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There is a design studio near my house that does a lot of work with reclaimed lumber, primarily stuff that they get from old barns. The studio doesn't generally sell to the public, but the owner said I was welcome to pick through the scrap pile. He had some cool looking 4/4 white oak boards that are 10" wide and 3 feet long. The boards have already been denailed. 

When I asked how much he wanted per board, he said $30 bucks a piece. On a board-foot basis ($12/bft) these are incredibly expensive relative to standard white oak ($5/bft locally). Is this kind of markup common on reclaimed wood? Since the guy was nice enough to let me go through the pile, I didn't want to make a big deal out of the pricing at the time. He did have a ton of stock, though, and I would be certainly interested in taking more of it off his hands at more reasonable prices. 

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The reclaimed market values vary somewhat by region, it all depends on what the current local design trend is. Based on what I see locally, that price is not unexpected.

Keep in mind that people following this design trend want

a.) to see the rustic appearance of 'reclaimed' materials, or

b.) to own a piece with some story behind it, like how the material came from a barn owned by <insert historical figure of choice>.

c. ) all of the above.

I would NOT spend extra money for reclaimed material unless the client was willing to absorb the cost. Reclaiming lumber can add a ton of overhead, especially if it is reclaimed from an existing structure. Dismantling a building and cleaning to lumber for re-use is labor intensive.

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What  @wtnhighlander said, and there is the added danger to your tools, with hidden gravel in the wood or nails with the heads gone.  if you wish to take those chances, plus pay a premium for the wood, you might want to have a sure outlet at a considerably higher price than what you would charge for the same piece made from new wood.

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18 hours ago, RichardA said:

What  @wtnhighlander said, and there is the added danger to your tools, with hidden gravel in the wood or nails with the heads gone.  if you wish to take those chances, plus pay a premium for the wood, you might want to have a sure outlet at a considerably higher price than what you would charge for the same piece made from new wood.

I am still building furniture for my own house, so there are no real client concerns. I do like the reclaimed look, and I thought it would be interesting to try to try my hand on the epoxy work for the knot and nail holes. 

Regarding the risk to my tools, I took a metal detector to the boards that I did buy from the guy last night, and I wasn't able to find any trace of metal in the wood. Aside from the metal detector and scrubbing everything down with a wire brush, is there anything else that I can do to avoid nasty metallic surprises?

 

 

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Most of the cost of reclaimed material is in the sourcing and processing of the material. Getting access to the buildings that are being removed can be tricky and removing the wood can be tricky and possibly dangerous. After the wood is obtained there is a lot of manual labor removing nails and debris. To put $12/bf in perspective 1 guy would have to process an 8' 1x6 (remove from building, transport to your shop, pull all the nails, and dispose of waste material) every 15 min provided obtaining the material was free, which it often isn't.

If you are a fan of the look of reclaimed lumber dunnage from steel construction is often hardwood and can have a lot of character.  Below is a table I've made from dunnage. They typically throw it away so removing it from their site saves them disposal costs.

9145607771675536223.thumb.jpg.89c90e2946cb4c198829b76ad90af36e.jpg

3 hours ago, TomInNC said:

is there anything else that I can do to avoid nasty metallic surprises?

You can try running a very strong magnet over the surface.

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2 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

Most of the cost of reclaimed material is in the sourcing and processing of the material. Getting access to the buildings that are being removed can be tricky and removing the wood can be tricky and possibly dangerous. After the wood is obtained there is a lot of manual labor removing nails and debris. To put $12/bf in perspective 1 guy would have to process an 8' 1x6 (remove from building, transport to your shop, pull all the nails, and dispose of waste material) every 15 min provided obtaining the material was free, which it often isn't.

If you are a fan of the look of reclaimed lumber dunnage from steel construction is often hardwood and can have a lot of character.  Below is a table I've made from dunnage. They typically throw it away so removing it from their site saves them disposal costs.

9145607771675536223.thumb.jpg.89c90e2946cb4c198829b76ad90af36e.jpg

You can try running a very strong magnet over the surface.

Good point on the labor costs. I guess I was primarily surprised by the cost because the owner said he was just trying to get rid of the lumber that was left over from some renovation work that they had done. This really makes me wonder what they charged for the renovation!

 

 

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Just mpo but I’m not in favor of the front and back of the top being laminated for the thickness and the bull nose. The views of it from the sides look odd. Also, from the link, it gives you a rotate view and I notice at least three horizontal cross pieces on the inside of each side. If you go that route, you need to allow for wood movement and not attach them with glue but with screws with elongated holes in the cross pieces. We’d like to see this in progress as a journal which would also allow you to ask further questions if the need arises. Good luck! 

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One view from the side does show screw holes in the cleats that Coop pointed out. Same view also shows what appears to be a wide, and partially exposed, tenon joining the side to the top. This looks like a very weak joint to me, I bet there is more structure under the top than we can see. Must be a stretcher or bracing, otherwise that design would collapse like a house of cards.

Please do keep us in the loop, I'm very curious to see your solution for the top.

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I wasn't going to include the cleats or the bullnose if I tried to make the table. Do you think standard through tenons to the top be strong enough? I am very early in my joinery journey and have yet to attempt through tenons, and I thought this might be a nice chance to try it out. I saw a cool video last night that used wedged mortise and tenons to attach a top (see below), but this appears to be way beyond my skill level at this point.

 

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I think the through tenon, wedged, will be plenty stong and easier to accomplish than you think. However, it doesn't provide much resistance to racking forces that will turn the table into a non-rectangular parallelogram. A stretcher or other bracing would help that tremendously. Given that this is a side table, not a step stool, you might get away with it, but I tend to err to the side of caution.

PS- the wedged tenon in the thumbnail of the linked video is oriented such that the wedging force will try to split the top...

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13 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

I think the through tenon, wedged, will be plenty stong and easier to accomplish than you think. However, it doesn't provide much resistance to racking forces that will turn the table into a non-rectangular parallelogram. A stretcher or other bracing would help that tremendously. Given that this is a side table, not a step stool, you might get away with it, but I tend to err to the side of caution.

PS- the wedged tenon in the thumbnail of the linked video is oriented such that the wedging force will try to split the top...

Thanks. So are you suggesting adding a stretcher across the top under the base of the table in addition to the through tenon?

Regarding your comment on the wedges, did you say this because it looks like the grain of the wedge is perpendicular to the grain of the top? I'm still very new to trying to make furniture (without pocket screws at least), and all of these tips are very helpful.

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11 hours ago, TomInNC said:

 So are you suggesting adding a stretcher across the top under the base of the table in addition to the through tenon?

Regarding your comment on the wedges, did you say this because it looks like the grain of the wedge is perpendicular to the grain of the top? 

First answer, yes. A single stretcher under the center of the top, mortised into the sides, will greatly improve the resistance to racking forces, even if it is only a couple of inches wide. Width oriented vertically. It also provides another place to attach the top.

 

Second, it is not the orientation of the wedge grain that is at issue, it is the orientation of the wedges themselves. As pictured, when the wedges are driven in, the increasing width of the wedges produces force across the grain of the top, exactly as a splitting wedge does to a log. In the case shown, the outer ends of the through mortise should flare out a bit at the top, and the wedges are placed near the ends of the tenon. When driven in, gently, the wedges force that 'flap' of wood at the end of the tenon to bend outward into the flared part of the mortise, locking the tenon in place. The key is to avoid driving the wedge farther, as it will try to split the tenon, and the mortise as well in this case. Use glue, tap the wedges until the gaps just close, and stop.

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My thought on this is that if you're not keen on reclaimed wood, you should give this a skip. If this is for a bulk order, then then you may just want to import reclaimed wood separately from countries that specialize in it, the same piece would cost half as much in India or Indonesia.

 If you're keen on a "rustic" appeal, I think Cedar, mangowood or teakwood would work just fine

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