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Country Discussion Topics
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Turning old wood into cabinetry
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Michele in VA    Posted 02-16-2004 at 17:34:42       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi folks.

I'm going to tear apart the inside of my pony barn. Not all of it, just a coupla inside/ stable walls. I want to use the wood, which is probably pretty strong stuff, to make a bookshelf. How would I go about doing this? I assume I'd need it planed. The barn is 50 or so years old and the wood may be even older. THen where would I go to learn how to make a cabinet like that?

Michele in VA    Posted 02-23-2004 at 07:31:01       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thank you all for your excellent advice. I will
NOT use my school's planer, but rather find
someone with a commercial grade drum

deadcarp    Posted 02-17-2004 at 04:25:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
i once wanted to make a round table and found out the local high school had a big lathe. they also had a night school. so for $15 i got access to all their shop tools for 3 months. there were 2 gals in the class, i remember one made a grandfathers clock. look into it. :)

Hunter n NOLa    Posted 02-17-2004 at 03:41:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
It would be a good idea to use a metal detector to search both sides of the boards for metal pieces such as brads, nails, staples and/or screws.

Burrhead    Posted 02-16-2004 at 20:00:45       [Reply]  [No Email]

Michele these folks here are right you can tear a planer all to pieces on used lumber.

I use my 18" bandsaw and do a resaw of old lumber for shelves and cabinets. Here's a pic at Rockler's doing a resaw.

At worst if you hit a nail or brad hard enough you lose a sawblade that's about $7 around here. To rent a saw is about $20 to $25 per 24 hrs.

If you use a very fine tooth saw blade it won't leave but very little sanding and possibly no sanding at all. Just take it slow in old wood so you don't scorch the wood or burn up the blade.

Look on the site I've linked in and you'll find specific directions to make cabinets and trim plus the rip fence for the bandsaw.

It's very simple with c-clamps and a scrap piece of board.

Set the rip fence shallow so you just barely take the rough edges off the boards.

If you have 2" planks to cut you can set the fence and rip the planks to 1" for shelves & case and that smoothes one side of 2 boards at once.

Whatever you work with be sure to wear safety glasses, and don't have loose clothes or hair hanging down to get in the saw or whatever you decide to use. I always use push blocks on the board so I don't ram a finger in.

Fern(Mi)    Posted 02-17-2004 at 04:09:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
My thought the accumilated dirt and sand caught if the wood fibers would be enough to take the edges of the planes blades. I would go with a belt sander or better yet a stroke sander.

Burrhead    Posted 02-17-2004 at 10:03:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
yep that's why I use a bandsaw the dirt will dull planer blades moscoshee. Sawblades hold up pretty fair

Michael M    Posted 02-16-2004 at 18:23:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
I did something very similar, using some wood, one inch thick boards that were the roof decking taken from a cabin. The boards were sawn about 1880. I had very good results simply using a belt sander. I used the wood to trim some interior windows, finishing it with boiled linseed oil.
Old wood is very hard. Even if someone with a power planer were to take a chance on finding a nail, which they very likely won't, the wood itself would likely be hard enough to damage the machine, severely.
As for making cabinets, or whatever, there are some very good do-it-yourself books out. I have one from Black&Decker that my wife got for me, that has plans and step by step instructions for all of the furniture that it looks like I will be making once the lumber that I am cutting from some of our trees is dry enough.
Native hardwood is called that because it is very hard, dried properly. I have seen brand new "heavy duty" planers self destruct and spit parts out on a new cut, air dried piece of oak,walnut or maple. Unless the machine is industrial grade, it most likely won't do the job.
Good luck.

Fawteen    Posted 02-16-2004 at 18:03:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
Planing the wood will certainly bring out the grain. A lot of those old buildings were built out of hardwoods that are now considered precious, you could wind up with some beautiful stuff.

You'll likely have a hard time finding anybody willing to plane it however, as one little nail or bit of iron in the wood (VERY likely with old used wood) and you've ruined an expensive set of planer knives.

A better plan might be to try and find someone with a production drum sander. It'll take a mite longer, but it won't tear things up if there happens to be a bit of hardware in the wood.

As far as learning to "make cabinets" I'd suggest looking into an Adult Ed woodworking course. Cabinets are mostly about mastering basic joinery (butt joints, rabbet joints, half-lap joints, finger joints, and dovetails).

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