I want to make picture frames and things from old barn (pine?) wood. I have collected the wood, and with age, it's obviously very dilapidated. How do I prepare it to use it?
Lily from Virginia.
Hi. Some farmer was going to tear down a barn that had been hit by a tornado and I asked for the wood. My husband wanted to make me a TV cabinet and a trash cabinet. All we did was clean the wood with some soap and water with one of those sprayers you hook onto the hose. Let it bake in the hot sun for a couple of days to get rid of the water and the little creatures, and then make whatever you want.
Good Luck. (05/09/2005)
If your barn wood has been painted, it may contain lead. A neighbor had a dilapidated barn torn down by a friend and his friend's kid started acting funny. He took him to the doctor and he had lead poisoning from the sawdust when his dad cut the wood. Just be careful. (05/10/2005)
By Kathy in Illinois
The key to salvaging any kind of old wood is moisture. Water in wood will cause it to rot, or insects to get into it. A good piece of wood needs to be dry and hard. If you've been keeping this wood in a dry spot for several months and there is no sign of rot, you should be good to go.
Any wood that has not been used for a long time will get very hard. If you nail into it, it will split very easily. Therefore I would recommend pre-drilling for connectors (nails or screws), when you put together the picture frame. Use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the width of the connector. Screws are better to use because you can take them out, and there is less trauma to the old wood when screwing vs. hammering.
Also, as mentioned by someone else, be very suspect of any old paint, as it may contain lead. There was a lawsuit recently against several large pigment/paint manufacturers because they continued to put lead in pigment after it was banned. So be careful. I would suggest sealing any old paint so that it can't continue to flake off. (03/27/2006)
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