Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Barn Wood

The peak is the only portion of the old gambrel-roof barn still standing.   I store lumber beneath it.
We lost our gambrel-roof barn to a wind storm several years ago.

Friends and acquaintances, upon hearing about it, would invariably respond, "You are SO LUCKY!  Barn wood is Very Valuable!"  From their envious tones one would assume that my yard was littered with $100 bills.  I was more than willing to share my "good luck".  I just wanted the mess gone.

I made several stacks of "distressed" siding.  The people who assured me that they wanted the wood never picked it up.

I began to have doubts about the universal desirability of barn wood.




That belief, of course, an artifact of the entertainment industry's need to constantly titillate.  The story line varies.  The most common spin is:  Look at these master builders (and master salespeople) turn punky, pooped-on boards into interior paneling and get some chump to spend beaucoup bucks on it.

The evidence that barn wood is of little value is everywhere.  There would be no barns standing if the construction materials were significantly more valuable than the structure.   They would be parted out while they were still standing, structurally sound and safe to work on.





There is no way to sugar coat it.  Clambering about the splinters, the piles of loose boards, the rotted floors, tripping on wires, landing/stepping on protruding spikes is hazardous and exhausting work.  It is not like I am a spry youth of 40 any more.

Valuable wood my rear-end.  People cannot even be bothered to back up to a pile of salvage lumber and load it into their truck.

I now hear the platitudes "You are SO LUCKY blah, blah, blah..." the same way as "You are SO LUCKY your grandma died...her dental work is Very Valuable."

Idiots.

I am done


Hand-hewn barn beams and all, I am subjecting the wood to thermally accelerated reduction to CO2, H2O and ash.

At twenty pounds an armload, three minutes per round-trip and four hours a day I need another 15 days with winds that are favorable.  Those old-timers sure used a lot of wood in those barns.

Types of wood


Those old-timers used many kinds of wood.  Some was locally harvested and left in-the-round.  Some was recycled from other structures.  Some was purchased.  So far, I am very impressed with the durability of tongue-and-groove, Southern Yellow Pine.  The only downside to Southern Yellow Pine that it burns with a black, pitchy smoke.  I am concerned that I might get a visit from my local fire department who would assume that I was burning tires.

3 comments:

  1. Once in while there is some good wood, as long as the beam is thick enough to resaw- and the wood is good- the eastern barns had a lot of chestnut used in the framing-out here in the West it is mostly doug fir- my shop and house have 8x12 beams from an old timber company building- they were roof trusses. (it was a BIG building!)
    Same effect with most trees- by the time that "valuable" fallen tree is cut into lengths, yarded out, loaded onto a truck, brought to a mill, all the waste cleaned up, sawn into boards, stacked, dried, and stored, and a blade replaced due a hidden glass insulator the meal detector did not pick up, the profit is small or non existent.

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  2. Ironically in the deep South, there ARE barns worth a lot of $$ because they are heart pine or knotty pine. Those woods are coming back into popularity with a certain segment that is restoring the old houses.

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  3. Ironically in the deep South, there ARE barns worth a lot of $$ because they are heart pine or knotty pine. Those woods are coming back into popularity with a certain segment that is restoring the old houses.

    ReplyDelete