Woodworking Talk banner

Advice needed - how to revive weathered timbers

649 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  seadonkey79
Greetings and thanks for reading my post. I'm working on a small retaining wall for a parking pad and have acquired x50 8x8 fir timbers that range from 48-60" in length. They were used on a state levee project then discarded. They're weathered and gray, but very solid pieces. My goal is to bring out the natural color of the wood, then treat with copper naphthenate to protect and give them the "national park" look. My question is: what's the best method for processing/preparing all of this lumber for the wood treatment? Sanding or planing seems like an excessive amount of work as these things are big and heavy. I'm leaning towards a light pressure washing, just enough to bring out the color of the wood, much like you'd do to clean fence boards. I want the finished product to look nice, but it certainly doesn't have to be perfect. Pros/cons? Your thoughts and opinions are welcomed. Thanks again 馃嵒
Building Wood Road surface Automotive tire Brickwork
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 2
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Assuming you can't fit them in your planer I think I would belt sand them starting with as coarse sanding belt as you can find. I believe the coarsest belt you can get is 36 grit. With some help you could probably dress them with an 8" jointer if you have one. The down side of machining them is there will be grit imbedded in the wood which would dull blades.
Pressure washer would work 鈥 but 鈥 it is going to soak the lumber with water so you will have to wait a week or more for them to dry. And it will accentuate the grain by knocking away the soft part of the wood. If you are going to put them outside, that might not be a problem.

Nice stack of wood. If you don鈥檛 mind 鈥 how did you find the deal, and what did they cost?
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I have a 12" wide benchtop planer, but admittedly, haven't checked the vertical capacity. I like the idea of using the planer since I do have the tool, but running each piece through four times or more couple get brutal due to the size and weight of these things. In addition, though petty, I want to keep as much thickness as I can.

I'm leaning towards the pressure washer simply for the ease and quickness. After all, I'm not looking for a smooth finished product since this wood will spend the rest of it's life outdoors in the PNW. Letting the wood dry out also isn't a problem, since I'm not in a hurry and summer is just around the corner.

I bought the lumber from a third party who said he paid $25 per pallet, though I don't know how many were on a pallet. I'm sure he made a good profit though and I paid him $10 per piece.

Assuming you can't fit them in your planer I think I would belt sand them starting with as coarse sanding belt as you can find. I believe the coarsest belt you can get is 36 grit. With some help you could probably dress them with an 8" jointer if you have one. The down side of machining them is there will be grit imbedded in the wood which would dull blades.
Pressure washer would work 鈥 but 鈥 it is going to soak the lumber with water so you will have to wait a week or more for them to dry. And it will accentuate the grain by knocking away the soft part of the wood. If you are going to put them outside, that might not be a problem.

Nice stack of wood. If you don鈥檛 mind 鈥 how did you find the deal, and what did they cost?
I've got a 12" planer but it will only do 6". I also have this 24" planer that will do 8". It's more than just the height, it's physically able to handle the weight of the timber.

Attachments

See less See more
Before i tried to overload the planer, i would probably try a RO sander with 60 grit paper.
That's a good point, my little planer probably couldn't handle these things. I might try to knock one out with the orbital sander and see how long that takes and how long the paper lasts, then make a decision from there 馃嵒

I've got a 12" planer but it will only do 6". I also have this 24" planer that will do 8". It's more than just the height, it's physically able to handle the weight of the timber.
Before i tried to overload the planer, i would probably try a RO sander with 60 grit paper.
I would use the pressure washer first and then pick out the pieces that you like the best. Since you are making a wall, you will only be seeing the front and maybe an inch of the top. If you are not satisfied with the results of the pressure washer, maybe a handheld power plane would be a lot easier. If there is a chance that they are pressure treated, I would stop after the pressure washer.

Wood Machine Flooring Automotive tire Hardwood
See less See more
I would not try to "make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." It is a retaining wall. Retaining walls are not intended to look like pieces of furniture.

George
I'm currently leaning towards using my Harbor Freight 7" variable speed sander/polisher. I'm thinking the rpms can make quicker work of these big pieces without taking away too much material. Remember, I'm just trying to knock off the gray layer and bring out the color of the wood, then use a copper naphthenate treatment tomorrow some protection and color. Yeah, it's a retaining wall, and it doesn't need to look like a piece of furniture, but can definitely be made to look much nicer than something that was simply thrown together. It doesn't have to be perfect, but doesn't need to look like crumb - I'm usually somewhere in the middle.

I would use the pressure washer first and then pick out the pieces that you like the best. Since you are making a wall, you will only be seeing the front and maybe an inch of the top. If you are not satisfied with the results of the pressure washer, maybe a handheld power plane would be a lot easier. If there is a chance that they are pressure treated, I would stop after the pressure washer.

View attachment 449986
I would not try to "make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." It is a retaining wall. Retaining walls are not intended to look like pieces of furniture.

George
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top