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west coast
furniture from old barn wood

Looking to build tables for our great room from old barn wood. Have been told that if using wood from old animal barns the wood will have animal urine smell. Anyone know if this is true?

MLB Construction
Re: furniture from old barn wood

sure it's true.... some of it does and some of it doesn't. regardless of the smell you'll have to clean it all up, plane or sand it, poly it, etc. smell the boards you want to use and if they smell ok, use them

A. Spruce
Re: furniture from old barn wood
MLB Construction wrote:

sure it's true.... some of it does and some of it doesn't. regardless of the smell you'll have to clean it all up, plane or sand it, poly it, etc. smell the boards you want to use and if they smell ok, use them

Ditto, depends on what the barn was used for and where in the barn the wood came from. If it's a livestock barn, then yes, it will have a composted manure aroma to it, not particularly unpleasant, but probably not something you want airing out in your house. :p If it was a hay barn or equipment barn, then it will smell of old wood, hay, and possibly old greasy equipment.

So, as MLB suggest, give the wood a good sniff and see what you think. You might need to sand or cut it to get a true sense of it's aroma.

One massive piece of advice. Invest in a good metal detector, what you spend on the detector will more than pay for itself in prevention of tool damage and bodily injury. Used wood is notoriously full of metal bits, the closer to the ground it spent it's life, the more metal bits it will have accumulated, not to mention dirt, rocks, gravel, and small children that will be embedded. While these latter things can't be found with a metal detector, they tend to be less of an issue, other than for dulling blades. If you're going to be doing much work with reclaimed lumber, then you'd also be doing yourself a big favor by investing in a surface sander, rather than using a planer to remove that initial layer of material.

dj1
Re: furniture from old barn wood

Using such lumber for tables is a wild and crazy idea. Better use this lumber for projects in the barn.

A. Spruce
Re: furniture from old barn wood

That's not quite fair, dj, there are a lot of nice things made from reclaimed wood. The thing is, one should be choosy from whence this wood comes. :cool:

dj1
Re: furniture from old barn wood
A. Spruce wrote:

That's not quite fair, dj, there are a lot of nice things made from reclaimed wood. The thing is, one should be choosy from whence this wood comes. :cool:

I agree with you, reclaimed wood is often very useful. But wood that has animal scent, and for tables of all uses?

JLMCDANIEL
Re: furniture from old barn wood

I've used reclaimed barn wood for many projects and have had no problems. Be sure to check for bug infestation though. Oak is subject to powder post beetles and termites. Termites and generally not a problem once removed from access.

Jack

ordjen
Re: furniture from old barn wood

Even if some smell were present, a coat of clear shellac would encapsulate it. Follwed by a coat of dull varnish, the look would be pretty much maintained, except for a slight amber tone, which might actualy enhance its look.

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