By February I came across 3 white oak beams 12 feet long near Indianapolis. Two are 10X10 and one is 12X12 . Since I was going there to visit relatives there anyway, it wasn't too much trouble to bring them back with me. Unloading was difficult though, with the beams weighing 750 lbs! I can't remember what I paid, but I'm sure it was under $0.60/BD FT. He also had a bunch of the slabs that were cut off the logs when cutting the beams. There were about 8 slabs, all 10" to 14" wide, 1.25 to 1.5 thick and some wane. I paid an extra $50 for the slabs. I didn't know what I was going to do with them. Later in the summer I ripped some of them to make bunk beds for a friends hunting cabin. I used the band saw chatter marks they had on them as character and highlighted them with stain.
I will definitly be able to use the oak timbers, though now sure where yet. I may have to have them resawn to a different cross section depending on the use. You can see what is called "checking" in the oak timbers above. Checking is a normal feature of large timbers. As a log or timber is cut green, as it dries, checks develop due to uneven drying. As the moisture escapes the timber, internal stresses develop which relieve themselves through checking. All timbers check, but hardwoods more than softwoods like pine. Oak, hickory, and hemlock seem to check the most. Checking is usually not considered a defect and does not compromise the integrity of a timber unless it is very severe - like greater than 3/4 inch and a check that runs completely thorugh a timber. Checking can be reduced by sealing the end grain of the green wood. The end grain are basically the capillaries of the tree and moisture will run out of the ends faster than the rest of the timber. If you seal the endgrain, it forces water to dry out the sides of the timber, which takes longer and is slower, thus allowing for more even drying and less checking.
In October I was going to visit relatives in Indy again, and I found some Beech beams to look at while down there. It was actually from an Amish gentleman near the Ohio border. I purchased 14 hardwood Beach beams 9X12 by 12 feet long and two that were 7X12 by 16 feet long. These are old growth beams from an old grainery barn. I got a good price of $700, plust it cost me $560 to move them. I will have these resawn probably to 7X12 or 8X12 which will cost another $500. In the end I figured these will cost $1.36/BD FT after sawing. It seems that if I can buy for about $0.60/BD FT, I can transport and resaw if needed and still keep costs well under $1.80 for substantial cost savings. I don't plan to use reclaim exclusively. When my design is finished, I will determine what of my existing reclaim can be used and now much new I'll have to order. I just got them hauled with Jason, the hauler from Woodstock, IL who I'd used to haul my on my first beam purchase. I accompanied him down to Indiana to get them and he was good company. He also hauled a used car lift I bought earlier in the week and delived it when he picked me up for the beam haul. Pics of that and the Beech beams in my next update.