Introduction: How to Prepare Reclaimed Wood

I bought some wood off of craigslist. The fellow said it was redwood from a barn. I decided to restore it rather than using it with the aged look.  The Instructable will describe how I went through the process of getting the wood ready to plane using the planer/jointer at TechShop.

What you will need:
* Eye protection
* Ear protection
* Respirator while sanding
* Old wood
* Access to a Jointer/Planer

Step 1: Remove Nails

Absolutely no metal can go through the planer/jointer. If there is a nail or staple in your wood it will damage the blades and you will have to buy new ones. 

To make sure your wood is metal free follow these steps:
*  Visually inspect the wood. 
*  Remove all nails, screws, staples, rocks.
*  Look for problem areas. Cracks, loose knots and rotten wood. You may not want to plane those boards.
*  Use a hand sander to sand all sides of the wood. You can get away with just one pass The sander will find any last metal you missed. You may be able to see the metal - as it will be a little shinny dot. Or you may hear a new sound when the sander hits the metal.
* Cut off the ends of the boards if they are not even. This will help the wood feed through the planner.

Step 2: Using the Planner

I am not going to go through the details about setting up the planer. The calls you can take at Techshop, or where ever you are using your planer will tell you that. 

Use eye protection
Wear short sleeves
Don't wear gloves or jewelry

Measure the width of your board. If it 2 inches, set the planer for 2.125 inches and run a test board through. It should slide right through. Adjust the machine in tiny bits until it is taking just a little bit of wood off of the board. You can see in the two pictures here that there is a little difference between the 1st and 2nd pass through. Some of my wood required 2 passes and others required 3. If you want all of your wood to be the same thickness, you will need to pass all of the boards through at the measurement of the thinest board. 

Most of my boards were 1x8. That means the true original measurement was 1.75 by 7.5.   After planing both sides the boards were close to 1/2 inch wide. 

Step 3: Using the Jointer

After planing each side of the boards I put the them through the jointer. This gave them a finished edge on all 4 edges.   You can't do anything with the ends but saw them straight.

This process took two people 3 hours  to remove nails and sand. It took one person 6 hours to plane all of the edges. The folks at TechShop Menlo Park and San Jose were a great help. 

My Son and I made a nice coffee table with the wood. We had to adjust the plans for the smaller width of the boards, but it seems the thinner wood will work just fine.