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I bought a dining table and it was claimed that the table top was made from reclaimed wood from a 160-year-old Douglas Fir log. The table top is still seeping out sap. Is this even possible from something that is 160 years old? I think I'm being ripped off here.

I'd like to hear from your experience/expertise please!

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    Yes I'm sure it can still have sap. I would expect it to be in the table more than seeping out of it. It all depends how the log was processed. If it is in log form this is very likely. Is it coming out of the ends of the log? Can you link a picture so that someone with more rep can add it to the question? – Matt Oct 28 '15 at 14:16
  • Second adding a picture. Please see my Answer - a picture could help clear up some things, especially as it pertains to my second point. – grfrazee Oct 28 '15 at 14:24
  • In the question of whether wood lasts longer than sap, ultimately, there is both petrified wood and amber ('petrified' sap). – user1318 Oct 28 '15 at 21:58
  • The most probable explanation in my mind is an old log that was salvaged from underwater. There is a big business using such wood because the denser forests and longer growth time yielded tight growth rings - slow growth. If the wood was from a 160 year old barn then I would expect the wood to be very dry. Such dry wood wouldn't ooze sap. – MaxW Oct 29 '15 at 0:00
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    Was the claim that the wood was cut 160 years ago, or that the tree was 160 years old before it was cut? Very different implications. – TREE Oct 29 '15 at 15:00
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The table top is still sipping out sap. Is this even possible from something that is 160 years old?

Sure, it's definitely possible. Sap doesn't just disappear from a piece of wood because it's old.

One might think that over that long of a time, the sap should have dried up a little. If it was kept in a cooler place and brought into somewhere warmer, the sap could start to flow again.

made from reclaimed-wood from a 160 years old Douglas Fir log

What I would do to "prove" this claim is look closer at the wood itself. If it's supposedly a 160-year-old log, it should be old-growth. If it's old growth Douglas fir, the growth rings should be much closer together than what you would see in new-growth wood.

For example, if you go to your local big-box lumberyard and look at a 2x4 stud, you will see very large gaps between the early- and late-wood rings, sometimes as large as 1/4"! This is because new-growth trees tend to grow very fast in their mostly treeless canopy (assuming the area they grew was clear cut), whereas old-growth trees grew very slowly in a canopy choked by other, larger trees.

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It could be the 'reclaimed bit. By reclaiming the wood, one possibility is that they had to resaw the timbers to boards. It might have started out as 8" x 8" timber or some other large dimension. This is actually quite likely, and the 'new' cuts are now exposing new wood.

Even a significant planning to straighten and clean the boards could cause a similar reaction.

So just by leaking sap does not preclude it from being old wood.

However, I can't guarantee that it IS 160 yo either.

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My answer is YES old wood has sap..that's what keeps me going. JK! The reason we dry kiln things is for heat.. not to dry sap particularly but to crystalize it. I understand that pine sap for instance, once 'set' to 150 degrees, will then crystallize on cool down, and will not liquify again, until reaching 151 degrees... This is why commercial dry kilns use high heat; to save on sandpaper as much as to dry wood. Wood will dry in 33 degree weather all day long.. but heat speeds the process and sets the sap. In my experience biulding four dry kilns, a data logging heat treater for fire wood, Doug fir doesn't SET well at all. It is more like it 'attenuates' the sap. We run boards through an IR oven in our flooring line at 200 degrees for about twenty seconds and sap bubbles up through the surface.. it's just what it does. The wood can be very old and still do this..I cut 300 year old trees burned in fires on my ranch and believe me, they still have sap.

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