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Working with reclaimed timber

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Steve Blackdog

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I have just reclaimed four 1" x 12" douglas fir 6' boards from a pair of old doors. They have been painted and stripped (burnt off not chemically stripped). The boards are about 100 years old and appear to be very stable.

I was thinking of using them in a work bench I am planning to build (Chris Schwartz's English Workbench). He recommends Douglas Fir as it is very stiff. It also has the advantage of being free :D

Are there any do's and don't's when working with reclaimed wood?

Cheers

Steve
 

marcros

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I am part way through building that same workbench. Well, loosely the same workbench, I have changed quite a few bits to suit my timber, space and taste. It is fundamentally the same though.

Doors may not be so bad, but check, check and check again for any embedded metal/grit/anything in reclaimed timber before it goes near any tools, powered or hand.
 

Shultzy

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No not really. Generally if you are going to plane reclaimed timber, make sure there is no nails, staples or bits of grit that will damage your blades. I tend to take a thin shaving off with my power planer or belt sander before any of my "expensive" tools get a look in.
 

Steve Blackdog

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They were internal doors, but still had quite a few random screws in them where there didn't seem to be any cause for screws!

Marcros - I don't think my final bench will be recognisable as Schwartz's bench, but it's a useful starting place;)
 

Benchwayze

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Steve,

Good on you, and don't let me put you off. However, I don't think the plan that CS gives as an English workbench uses a thick enough top. Unless you put in more cross pieces underneath to stiffen it. (These could be good redwood, sourced new) If you decided to follow CS's plan for the French version, two cubic feet of 1" thick planks, won't be enough to joint into a 4" thick top, 24" wide.

I bought three 13' planks of rough-sawn 12 x 2 SYP, and that is just enough to make a 3.5" thick top, 6 feet by 2 feet. To make a 4" thick top I shall l have to bulk out with MDF. I won't bother though, as I think 3.5" will be thick enough for a six foot long bench; where CS made an 8 footer.

You are doing the right thing using this timber, and it is good for a top. So all the best. If you need some thicker, chunkier Douglas Fir for the legs, when you are ready, give me a PM. I might be able to assist. I have 9 feet of Douglas Fir, about 8 inches square. (Just over 3 cube feet) Some splits, but nothing that an elastic epoxy can't cope with. It's been in all weathers, but its ready for re-sawing.

Best of Luck :D
 

Steve Blackdog

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Thanks for that John - CS seems to question the flex in the thinner work bench top. Mine won't be 8' long, unless my boss (ie wife) would let me have a bigger workshop (mine's 12' x 8'), so I was wondering if closer ribs would compensate in a shorter 5'6"is top. If this works, I can build a really solid french style bench in another life!!
 

Benchwayze

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Steve Blackdog":3o4xymfz said:
Thanks for that John - CS seems to question the flex in the thinner work bench top. Mine won't be 8' long, unless my boss (ie wife) would let me have a bigger workshop (mine's 12' x 8'), so I was wondering if closer ribs would compensate in a shorter 5'6"is top. If this works, I can build a really solid french style bench in another life!!
Yes extra cross-members will stiffen it lot. And in a 12 x 8 shop, I'd go down to a 5 foot bench.

I will put that Douglas Fir under cover for a while. When you're ready, check Douglas Fir prices at Sykes, in Atherstone, and we'll come to some 'beer token' arrangement, when you've seen the beam. It's not new, but it's virgin timber. :D
 
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