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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
These are samples of lumber from an old farmhouse (likely built in 1930's or 40's). I thought the two cuts were the same species but I planed away a layer and they look different. Might anyone know what species they are and could I use the two by eights for a farm table top?

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The one on the right is doug fir or larch. Do they weigh the same? Where did you get them - what part of the country. Left one could be doug fir also. Not what I would consider furniture material.
 

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The one on the right is Douglasfir to me = the abrupt finish to each growth ring and the shapes of the cracks, plus the color.
The pale one on the left, I'll agree likely spruce, not pine. You see the cross shatter on the left side in pic #1? Pine usually has long, run-out splits. Try enough of that junk for wood carving and you get to see it all.
Both are relatively soft. If you don't care about dents and whangs and bangs that age a table top, go for it.

I had a western red cedar dining room set. 5'8" diameter table and 60" tall chairs, all sort of old abbey/monestary clunky style. Well, two active kids did a lot on that table besides eat. Never had the chance to work it over with a belt sander after they grew up and left. It was banged up pretty good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Robson Valley said:
The one on the right is Douglasfir to me = the abrupt finish to each growth ring and the shapes of the cracks, plus the color.
The pale one on the left, I'll agree likely spruce, not pine. You see the cross shatter on the left side in pic #1? Pine usually has long, run-out splits. Try enough of that junk for wood carving and you get to see it all.
Both are relatively soft. If you don't care about dents and whangs and bangs that age a table top, go for it.

I had a western red cedar dining room set. 5'8" diameter table and 60" tall chairs, all sort of old abbey/monestary clunky style. Well, two active kids did a lot on that table besides eat. Never had the chance to work it over with a belt sander after they grew up and left. It was banged up pretty good.
Thanks for you thoughtful reply. No I don't mind the dents so will try a project with this. The table will be used in the manner you described. The idea of using reclaimed material to do it is very appealing.
 

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Old wood is great. Does it have a story to tell? Useful to learn more about that farmhouse.
Meal time and other times, gathering around a table is important. That was a big, round table in a big room. Stored it behind the couch for 2 years then finally gave the whole dang set to a charity.
My mother actually crocheted a white tablecloth which had to be nearly 8' in diameter for that table. I've kept that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Robson Valley said:
Old wood is great. Does it have a story to tell? Useful to learn more about that farmhouse.
Meal time and other times, gathering around a table is important. That was a big, round table in a big room. Stored it behind the couch for 2 years then finally gave the whole dang set to a charity.
My mother actually crocheted a white tablecloth which had to be nearly 8' in diameter for that table. I've kept that.
Great stuff. The old building was on an adjacent lot that my brother-in-law bought a few years ago. A fire swept through it shortly after that so he decided to tear down what was left and salvage the lumber. The family that had owned it came out to watch the process. They are all senior citizens so there were a lot of memories and tears that day. There is a scary old stone well on the property straight out of some fairy tale, must go down twenty five feet to water. That will have to be filled in before the grand kids start paying attention to it. Anyway if we can build some some new artifacts out of the old material that will be interesting and fun. Gives a sense of continuity in this old world.
 

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Very few woods would be considered inadequate for a top be it for dining, writing or occasional use. Follow good practices in taking care to join your material flat and in the best possible orientation, and you will most certainly turn out a stable panel. As for it being soft? So what, things are made to be scratched. Just design and construct it well so it stands up to use.
 

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The thing I like about softer reclaim is it shows all the marks and tells a story of where it comes from and if plan on planning it down thens its a good wood to distress and give that old look back to it and if sealed looks good with light and dark stains
 
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