help with farm / harvest table?

jenny_indianaSeptember 12, 2010

I love this table but know nothing about it. It's 12 feet long by about 26" wide. Can you help me with an approximate age or wood -- or any other information, really, based on these photos? I was told it was made from old wood from a barn. The owner thought the table itself is 100+ years old.

I am strongly considering cutting it and reconfiguring it, as the current dimensions don't really work for us.

Thanks in advance!



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My guess is that it is an ordianry, home built table made of 1 inch or 1.5 inch thick white pine broards. I can't determine the thickness. The boards have been lightly stained and finished - very nice. It looks like a picnic table or a long table to serve a large family. Measure the thickness of the boards. That may help place a date. Look up when the thickness of standard lumber was reduced for kiln dried lumber. I can't tell but it seems that you have the older thickness boards. Two inch thick boards (about 1.75 to 1.875 thick) became 1.5 inch thick when kiln dried lumber became standard. And of course, if standard boards were planed to flatten and provide a finish surface, the thickness will be less than standard.

Your boards are too thick for barn siding, but about right for hay mow flooring.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 12:22AM
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It is just 5/8th inch thick. Does that help?

The owner called it a harvest table, made narrow to conserve material and to take up less room when stored. I think it may have been used outside.

Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 9:25AM
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It is 5/8" thick if that helps! Thanks for your post!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 10:06AM
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The wood is probably yellow pine. Any idea where the piece was made? Yellow pine is a southern wood. It is a fantastic piece. Do not, I repeat, do not mess with that finish. If you want, wax it with Johnson's paste wax and buff with an electric buffer. I have had to wipe off the drool off my face several times. If you HAVE to shorten the table, screw a cleat under both ends to hold the boards straight. IF you decide you don't want the table, I would gladly drive up from Texas and cart it home.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 5:58PM
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I may be wrong and frequently am, but would have pine been used for barn siding? I didn't think it was durable enough to be used outside with no covering, even when painted. The pieces of wood are awfully narrow for barn siding, too.

Those V notches under the table and the way the pieces fit together in that V notch in the next to last picture look exactly like the knotty pine panelling my mother put on our bedroom walls in the 50's -- when real wood was used for panelling, not 4x8 sheets of pretend wood.

5/8 of an inch thick wood even sounds more like panelling than wood used in construction. Even now what is called a 1" thick piece of wood measures 3/4 of an inch, doesn't it?

Wherever the wood came from and however old it is, the table is a neat looking addition to a kitchen that will hold it -- even if it has to be shortened.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 1:12PM
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Thank you guys so much! It was definitely made in Indiana. It won't fit in our dining room at 12 feet long. It is also very narrow as it is. I sure hate to cut it, but it just won't work as is.

Any suggestions on chairs to go with it, or a style/source of new legs for it? The original legs were very short, and the 2nd owner replaced them with fence posts.

Thanks again for your help!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 10:06PM
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It's not barn siding but more likely hay mow floor. Those old well worn pine boards were often repurposed.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 11:59AM
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Having been in a lot of old barns, I've never seen flooring with a V cut into the center of the wood and cut into where the boards meet. That V is decorative. Flooring is as smooth as possible, even in barns. If it were flooring, wouldn't there be a lot more nail holes?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:53PM
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I don't know about barn floors, but to me T&G says flooring was definitely the original purpose when it was milled. Whether it was used for that purpose or not is another question. I don't think the 'V' is for decoration but rather to keep the board from warping.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 3:52PM
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Lots of old attic floors were removed from old houses as well.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 4:43PM
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Jenny, it sounds as if it not the table so much as the boards that you love since you don't want the length or width or legs. If it were mine, I would sell it as is to someone who could use it and then buy or make my own with reclaimed wood. There is plenty to be found. I think it would be a real shame to destroy what you have. As Tex said, I would also drive to get it if I were closer! I could definitely use one exactly like that-in fact, I have been looking for something with those dimensions for years! That said, you could have the top remade into a square or wide rectangle that would be very pretty and fit your home.

As far as chairs, I would probably go for a combination/mix of old wooden chairs-arrowback, Windsor, etc. if you keep any length to the table. If you cut it way down and make it wider, I might combine a bench on one side with chairs around-again, I like using a variety of complementary chairs rather than all exactly the same. Many can be found for very reasonable prices.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 7:31PM
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That is exactly what my husband thinks, too!

I don't know what it is worth or how to go about finding reclaimed wood to make another table. He is strongly encouraging me to put it on Craig's List. Any suggestions on price? How would I go about locating reclaimed wood?

Thanks again for everyone's help!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 7:52PM
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Hi Jenny, Here in Virginia, we have some companies that specialize in reclaimed wood. I bet there are also some in Indiana, especially in more rural areas. You could try googling reclaimed wood. I would probably start by asking at a local lumber yard (not big box like Lowes or HD). They might either know of someplace or be able to get you what you want. I have often wanted to stop when I see a farm up for sale. If the land is going to be developed, perhaps the farmer would be willing to sell barn wood. If not, he/she might know of someplace to find such wood. I've never asked, though.

No idea for pricing on Craig's list, so can't help you there. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 11:38AM
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Its tonge-and-groove boards. These had many uses on the farm and in the house. Tonge-and-groove was used wherever ever there was a need for grain tight bins or for finished flat surfaces. Flooring was common: bottom of wagon boxes, cabinets, etc. I've seen it used on porch floors but that was a bad idea if outside. The floor had to be protected from rain. Porch floors made with this stuff had to be kept painted with a tough enamel and water kept out of the grooves. Boards expand perpendicular to the grain direction with an increase in moisture content. The expansion and contraction breaks the seal of the joints making it impossible to keep water out.

It is not wall boarding for interior walls. Wall boards have a grove milled down the center of the flat surface for decroative purposes and the edges are milled such that a matching grove is formed where two boards meet.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 3:13AM
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jenny indiana, nice table. If you like it that well, I think you should cut it down to fit your needs, after all the wood has already been re-purposed to fit someone else's needs.

I showed your pictures to my husband. He said that it is barn wood probably from the 30's, and it's not hay mow flooring, it is barn siding. He also said that the tongue and groove in your pictures is actually called ship lap.

We have his parent's barn, dismantled and stored on trailers in our barn. It was rebuilt in I think 1937 after the original barn burnt. I know this because a neighbor who helped rebuild the barn wrote on one of the boards-he signed and dated it. We gave the board to his grandson who now farms next door.

Our barn in which the parents barn is stored is much older than the 1937 barn, the wood is beautiful and was probably milled on site or close by. Our log house is hand hewn.

These pictures are of boards from his parents barn. They are 5/8 inches thick and 5 3/4 inches wide. There is still some red paint on the bottom two, just not seen in the pictures.

The bottom board is original with bird poop on it.

The center board has been cleaned.

The top board has been planed. As is, no stain. We think it's beautiful.

There are plenty of old barns around here that we would love to have. Just don't have the time, money or storage needed for them


    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 8:24AM
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