In my wood pile I rediscovered a stack of wide fir boards that I salvaged from the bleachers at the school where my wife works.
The boards for sitting on are 1 5/16" thick and 10 3/4" wide. The foot boards are the same thickness and 7 1/2" wide. Each board is about 5 feet long which is the usable length between the bolt holes where the boards were attached to the bleachers.
There are at least 10 coats of varnish on these boards on the top and where drips and runs have accumulated on the bottom they can be over 1/4" thick.
I have been considering how best to clean this wood up as it is beautiful straight grain, almost quartersawn fir. I sawed off a piece and put it on the lathe to see the grain and it is definitely Douglas fir and like I said almost quartersawn. Why the lathe you ask? I felt it was the easiest and fastest way to clean up the surface of a test piece.
I hesitate to put it through my planer for fear of the heavy accumulation of varnish ruining my planer blades and you can feel the grit embedded in the varnish from many years of foot traffic.
Do you think it would be possible to clean these boards up using a wide belt drum sander? I have about 40 of each size of this wood. I would hate to throw it out.