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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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I purchased a Cen-Tec metal detector from Harbor Freight to check some reclaimed wood before I ran it through my planer. The wood is heart pine stair treads from my mother-in-law’s house which was built around 1907.

We recently sold the house, and the new owners are completely rebuilding it. Although they’re saving a lot of the doors, windows, and flooring, they decided to part with some of the stairs. The top of the boards have multiple layers of paint, and the bottoms are raw wood.

I started on one of the boards today, and after I removed a dozen or so large nails, I then used the Cen-Tec wand to make sure I hadn't missed any. It immediately found a couple of small nails I had missed, but it still beeped to tell me there was something else after I removed them. I narrowed the area down, scraped around on the paint, and found a tack that I was able to get out after a struggle. The hard grain had bent the point over on the tack.

I was pleased that the detector had worked so well, and I made another pass over the surface as a final check. It beeped again. The wand helped me zero in somewhat, but I still couldn’t see anything, so I used some paint stripper to peal off the top couple of layers of paint. While scraping the surface with a putty knife, I finally hit something that felt like metal. It was a small finishing nail.

With that one removed, I made another few passes and kept getting a beep. This one took, even more, searching until I finally spotted it under more paint. Once that one was removed, the wand said the rest of the board was clear.

For 39 bucks, (more like $30 with HF’s 20% coupon), I saved a planer blade and a lot of hassle changing it. If you’re using any reclaimed wood, you should take a look at the Cen-Tec wand. It’s cheap, and it works.
 

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Not having a HF in our country, I recently purchased another brand from Lee Valley. it was only $34.00 and so far does a decent job, but it must be calibrated before using. As is from the factory it didn't detect anything. There is a small adjustment screw that I played around with until I got it just right. I don,T use much reclaimed wood, but sometimes a project is no longer useful or required and I will take it a part and recycle the materials.
 
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Thanks Oliver for the heads up. They just opened a second store up here in the high desert, so they're doing just fine. For all the nubies, add their 2hp dust collector to the list of goodies. With that discount and on sale, mine cost $150 and $160. Both work quite well. At that price you could buy a new unit to replace any part you want for less than the price of an American made motor.

Anyone else want to nominate an HF product to the "goodies" list?
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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Your lucky to have gotten hold of some old wood that also has family history, make something nice from it. N
Yes, you are right on the mark, Neville. My plan is to resaw it and then make some kind of keepsake box for my wife to store other family memorabilia. As an example, her great uncle Henry Ragas, was the original piano player with the Dixieland Jazz Band around 1915. He wrote The Tiger Rag. He was getting ready to go on the band's European tour when he died during the 1917 flu epidemic.

Here's an original postcard.
 

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