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Old May 31st 05, 06:24 PM
 
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Default Recycled lumber: Is it safe?

I'm planning to build a porch awning (roof) over an existing patio, and
have been looking at salvaged lumber for the structure. It's way
oversized stuff by modern standards -- 6x6s and 6x8s. I live near
Philadelphia where, unfortunately, someone is always taking down a 200-
or 300-year old building.

I mentioned this to the builder I might use and he has really been
talking the whole idea of using old wood. He said wood gets compressed
over time so, if a piece has been used horizontally, it might not hold
if it's used vertically -- as a post, for instance.
Then, he mentioned "all the work" of pulling out old nails, etc. He
seemed unreasonably down on the idea.

I thought anything that wasn't rotted or split would be useable. Am I
hopelessly naive?

Mark


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Old May 31st 05, 06:52 PM
Edwin Pawlowski
 
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wrote in message
oups.com...
I'm planning to build a porch awning (roof) over an existing patio, and
have been looking at salvaged lumber for the structure. It's way
oversized stuff by modern standards -- 6x6s and 6x8s. I live near
Philadelphia where, unfortunately, someone is always taking down a 200-
or 300-year old building.

I mentioned this to the builder I might use and he has really been
talking the whole idea of using old wood. He said wood gets compressed
over time so, if a piece has been used horizontally, it might not hold
if it's used vertically -- as a post, for instance.
Then, he mentioned "all the work" of pulling out old nails, etc. He
seemed unreasonably down on the idea.



More work for him. Old growth lumber is generally denser, tighter spacing
on the annual rings. Yes, it will take a little more work but I think you
get better results. Chances are it must be re-sawn, sanded or planed. A
metal detector is good to find those nails.


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Old May 31st 05, 06:59 PM
Gideon
 
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Duane,

Personally, I see little wrong with using recycled lumber, with some
caveats. My uncle built his home decades ago and I know that much
of the lumber in the house was scrounged. In some mission-critical
situations he over-engineered to be on the safe side. For example,
he sistered together double beams where single beams would normally
be used to hold up the house. Some of those beams that he used
were actually retrieved as they floated down the local river. Obviously,
the beams were dried and examined before being used. Even so,
he sistered them to be on the safe side - why not, they were free.

It seems to me that lumber that has been properly sized on a well-
engineered home is going to show little deformation. I believe that your
potential contractor's concerns are similar to mine: Messing with the
salvaged lumber is more time consuming and riskier. It is much easier
for a contractor to hand a bill of materials to a lumber yard and work
with the exact quantity of virgin lumber. Even if you remove nails and
examine the lumber, he still has several concerns. He is taking the
risk that a structural problem could occur and he could face liability
issues. Also, he runs the risk of ruining his tools on any nails which
fail to get removed. There is also the liability of somebody getting
injured from nails which didn't get removed.

Also, the builder has to be concerned with uniform lumber dimensions.
The actual size of standard nominal lumber has changed over the
years (eg: 2x4 lumber) and some very old lumber may be very non-
standard. Also, as another poster has mentioned, very old lumber
is much more dense and hence more difficult to work with.

If you are considering doing the work yourself, then work with the
salvaged lumber if you consider the price savings to be worth you
extra time and effort.

Good luck,
Gideon


wrote in message
.com...
I'm planning to build a porch awning (roof) over an existing patio, and
have been looking at salvaged lumber for the structure. It's way
oversized stuff by modern standards -- 6x6s and 6x8s. I live near
Philadelphia where, unfortunately, someone is always taking down a 200-
or 300-year old building.

I mentioned this to the builder I might use and he has really been
talking the whole idea of using old wood. He said wood gets compressed
over time so, if a piece has been used horizontally, it might not hold
if it's used vertically -- as a post, for instance.
Then, he mentioned "all the work" of pulling out old nails, etc. He
seemed unreasonably down on the idea.

I thought anything that wasn't rotted or split would be useable. Am I
hopelessly naive?

Mark



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Old May 31st 05, 07:33 PM
toller
 
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Well sure, that is why all the 200 year old buildings simply fall down.

Besides, if you are oversizing the lumber, what do you care if it gets a bit
weaker?




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Old May 31st 05, 08:12 PM
[email protected]
 
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I think the point is in saying that while the lumber if its old and in
good condition
may be fine to use, the other problems such as nails and unusual sizing
may
make the project for a contractor unrealistic. Unless of course the
owner
insists and covers the extra expense of using the old materials.

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Old June 1st 05, 02:57 AM
Duane Bozarth
 
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TURTLE wrote:

"HeyBub" wrote in message

....
I still remember the toughest job I ever did. In 1970 I tore down a one-car
garage built in the '30s. The goddamn wood just would not let go of a nail! I
had to knock 2x4s apart with a 12-pound sledge!


....

You sure you was not getting Oak boards off the garage for they will be hell to
take down. It will take a 3 foot crawl bar to pull a 10 penny nail out.


Not necessarily...SYP after it fully cures is about as difficult. Many
others have similar characteristics. Really only the soft pines aren't
prone to it. Even Doug Fir gets pretty doggone hard w/ time...


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