I am building a computer desk out of some old oak boards that had been on the side of an old tobacco barn for around 60 years. I tore the building down and thought, hey I wonder what this would look like cleaned up. After running the boards through a planner they looked awesome.

My question to you: Is there anything to be worried about with these boards? They were pretty well coated in black mold.

  • I got hold of some 80 + year old oak used as trim in a demolished bungalow home a few years back. Cleaned up real well, but boy it sure seamed harder than the new stuff. – Ashlar Feb 24 '16 at 22:12
  • Oh yes I have found out that this stuff seems to be a lot harder than what I would have ever thought – Dustin Feb 25 '16 at 13:53

I think the most dangerous part was putting them through your planner. I hope you used a good dust mask. Lots of that stuff gets airborn when you plane it.

However, if you made it to clean wood, then you are likely to be pretty good. You still might want to take precautions when cutting it up, but then you should be doing that anyway, since 'clean' saw dust is still a hazard.

But once you build your desk, and put a seal and finish on it, you shouldn't have much to worry about.

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Second the safety aspects of bowlturner's answer. Black molds, if that is indeed what you found, are some of the more dangerous ones to peoples health. They condemn buildings on a significant presence. My only other concern would be for your projects.

For mold to be growing you typically need higher levels of humidity. I would let you boards normalize for a while and check their moisture content. Possibly leave them out in the sun for a while. If you check it now and its MC is fine then there is no issue. I am worried that your boards are going to warp.

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  • Hi I am also worried that they will warp and for the moisture content they where on a building for around 60 years used for drying out tobacco so I am sure they where full of moisture i have let them sit in a dry place for about 6 months but I'm not sure how to check the MC of the boards. Thanks for your answer – Dustin Feb 24 '16 at 21:19
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    Meters are available to measure a board's moisture content. Without one, you're operating on guesswork. Rule of thumb for green wood is to let it dry for a year per inch of thickness (with proper airflow); I have no idea what would be appropriate for boards exposed to weather. In addition to mold, you may have exposed yourself to lead paint... – keshlam Feb 25 '16 at 0:08
  • I didn't even think about lead paint.... that would be bad – Dustin Feb 25 '16 at 13:54

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