I have recently been given several hundred feet of 25-year-old, oak fence boards. When planed, they have a beautiful color. My questions: can I make furniture from these boards; how should I store the boards; and will there be any moisture problems?
Michael Dresdner: Invest in a moisture meter and check the moisture content of the boards. If they are too wet, sticker them indoors until they dry sufficiently, then use them to make furniture. The goal is to build when the boards reach between 6% and 8% moisture content. Typically, wood that lives outdoors will be closer to 12% or 14%, but that depends in part on what area of the country you live in.
Rob Johnstone: Once you are sure that the boards are dry enough, another thing to be aware of is nails. You may have already trimmed off the area where the boards joined the fence rails, but all salvaged wood has the potential for nails and foreign bodies that can cause trouble when you surface the stock.