?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by fishingpol, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I kept this out of the wood shed as it is does not relate to woodburning too much. I picked up some barn boards for some wood projects and I am having a hard time identifying them.

    Before

    IMG_3002.JPG

    Mystery piece is on the left ripped down and after going through the planer. Red oak sample freshly planed on the right.

    IMG_3015.JPG


    Red oak on the left, mystery piece in the middle and walnut chunk on the right.

    IMG_3008.JPG


    All are flat sawn. Oak and walnut have small open pockets in the grain, the middle mystery wood had closed grain. It is a slight darker red than the red oak. When I cut and planed it, the smell did not stand out as something I recognize. Definitely not a pine, oak, cherry or walnut odor. It is most likely a New England hardwood.

    I have ruled out the pine and fir family, cherry, walnut, maple and red oak. Definitely not locust, poplar, basswood. It is similar in weight and density to red oak, but it is not. It is not soft by any means. There is a section with a knot, but it is not pitchy at all.

    I am thinking another type of oak(white, pin?), chestnut or elm(not stringy whatsoever). It works very nicely with tools.

    Does anyone know what barns or outbuildings were vertical sided with in the late 1800's to early 1900's era? Any help is appreciated that can lead me in the right direction.

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  2. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I don't have an answer. But I do know many older barns here in PA are made from Hemlock, as it is naturally insect and weather resistant.
    ScotO likes this.
  3. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    Is that cherry?
  4. Butcher

    Butcher Minister of Fire

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    How old is the barn? Do some research as to what wood was growing in that area as a native speacies. It looks like oak but as a woodworker I can tell you that ash cut and plained can almost look like oak. Around my parts most barns that are left are all cedar as that is 1 of the few native trees in this area that was abundant to use. This is my old barn dated to around 1890 which in my neck of the woods is old.
    IMG_1160.JPG
    Sadly it is on its last legs as the foundation is shot and after an F4 tornado in 08 the roof is pretty much shot. It is made almost all from cedar from bats to siding to beams as that was what was growing around here at the time of construction. Anyways, I'd bet you got some ash or elm from the looks of it to me. Aint it funny how them old boards can look so good after so many years no matter what they is?
  5. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Here is another board, same species. Project number three and four in line. Flourescent lights in the basement don't bring the true colors out, so I brought these up to the kitchen.





    IMG_3024.JPG
  6. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    No. Very close in color but grain is like oak, but with no open pores.
  7. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    I have seen that wood before, but I can't name it now!
  8. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I hope you can find some use for that barn. It is amazing what grain patterns lie beneath the age. Some pieces will be kept original gray, others planed for the beautiful grain underneath.

    Next time I go back for more boards, I'll get some more info. The piles are under tarps all stickered up, so I don't know if they are from the same salvage project. Most of their jobs are from Ma/NH. There was a guy on Craigslist recently selling barn boards from tobacco barns, I was interested in buying some of that.

    As far as ash, these pieces are quite a bit reddish, almost cherry in color.
  9. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Get with it man! ;lol
  10. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I did a little more research online. I am thinking beech now. Here is a stock id photo. Anyone woodwork with beech? Does it look similar? I think I am getting warmer...

    [​IMG]
  11. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

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    Long and straight grain, wide grain meaning fast growth. I would think pine, given how prevalent it its. Possibly long leaf / old growth.
  12. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    The worm holes look exactly like those in chestnut pieces I have, although the grain doesn't look right. If it looks like oak but is much lighter in weight, I'd say Chestnut.
  13. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    The pic in post 10 looks like beech

    the first ones look like old growth hard pine.

    The beech I've seen was a whitish grey with no oil or stain
  14. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Pic in #10 is a stock photo of beech off the net.

    I'll research old growth hard pine. The grains does not look anything like pine.

    There was not a hint of pine smell during the planing. It takes quite some force to dent the wood with a fingernail. The wood is almost as hard as oak.
  15. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    The trim boards in my old house that was built in 1925 by the same guy that owned a lumberyard was supposedly old growth hard pine.
    The old carpenter that seemed to know what it was may have said old growth heart pine.
    Heavy, hard as a rock, tight grain. Not a knot in the whole house.
  16. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Yes, from what I have read, heart pine was from old growth longleaf pines from the mid to south eastern US, pre 1900. After that was second generation pines. Our house is a circa 1910 and southern yellow pine was used for some flooring and casework. I did an addition on the back of the house and the trim boards that I removed were very dense southern yellow pine. Heart pine is loosely used to describe SYP. SYP is also any number of southern pine species.
  17. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I'm leaning towards beech, I cut a huge limb off of a white beech this past summer and I slabbed some of it for tomahawk and hammer handles. Looks alot like the grain of your mystery piece, but the color is pure white. Maybe your's is red beech or it could just be all those years in the weather that gave it that patina.....

    Either way, I like beech. Most woodworkers shy away from it, not sure why (maybe the hardness of it?) Is that piece of wood dense and very hard?

    I was hoping to see some chestnut in those boards.....that stuff is prized nowadays. I priced some reclaimed barn beam chestnut plank flooring for our living room and almost barfed at the cost of that stuff.....it was up around 16.00/square foot!!

    That room would cost me almost 9 grand to put that in for the floor......NO WAY. But it is some really beautiful stuff.

    A buddy of mine tore a barn down late last fall and he said I could have whats left of the beams. He said they are American Chestnut......
    Can't get up there until later in spring to get them, but I'm hoping they are still there and I'm hoping they are chestnut. I'll get them milled into boards and someday, down the road, make flooring for my living room and master bedroom....
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  18. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Yeah the darker small flecks in the grain really look like beech. I've read a few sites where wood can darken with age when used as barn siding.

    I believe that beech is not used too much for woodworking because of wood movement. I've seen wood a bit denser that this stuff, so I don't think it is a workability issue. It reminds me of cherry or oak when cutting it.

    I kind of feel a little bad planing it down instead of using it in it's gray aged color, but what lies beneath is amazing. The stacks that I picked from are not labelled, it is either gray(exterior) or brown(interior) barnboard. It may be a crapshoot of what I get. Looking at the gray board right from the salvage guy, there is really no way to tell what species it is. I knew from the weight that it was not pine. I had the heft of oak or locust. My next trip I will make sure I get the heavy boards. It is almost like opening a present to see what is under the weathered wood as it exits the screaming planer.

    That barn that you are salvaging pieces from should be quite awesome to pick through. Good luck with that.
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  19. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I still have to send you a couple chunks of that antique pine beam I have.....I'll see if this turns out to be chestnut, and I'll send some chunks of that too.
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  20. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I'll send you back a nice finished product in return. I have a bunch more ideas for you to pick from.
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