Sunday, April 22, 2012

Free Lumber Recycling for Earth Day

Yo, what's up!?  How you doin'?

So free lumber from craigslist!  You can't beat free!  It was my first experience getting free lumber from craigslist.  Mostly when the ads pop up they are too far away for consideration.  This time a fellow by the name of Steve had an ad on there and my dad and I drove down there to check it out.  I was stoked to try and recycle wood for my projects.

It's difficult to tell what the lumber is like from those pictures on CL and I figured these boards were smaller, but you don't want to pester someone giving you something free, or I don't.  It's that whole not looking a gift horse in the mouth thing.  But there really are some fundamental questions that one should ask before spending money on fuel, etc...  You have to make a cost/benefit analysis whenever you are recycling anything unfortunately because nothing is really free.

In this case I was taken aback by the size of the planks.  Some were 24 feet long and I had assumed they were in the range of 10 foot.  Either way, after some back breaking work we got them unloaded.  It was too much work for my dad and I actually and as you can tell by the picture below that it took up a lot of space and created a hazard in a high traffic area that later cost my Uncle severe injury leading to a trip to the hospital with a broken nose an plastic surgery under his eye.  The rule of working in a shop, or anywhere for that matter, is ALWAYS BE CAREFUL.  But when you are working with lumber that weighs 200 pounds plus, you get fatigued.  Always being careful also means that you have to know your limits.  In this situation, I was the one who made the mistake and someone else paid for it.  When it came down to it, I should have nipped the whole situation in the bud and declined the free wood.  Knowing that now doesn't help my uncle's massive headache.  Sometimes education comes at a high price. 

 Removing the nails and trimming the lumber to a manageable size actually took two days.  We took one plank at at time and thoroughly inspected them.  If a nail goes through the planer later on, it will destroy the blades and we can't have that happening.  Hopefully we got everything.  It would be nice to have a metal detector.  The next series of pictures my uncle is using a nail puller made in 1906.  Sometimes old tools ROCK.  I forget the name of it but basically you place the jaws around an exposed nail part, hammer the sliding handle onto a stop and the jaws dig into the wood around the nail and grab it.  Then there is a finger off of one of the jaws that you use to pry the nail out.

 These next series of pics we are ripping along the length of the boards around knots, holes and termites to leave us with decent pieces of lumber that I can hopefully make into planks.  We had no idea what kind of wood it was until we actually cut into it.  I had an idea that it was mostly pine and was correct.  I think there were two that were cedar and one of those was not any good.
I didn't have a fence guide for my saw.  Basically it is a post that comes out the side of the saw with guiding edge on it that allows you to adjust how wide you want to cut a plank the length of the board.  My uncle figured out how to Gerry Rig on with a guide from another saw and a wee "C" clamp.  (pictured above)

Below I am ripping a board that was twice as heavy as the rest and I was thinking it was oak, but alas, it was a nice piece of pine that is ungodly rezzy!  The resin was so oily that it made no airborne dust and the dust it made you could squish into snow balls and throw them at each other!  The last pic shows how nice it looks, but I doubt that I can use it for anything that is going to be laminated with epoxy as I fear it would never stick.  All the other pine is wicked dry and should be fine for smaller applications, but I will dive into research on that before I do use any of it.  Either way these planks are in much better order outside but still to big to bring inside.  After this Nor'Easter passes I will break them down into more manageable pieces and maybe even mill more planks and test epoxy adhesion on them.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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