There’s lots of great wood beams in the old log cabins as well as post and beam barns of yesterday. While we’d rather see people save the old buildings, one of the next best uses is in houses for ceiling beams, faux beams, and room partitions. We get 4×4’s up through 10×10’s in the Midwest barns. We gather larger beams from the local commercial buildings and some of the barns on the East coast. There’s a wide variety of wood species from America Elm, Rock Elm, Red Oak, White Oak, Ash, Douglas Fir, White Pine and even some Maple here and there.
To calculate price, we use a number of factors including size (thickness, width, and length), surface texture, and wood species.
Within one-quarter of inch from the surface, most of these old woods have colors very similar, albeit darker, than their modern counterparts. By taking larger beams and re-sawing them, we can achive a cleaner surface and dimension timber to the exact size you need.
The outside of a beam can be pretty rough (before), but regardless it has some wonderful colors just under the surface. The idea is to sand, sand blast, or scrape to best reveal these colors (after).
Circle Saw Marks
As towns were settled, sawmills were one of the first businesses in place. These sawmills had large circular saws with blades that were typically 36″ to 48″ in diameter. If the blade was damaged, warped, or out of alignment it would often leave semi-circular marks on the surface of the board.
Hand Hewn Log Cabin Style
Originally, settlers were in a relative hurry to get a log barn or cabin set-up for living. They’d often cut very large trees and hand hew two sides of the tree with a felling ax. This created two rough hewn sides, and two rounded sides.
Hand Hewn 4-Sides Rough
We also find hand hewn material that is rough hewn on all 4 sides. We speculate that this is early settlers just trying to get the job done and not professional builders. There’s also some speculation on the seasonal differences — frozen wood cuts differently than spring and summer wet wood.
Hand Hewn 4-Sides Smooth
In some of the nicer structures, the logs were hewn with an adz or broad ax. This created 4 smooth hewn sides. This is more common on the east coast than in the Midwest. Just imagine that someone working a sweat over 100 years ago to made this wood surface what it is.