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Softening old wood?

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posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:20 AM
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I hope some of you can help me out with this one. I have some old knotty pine planks that was taken out of my brother's home. The pine planks are most probably over 60 years old, because the house is older that than. We know that the knotty pine were installed in the home a few years after it was built.

Now I want to use this pine to build some pine boxes to use as plant boxes. My other brother took some old pine boxes, lined it with plastic on the inside, waterproofed it, and filled it with soil and plants.

But the problem I have is that the pine is so hard, as soon as I try to drive a nail through it, it cracks.

How can I soften up the wood without damaging it?




posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:23 AM
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a reply to: IndependentOpinion

If you plan on nailing it, pre drill the holes. Use a drill bit that's a little smaller than the nail and it should be fine.
edit on 15-1-2015 by DAVID64 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:26 AM
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a reply to: DAVID64

That is a LOT of drilling! It is more than 100 planks.



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:28 AM
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a reply to: IndependentOpinion

I once made a steam bending rig for wood. You can use this simple method to introduce moisture into the wood.

Create a container from pvc pipe or some other thing big enough to hold you wood. Then get a cappuccino machine with a steamer form salvation army or other place.(just to be cheap) cap the ends of the pipe one hole in each cap, one for inlet one for outlet.

Pipe steam into the one end and let the wood soak it up, several hours or more. The longer the better. A piece of tubing from auto store will be just fine. Something like 3/8 inch rubber radiator line will be just fine.



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:30 AM
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a reply to: IndependentOpinion

Linseed oil.

There is little else I need say, except to confirm that this second line is superfluous to the discussion, and is present purely for compliance purposes.



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:35 AM
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a reply to: shaneslaughta

Thanks for the great advise. I will look at that option for long term projects, like when I start making furniture as a hobby!



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:36 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

Maybe if you float the planks in a pool of it. I never had any success at restoring old wood to the center with any oils.
Its works mostly on the outer layer.

It is great stuff for finishing, but the OP wants to restore the planks to be usable without splitting, that must be done with steam infusion.



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:36 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

Thanks. That should be easy.



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:41 AM
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a reply to: IndependentOpinion

Welcome.

I love wood, always have. Ever since i was little, i remember being fascinated by all the ways you can manipulate wood.

Used to wake up every Saturday as a kid watching my b/w TV with rabbit ears, watching PBS shows like Bob Vila, New Yankee Workshop and the likes.

By the time i was 16 i had table saws routers sanders hand tools o plenty. Then my parents lost their house and i was forced into a complex.

Cant really do any wood working here. :/ I wish, winter is long and very slow for me.

Edit: Oh and i love how people reuse old barn wood and what have you for modern builds. There is no reason to buy new when old can be reused. Save a few trees. The other thing is the character that the old wood has, all the stuff its been through. Rough machine marks, dents dings marks stains. Beautiful character.

I didn't mean to use it for bending, i meant you use it to force the moisture into the wood. The only way you can work with it without splitting is to restore its moisture level. 7-14% moisture is IMO ideal.
edit on 1/15/2015 by shaneslaughta because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:45 AM
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I would also suggest pilot drilling and using screws instead of nails.as they are going to be outside and may shift due to variations in moisture and termerature and screws will hold better long term.

If it is splitting on the end (narrowest) face but not on the plank(wide) side then another option would be to use internal battons enableing all the fixings to go in the plank sides. This would also means that for pre drilling you would be able to stack them up, clamp them and drill 4 or 5 at a time making it go a lot quicker. You could also make a template to save time marking up.

a reply to: IndependentOpinion



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:51 AM
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Apologies in advance: I know nothing about wood. (giggles)

I am forced to immature. I have tried so hard(giggles) to ignore the title and the possible one million responses that have zinged through my currently over caffeinated mind.

Without further adieu...

Sorry man. That happens with age.



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:52 AM
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a reply to: shaneslaughta

"Planks" might have been the wrong choice of word, because the thickness of the wood is only 13mm. Will oilwork on that?



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:53 AM
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a reply to: shaneslaughta

Old is always better. I love old furniture, or anything old and antique!



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:54 AM
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a reply to: BlastedCaddy

LMAO!



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 09:57 AM
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a reply to: shaneslaughta

What you do, is you get a flat bottomed, shallow, but long container, and a big can or bottle of linseed oil. You lay your plank down in the bottom of the container, and you pour your linseed oil over the plank, until the linseed oil covers it completely. You can abrade the outer surface of the plank to open it up a little bit, before you do this. Cover the container completely.

After a day or so, the plank will have sucked up a heap of oil, and this happens faster when the weather is warm. The plank should then be much more resistant to cracking or splitting under the force of a nail being driven through it, although it is fair to say that it may change shape a little, as these things have a wont to do!



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 10:01 AM
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a reply to: IndependentOpinion

That is still a little thick to be restored using oil. On the surface it would work fine, but it wont penetrate to the core without floating the things for days.

The other side of that issue is if you oil the wood you may have a harder time getting it to take stains or finishes because its already saturated.

If you stream the wood, it will give it back some of its flexibility.

This of course is just my opinion having worked with wood and having gone to school for rough and finish carpentry also.



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 10:01 AM
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a reply to: IndependentOpinion

Found this…


Some woods, such as walnut or oak, are very tough and hard to carve. You can soften the wood up by applying de-natured alcohol to it. The alcohol will not cause the grain to raise like water will. The alcohol, of course, will evaporate with time. (I don't know if the continued use of alcohol will remove any oils from the wood, check it out before you use it too often.)

You could try that and see. No smoking…

You could also try deck screws. They are thin shank, course thread and don't require predrillng. If the wood can't stand up to that it might be to old and brittle for your purpose.

Heres an image.



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 10:14 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit


Might also cause it to not take stains or other finishes.

Best bet is to use what the tree grew on, water/steam. Its the most friendly to the grain and will still take stains and oils after for finishing purposes.

There are more that one way to skin a cat. It really depends on factors like interior or exterior decor, and finishing like, do you want it to be natural old barn wood or are you going to smooth it and make it look new again.

Steam gives you the most options in the end. IMO.

I do love some fine oiled hardwoods sanded down to 800 grit. smooth and beautiful. Plus the oil makes the grain pop.
edit on 1/15/2015 by shaneslaughta because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 10:21 AM
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a reply to: IndependentOpinion


Every project is worth what you put in it. You can try the oil, but I stand by the pre drilling. It's the only sure way to keep from splitting the wood and I'd also use dove tail screws for planter boxes or anything that needed extra strength, so you'd need to counter sink them.



posted on Jan, 15 2015 @ 10:26 AM
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a reply to: shaneslaughta

One of my favourite things to do used to be oiling my cricket bat, but it lead me to various experiments with old bits of off cut pine and so on, and I always got good results from them. It made them easier to work, and made them less messy to clean up after, in the event of planing or cutting being involved!



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