View Full Version : Ever take down an old barn?

Beaudrow Graves
01-25-2007, 8:21 AM
Howdy all,
As you can see, I am new around the sawmill. Just how new, you are about to find out. :o I found this site seeking information, lot's of it. I have a project in mind, and perhaps it's not a good idea. Here is the scenario:

I have time, but no money (I bet nobody else can relate to that), and I need to biuld a shop to house tractor, trailers, tools, etc. So I got this idea. I could tear down some old barns, and use to the wood to biuld a large part of my shop. And so far, the plan has worked great. I have taken down 1.5 old barns, and have a significant pile of old oak to work with. Then somebody suggested to me, that some of this oak may be of value to the right person. If I could sell it, then I could apply that $$ to easier to work with biulding materials.

I am also seeking advice on the construction of my shop. I would like a gambrel style roof, but honestly don't know if I have the skill to do that.

So here are some starting questions:

Is there value in the old oak? Where is the market for it? Does anybody have a good source for cheap(read free) barn plans?

I know if this is a lot to ask, but any help would be appreciated. I'm just trying to get educated before I do something else (see my wife for the list) stupid.

Thanks in advance!

David G Baker
01-25-2007, 8:34 AM
I haven't been on this site long enough to find out how much building construction experience is here but I am sure that they are here. If you have no luck here, try Tractorbynet.com, it is a site that on occasion covers the barn building and take down. Go to the search area on the site. Check on the Project threads. Ask questions.
David B

John Bailey
01-25-2007, 8:46 AM

Welcome to the Creek, you'll get good advice here.

If you can verify that your oak is white oak, there should be some boatbuilders out there that would be interested. I know if you have any 8x12 timbers I would be interested, depending on where you are. I've been told it's not always easy to verify that it's white oak.


Lee Schierer
01-25-2007, 12:38 PM
There is indeed a market for old barn boards and timbers, but I haven't a clue as to how to tap into it or how big it really is. Many old barns around here have chestnut beams and they fetch a pretty penny. If you do s google search for "reclaimed lumber" you might be aboe to get an idea, lots of sources will come up.

Beaudrow Graves
01-25-2007, 1:24 PM
Thank you all for the replies. Am I in the right spot, or should this be posted in another forum?

I actually learned about this Forum from being on Tractorbynet.

Tapping into the market doesn't seem to be easy. I think most the wood is Red or Black Oak.

Thanks again, and keep the ideas coming. Any thoughts on using the lumber to biuld with? OR gambrel barn thoughts?

Joe Pelonio
01-25-2007, 1:27 PM
Also google Recycled Wood, there are a lot of vendors. They seem to be getting $3.50-6.00/board foot, and it looks like most of them do like you and find barns, taking the wood in exchange for the demolision, rather than paying for the old wood. You might try selling on the classifieds on this and other forums, or try E-Bay.

Ryan Cathey
01-28-2007, 9:18 PM
I've played around in the barn at my grandmother's place and I have no idea why anyone would subject themselves and their tools to working with old oak. I would be drving 16 penny nails and after about 3/4" they'd just bend in half!

-Ryan C.

Randy Moore
01-29-2007, 6:24 PM
Beaudrow, Where abouts are you in Miisouri? I live in Olathe Kansas and go see my Mother down by Branson about once a month---IF the weather allows.

Joe Mioux
01-29-2007, 8:56 PM
I am beginning to really dislike old Oak out of 150 yr old barns.

I am making an outdoor dining table out of oak that comes from an old 150 yr old barn.

the problem I have is that some of the cut nails are so rusted that I have to dig down a couple inches in the wood to extract the remaining nail.

All old-dirty-dinging-dried-up mud-encrusted oak looks alike. so it is sometimes a challenge to determine which is red and which is white ans which is something else.

to answer your question there is a market for old oak. The craft market uses a lot of this stuff.


P.S. I hate pulling bent and rusted nails out of old oak.

Beaudrow Graves
01-31-2007, 9:11 PM
I am on the east side of Mo. About 1 hour south of St Louis.

Yes, pulling old nails out of oak is a pain. I just set up some saw horses and go to town. I bet I have 100 pounds of nails right now.

I'm told the market is out there, but I haven't given too much time to finding the buyers. I have gotten some good beams, great 2x6's and a lot of good 1X material that will go a long way in making some of my shop. I still may have to spend a little on the higher up components (rafters etc)

Joe Mioux
01-31-2007, 9:13 PM

down by St Genevieve?


Beaudrow Graves
02-01-2007, 8:06 AM
Yip, I'm about 30 miles from there. I have a co-worker who took his wife to the St Gen veterinarian, uh, I mean hospital to have her baby.

Dan McGuire
02-01-2007, 8:15 PM

I grew up in that part of Mo myself.(a little closer to St.Louis) I have always thought there may be some money in those old barns. The barn, corn crib, smokehouse/summer kitchen and smith shop on my granparents farm is all oak, walnut, hickory and other native hardwood logs. But I also look at the intense labor required before you could even think about running them through a mill. Over 100 years of nails, spikes and who knows what may be buried in that wood.

However I do know from a story in the Tribune about a year ago that there is guy on the north side of Chicago near wriggley field that tears down old barns up here in Ill. Salvages the lumber and makes "barn furniture" He must be doing something right, I don't think that the cheapest real estate in the city.

Good luck

Randy Moore
02-03-2007, 7:37 PM
Wish you lived closer, I would like to have some of that wood for various projects.:)
Sounds to me like a lot of work but I like the old wood for some projects. Be careful up high and don't work to hard!


Charles McKinley
02-03-2007, 9:01 PM
There must be a huge market. I guy paid my uncle $4000 for his barn. The roof wasn't even slate. He had a crew of about 5 guys a man lift and a big skid steer. I have no idea who he was selling to. I saw an article recently where a man had an old barn built to be used as his shop. It was the builders speciality.