So over the last month or so we’ve started construction on our new house. I say we but in truth, I haven’t done much of anything yet but put up a temporary fence to keep the cows out of the construction site (not our cows; my neighbor rents our 14 acre pasture). We’ve hired someone to get us under roof. My work starts with the interior partition walls and utilities. In the mean time, the Mrs. and I decided that today would be a good day to sort through the wood pile in the barn.
You see the previous owner was a woodworker, and he left a rather large, disorganized pile of lumber in the barn loft. We’ve put off going through it until now because the barn is in a pretty sorry state and during the warmer months it’s full of wasps and hornets. But it was cool enough today, without being too cold, that they weren’t really active, so we took the opportunity to go through the pile to see if anything could be salvaged. Turns out, a lot of it wasn’t all that bad.
Probably half of what was up there was pre-finished tongue and groove oak that was likely salvaged wall paneling judging by the electrical box cutouts we found in several of the planks. Many of these were bug eaten or rotted, but I may be able to salvage some of them for shop wall boards or cabinet backs or something.
Next, there was a bunch of pine. A lot of this looked like it was sawn as barn wood, probably for siding. It may even be a mix of pine and white cedar, I’m not really sure. We brought some nice 14″ wide white pine boards down, as well as some other better looking cabinet grade pine and a few of the barn boards before deciding to leave the rest of the barn wood in the loft until we restore the barn.
There was also a bunch of salvaged lumber that I think might be American chestnut (the left pile above). Having never seen American chestnut in person before, I’m not 100% sure that’s what it is. It has the face grain pattern of red oak, but the open pores are a much darker brown than red oak. And it’s definitely not white oak. It also weighs a lot less than oak. Maybe half what you’d expect an oak board to weigh. And it has lots of worm holes, which doesn’t really mean much, except that none of the other boards that were up there had worm holes like these boards. I’m going to plane a piece of it up and saw off one end to have a look. I’ll post more about it once I do. Are there any chestnut experts out there who can help identify it?
Then we got to the good stuff. There wasn’t quite as much furniture wood as there was barn wood, but there was enough to keep me busy for a little while. While we left the T&G oak paneling, chestnut and pine back in the barn, we did load up the really good stuff to bring back to the shop. On the left above, is a stack of black walnut in various widths and thicknesses. On the right is a similarly sized pile of cherry. In the middle, is a slightly larger pile of oak. This lumber was mostly S2S, but also looked to be primarily FAS grade and perfect for furniture.
As a bonus, we also found what appears to be a small piece of maple and a couple pieces of 6/4 mahogany. On the right is a board of the mystery wood that I think might be chestnut. Not bad for a day’s work. And you certainly can’t beat the view.