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Author Topic: 100 year old timbers!  (Read 246 times)

Offline Kojba

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100 year old timbers!
« on: August 12, 2018, 05:01:58 PM »
A few days ago, a friend of mine called about milling some reclaimed wood.  He has two piles of 8x8 beams that were salvaged from the 1840's dam built here in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  About 10 years ago, the Army Corps blew the dam, releasing several timbers downstream.  Along with his son, he was able to recover several of these timbers with only the use of a kayak and rope.  Not sure I have that kind of "grit", but he managed to retrieve them from some hard flowing water, strewn with rocks and snags! 
They are "Heart Pine" logs, cut from Southern Yellow pine that was dipped in turpentine.  I suspect they were underwater for over 100 years, but you can still smell the turpentine while sawing!  Surprisingly, the logs are still mostly intact.  I have noticed where they were "pegged", or where they are "Spiked" the log absorbed water and began to rot.  I suppose we will have to cut as best we can, and he will probably end up with some nice 5/4 boards (not sure how long due to the random rot).  After cutting the logs, the turpentine left a black film on the blades, and some build up on my belts.  I'll have to formulate some kind drip formula that will cut the turpentine, and lower the blade build up.  It will be  fun job though, and I'm looking forward to it! :)
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Offline Ox

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Re: 100 year old timbers!
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2018, 08:44:43 AM »
Turpentine is a solvent.  I'm wondering if what's on your blades and wheels isn't mostly pitch from the tree/wood itself mixed with a little turpentine because you said you can smell it.  Dripping pure turpentine as a blade lube should clean that right off.  Just like diesel, kerosene, etc.

I wonder if they used any creosote, coal tar, oil tar, etc. mixed in there with the turps for a thinner and this might be what's getting you.

Must be neat opening up a 175 year old cant.  That wood is way over 200 years old, and old growth stuff at that!
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Offline Kojba

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Re: 100 year old timbers!
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2018, 05:23:25 PM »
There were black spots, possibly some sort of tar, on some of the timbers.  My friend tried cutting some of the small pieces in his shop, and said the smell of turpentine was strong there as well.  I'm thinking about getting some Pine Sol when I mill them the next time, and see if that helps.  I hate using diesel fuel on my mill, mainly because of the wheel belts.  Diesel fuel simply eats the belts all to hell! :(  I forgot to mention the really cool spikes that were in those timbers.  About 10 inches long, and made by blacksmiths, I'm sure.   Some, not all of the pegs were still in place, and most of those held in place when sawing.  The rest of the pile doesn't look so good, but I'll try and get some pics of those when I mill them.  Outside of the timbers is black, inside is a reddish brown, some almost a light brown.  Either way, it's cool to saw a piece of history like that!

Kojba
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