The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Advantages and disadvantages of scavenged lumber

RaftersAs we reach the rafters of the homemade storage building, we're using primarily scavenged lumber and are discovering that it has its pros and cons.

On the pro side, that old wood is hard --- Mark screws straight into storebought lumber as if it's balsa wood, but our scavenged boards require pilot holes.  The scavenged lumber also comes in much thicker sections --- no 1.5 inch lumber here.  From a very project-specific standpoint, the scavenged wood makes awesome rafters because it's already cut to the length of the tin (that we plan to reuse) and has a handy notch in just the right place.

Cutting a bracket in half with the saw-sawOn the other hand, scavenged lumber isn't quite so modular as those regular 2X4s.  We've had to add a spacer here and there since some rafters are thicker than others.  Furthermore, the brackets that Mark found in the barn to secure the non-notched ends of the rafters to the header would have fit 2X4s but not our old rafters.  Luckily, Mark was able to cut the brackets in half and they worked just fine.

Of course, you all know my main motivation in using scavenged lumber --- price.  It's hard to beat free, especially since it doesn't take any longer to tear the boards out of the old building than it would take to drive to the nearest big box store.  You sure do buy less when you live in the middle of nowhere.

Check out our ebook about quitting your job and making a living on the farm.

This post is part of our Building a Storage Building from Scratch series.  Read all of the entries:

Part 1: Foundation
Part 2: Floor
Part 3: Walls and scavenging lumber
Part 4: Adding the loft
Part 5: The roof
Summing it up:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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BTW, hardness in wood has little to do with tensile strength, shear, etc.
Comment by Errol Sat Jan 23 19:02:19 2010
Hmmm, I'm not sure I buy that. This table --- --- shows that sheer strength is nearly twice as high for oaks as pines. The other strength figures also look to be higher for oaks than pines, which is what we're mainly looking at with storebought softwoods versus traditional hardwoods.
Comment by anna Sun Jan 24 09:16:39 2010

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