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Ugly barn boards turn out to be RARE OLD-GROWTH HICKORY & OAK

Published on September 12, 2019

Ugly barn boards turn out to be RARE OLD-GROWTH HICKORY & OAK

“My name is Gary Greenlee and I’ve been involved in woodworking pretty much all of my career. I’ve always worked in the trades, construction and plumbing. I’ve owned a Woodmaster Planer for around five years and recently got Woodmaster’s Spiral Cutterhead. It really does a good job.

Gary discovered his old, reclaimed barn wood was actually old-growth hickory and oak

Gary discovered his old, reclaimed barn wood was actually old-growth hickory and oak

Always worked in the trades

I started in plumbing and over the years I did a lot of commercial remodeling. I had a contract to work on federal buildings like Post Offices and so on. I did installation work for Montgomery Ward and Sears.

I personally built seven homes in four states – two of these were spec homes. My wife was instrumental in this. She worked extremely hard to achieve our goals and gave more than 100% to complete our tasks. She designed homes I built and also furniture I build.

Reclaimed, old-growth hickory and oak

Today, I’m semi-retired and I’ve gotten heavily into woodworking in the last 6 years or so. The furniture I build is mainly made out of barn wood trusses that I reclaimed out of a Georgia barn that was being torn down. Turned out the wood was old-growth hickory and oak. And I use hardwoods from South America and Africa, too.

I loaded my 18’ trailer with as many truss boards as possible. They were all odd sizes, 2” or 2-1/2” by 6″ or 7” by random lengths and had the original circular saw marks. I picked out the nails and took boards to a sawmill. I plane the wood to even thickness but I keep the saw marks as decoration on the furniture I build.

Solid wood furniture

I turn this reclaimed lumber into solid wood furniture that’ll be around a long time. I’ve given some away and a lot is for our own use.

There's a lovely story behind this cabinet. When Gary's grandparent's house was being taken down, he salvaged and used one of the lock sets. A plaque inside dedicates the cabinet to his grandparents' memory.

There’s a lovely story behind this cabinet. When Gary’s grandparent’s house was being taken down, he salvaged and used one of the lock sets. A plaque inside dedicates the cabinet to his grandparents’ memory.

Gary preserves the handsome and original circular saw marks on many of his projects.

Gary preserves the handsome and original circular saw marks on many of his projects.

The saw marks from an old-style circular saw mill are well-preserved in this old-growth cabinet door.

The saw marks from an old-style circular saw mill are well-preserved in this old-growth cabinet door.

Is it a chair? Is it a stepping stool? It's both. Flip the chair back and you've got a handy way to reach top shelves. Very clever, Gary

Is it a chair? Is it a stepping stool? It’s both. Flip the chair back and you’ve got a handy way to reach top shelves. Very clever, Gary

This 12” Woodmaster is great and the Spiral Cutterhead is, too. It’s all no trouble, works good. I bought this one used from an old guy. The machine’s an old-timer from the 1980’s but it works fine. I take care of it and it works great. If somebody got one of these, it’d do everything they need.”

— Gary Greenlee, Woodmaster Owner, Alpharetta GA

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