(This may be multiple related questions; assistance in breaking it up would be welcome if so.)
Many woodworkers have learned that a surprising amount of lumber, including some surprisingly good/interesting material, can be had cheap or free by deconstructing unwanted furniture and shipping pallets, rescuing it from house renovations, and the like. What are the best ways to prep this for reuse? What unusual sources are there? (I know some folks have gotten expensive woods cheap by spotting something on eBay worth more as wood than as constructed object.) What's the line between "worth repairing" and "worth scavenging" and "not worth the effort"?
I can start with a few observations/questions:
Obviously, going over it with a small metal detector to make sure there are no fasteners remaining to damage your tools is a good starting point. Lead paint is an obvious hazard to watch out for, as are termites. Pressure treatment can be a health risk. What else needs to be avoided?
Removing previous finish -- I've been told that paint is damaging to planer blades, and some folks just take a "veneer" layer off at the bandsaw to deal with it or keep an old set of planer blades around for this task. Do varnishes present the same risks? (I have a small stack of solid-oak flooring that could become picture frames or drawer components if I can clean it up without losing too much...)
What else does the aspiring upcycler need to know?