What is Finger Jointed Lumber?

When you do business with The Lumber Baron, we want you to make informed decisions. Finger jointed material is one subject our customers may not always understand, so we have put together some information to help.

Finger Joint At The End Of Wood Sticks (or Lumber)- One Of Woodw

What is a Finger Joint?

To get a general idea of how a finger joint looks, and how it got its name, interlock your fingers. A finger joint, also referred to as a box joint, is designed to connect pieces of lumber butt-to-butt. Because of the interlocking cuts used in a finger joint, it is much stronger than lap joints.

Where are Finger Joints Used?

Finger jointing is commonly used in furniture building. Because finger joints create a strong joint, they are excellent for wooden tables or chairs. They can also be used for long railings. In the State of California, some finger jointed lumber may be used as studs.

Siding can be finger jointed as well, and there are applications when it would be appropriate. The problem is that some lumber companies will pre-prime the siding, hiding those joints from view. It is one thing to sell a product with the joints visible to buyers, but attempting to disguise them is unfair to the customer.

Drawbacks of Finger Jointed Siding

At The Lumber Baron, we do not recommend finger jointed material when it can be avoided. Not only is finger jointed lumber less structurally sound, the joints tend to become problematic over time. With complete milling services on site, we are able to provide you with top quality cuts of lumber without finger joints. The finished product has a more appealing look, with no need to worry about the joints separating in the future.

The Lumber Baron specializes in reclaimed lumber, much of which is perfect for milling into siding. We have an amazing selection of redwood, Douglas fir and cedar on hand, and we can custom mill your lumber to suit. Visit our lumber yard today!

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Lumber Spotlight: Redwood

Much of the redwood that is cut today comes from managed, new growth forests, but there are still tremendous amounts of old growth reclaimed redwood available which provide builders with a completely different type of redwood than you can get from new growth. If you want to build with heartwood, the densest part of the redwood, a California lumber yard like The Lumber Baron may be the only place to get what you are looking for.

Lumber Spotlight - Redwood - The Lumber Baron

Redwood: The Coastal Giant

Redwoods are cousins of the majestic sequoias, and grow to majestic heights along the American west coast, from California to Oregon. The towering giants are only found in mountainous terrain like coastal North-Central California, known for moderate winters and dry summers. Most of the old growth forests are long gone, but the best quality of redwood is still available today in the form of reclaimed lumber taken from barns, bridges, and other old buildings, which have been deconstructed in recent years.

Weather, Pest, and Rot Resistant

Redwoods are the outdoor builder’s tree of choice. The lumber contains naturally occurring chemicals which repels water, resists rot, and has an immunity to a variety of insects and other tree pests. The resulting building material has superb strength and a durability unmatched by many popular types of lumber.

5 Grades Available

Redwood is available in 5 popular grades, each one suited for a particular appearance or construction quality. Each grade is described using one or more names. The five grades of redwood are:

  • Con Heart or Blue – The most economical variety. May have knots up to 2 ½ inches in diameter.
  • Select or Single Green – May contain knots up to 2 inches in diameter, with edge sapwood visible on some pieces.
  • Super or Double Green – Maximum knot size is 1 ½ inches, and no more than 2 may be present in a 6-inch piece of lumber of up to 14 feet in length.
  • Fascia, CHF, or Red – Knot-free on one side, this grade may contain edge sapwood on some, but not all pieces.
  • CAH or Yellow – This is the highest quality of redwood available. This grade is both blemish and knot free on both sides, as well as having no sapwood.

For many builders and homeowners, the strongest and most durable type of redwood is found in reclaimed lumber. These select cuts have been selected from deconstructed buildings along the west coast and across the nation, and may include the original milling marks, bolt holes or other distinguishing characteristics related to their original application. The Lumber Baron is proud to offer reclaimed lumber as an option for green builders and connoisseurs of fine lumber.

Using Reclaimed Lumber to Freshen up your Home

More and more homeowners are moving toward the use of reclaimed lumber. One reason is that it looks and feels different than the lumber you would get from a big box store. Another is that reclaimed lumber adds a bit of Americana into the mix, adding a historic touch. Reclaimed lumber is perfect for outdoor projects such as arbors, fences, or decks, but it’s also versatile when it comes to interior remodeling.

Using Reclaimed Lumber to Freshen up your Home - The Lumber Baron

Why Use Reclaimed Lumber

A lot of reclaimed lumber has its roots in the old growth forests of yesteryear. Not only is it more dense than today’s lumber, it is also considered an environmentally friendly, “green” building material. Many times, the wood has picked up a tint or patina from being exposed to various commodities, such as wine vats or tobacco barns. The options are endless, and vary dramatically from one room to the next.

Bedroom

Reclaimed lumber is a great choice for creating a one-of-a-kind pedestal for your bed. It can also be used on window sills and frames, shelving, cabinets, and custom furniture designs. Using reclaimed lumber to trim the room is another remodeling idea, and material such as reclaimed redwood or reclaimed cedar is perfect for crown molding, base plates, and chair railings.

Living Room and Den

High traffic rooms will benefit from reclaimed hardwood wainscoting. Bookshelves or entertainment centers built from reclaimed lumber are an appealing way to decorate. Because old growth forests contained very large trees, you could fashion a bar top or coffee table out of a single piece of timber, stained and sealed to your tastes.

Kitchen

Reclaimed lumber can be used in the kitchen for everything from the kitchen counter to the dining table and chairs. Your reclaimed lumber project could be anything from replacing the area trimwork, to building a unique glass rack or spacious pantry. The Lumber Baron has its own lumber mill on site, so we can resurface or mill your lumber to meet exact specifications or draw out the visual effects of curing and original application.

Bathroom

Reclaimed lumber is a good material for boxing a light fixture or building a custom vanity. The density of the grain helps protect the wood from moisture, making it ideal for shower curtain runners, trim work, and such things as toilet seats and tank lids.

Hallways and stairs offer excellent opportunities to liven things up with reclaimed redwood. The material will stand up to years of use and is resistant to the warping and cracking you could experience from fresh cut timber. From floors to paneling or ceiling beams, your options for giving your home a fresh look with reclaimed lumber are only limited by your imagination.  Stop by The Lumber Baron today!

How to Protect Reclaimed Redwood

How to Protect Reclaimed Lumber - The Lumber BaronReclaimed redwood has natural color variations and patinas derived from exposure to the elements and the way the wood was originally used. For example, Wood from an old wine vat will have absorbed some of the wine over the years, altering the coloration significantly. Additionally, some reclaimed lumber contains nail holes which have acquired their own colors related to the presence of the metal nails. Reclaimed redwood is a prized material and needs to be protected in a way that prevents decay but does not eliminate the qualities it is valued for. The process you use will depend on the application as well as the appearance you are trying to achieve.

Soap and Water

If you really want to preserve the natural qualities of reclaimed lumber, the best way to take care of it is to avoid harsh abrasives, chemicals, and artificial sealants. Instead, use a soft to moderately firm brush and a mild dish or laundry detergent. The idea is to remove dirt and grime without disturbing the appearance of the aged wood.

Sanding and Refinishing

Avoid using abrasive materials on your reclaimed redwood, the less of the naturally acquired finish will remain. Avoid coarse sandpaper of 80 grit or lower, altogether. For best results, limit sandpaper use to 120 grit or higher. If you are only trying to create a smooth, even surface, gradually step up the grit, starting with about 160 grit and ending with something around 220 grit or higher. For a super-fine finish, complete the sanding using steel wool.

Sealing with Oils

Avoid tinted oils or weatherproofing agents when sealing reclaimed redwood, as they will affect the coloration of the material. Keep in mind that your lumber contains micro-pockets where oils and stains can accumulate, making some parts to the wood look darker than others. Murphy’s Oil Soap or other furniture polishes will highlight the grain of the wood with minimal interference. Oiled wood needs to be retreated 2 or 3 times a year to maintain the luster and may require sanding with a super-fine grit sandpaper every couple of years.

Polyurethane Sealants

The importance of testing stains on a small, preferably hidden, part of the wood first cannot be understated. Because of the way wood ages, the result of stains and sealants is somewhat unpredictable. For reclaimed redwood, the best option is generally to use a clear polyurethane sealant. You can choose a flat, satin, or glossy sealant to match your preferences. Apply thin coats with a fine brush or soft, clean rag and allow to dry thoroughly after each coat. Before applying additional coats, remove bubbles or blemishes using fine grit sandpaper or steel wool.

The Lumber Baron is the Bay Area’s source for reclaimed redwood. We provide you with the history of our hand-selected material, and offer sage advice on protecting it. If only the best results will do, come in talk to us about your project and how to achieve the desired finish.

Reclaimed Lumber: What’s all the buzz about?

Reclaimed Lumber at The Lumber BaronReclaimed lumber has a few advantages over fresh wood. It can be used in many places, indoors and out, to create a unique appearance, add strength, or capture a bit of rustic nostalgia. The important thing is to know what you are getting, including the history of the lumber, and to work with a lumber company that has the experience and skill to provide you with top quality material.

Appearance of Reclaimed Lumber

In many cases, reclaimed lumber has been exposed to the environment, causing it to have unique coloration that is not possible with fresh lumber. This can include having a different color completely, showing a patina, or discoloration near nail and bolt holes. Simply being exposed to the air can cause some changes in appearance, but some forms of exposure, such as being immersed in water or exposure to salt air, create unique coloring that is prized among woodworkers.

Heartwood is the Best Wood

A lot of reclaimed lumber comes from wood that was originally milled from old growth forests. The size of the trees available at that time allowed entire timbers to be cut from a single section of wood where today’s materials require joining to get the same timber sizes. Another advantage of heartwood is the density of the growth, usually apparent in the rings of the lumber. Furthermore, reclaimed lumber has usually had decades to cure, giving it a higher tensile strength that does not warp or splinter.

Reclaimed Lumber as a Conversation Piece

Reclaimed material is excellent for exposed timbers, mantle pieces, and bar tops or counters. For some reclaimed lumber, including redwood and cedar, an entire mantle or counter can be cut from a single timber, and that means continuous grains rather than broken or mixed grain patterns. When the look and texture of exposed wood is an important part of what you are creating, reclaimed lumber has advantages that simply cannot be reproduced from lumber milled in recent years.

Granted, reclaimed lumber is not perfect for every project. For those projects, working with a skilled lumber company like The Lumber Baron can save you time and trouble. We have lumber available in different grades, or quality types, for example. A big box store may not have the milling capabilities to mill or surface your lumber to suit tastes and design requirements. Whether you are using reclaimed antique lumber or modern cuts, the company you work with can have a huge impact on the materials you build from. Visit us today to see our current reclaimed lumber inventory and how it can work for your next project.