Updated: Jul 17, 2019
A couple of years ago I replaced the wood walls of the carport. The wood was encrusted with layers of paint, rotting and must have been decades old (the house was built in 1949). However, some planks were still partially solid and better yet, were not big box standard (nominal) widths and depths. In other words if the plank was 12" by 1" by 8' those were the real dimensions. I saved the best specimens for future use. The planks then sat under a tarp (mostly) in the rain and sun for a couple of years until recently when I finally had enough time to devote to reclaiming and using them. Initially, I tried sanding the years of paint off but I quickly realized that this would be akin to cleaning the Stables of Augeus (where the horses shit faster than any human could shovel). Or as Don Rickles said when he learned that Eddie Fisher had married Elizabeth Taylor, that would be "like me trying to wash the Empire State Building with a bar of soap".
So I shifted to the hand planer. This is a great tool and I am consistently surprised by how much use I get out of it.
Perhaps its due to to the fact that none of the houses Mrs. Moose and I rehabbed had a square corner and things constantly needed to be shaved to fit. I simply run the planer across the width of the board, first at 3/64ths of an inch (that takes off nearly all the paint) and then I follow-up with some passes at 1/64" to take off some of the ridges. Halfway through I bought new blades for the planer and what a difference. The paint just disappears with one smooth push.
Then, a coarse sandpaper and an orbital sander brings the plank to a reasonable state where you can start working with it. Large holes were filled in with epoxy or wood filler. The epoxy won't really take a stain but I sort of like the contrast.
Following that its simply a matter of preparing the wood as you would any project. I sanded, sealed, stained, sanded, applied water based spar urethane, sanded, more urethane, sanded and lost count.
Now working on some exterior shelves which were stained the natural color of the wood.
A few other woodworking projects: