Barn project

Started by Don_P, July 14, 2021, 09:18:54 PM

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I saw a pic I posted in astidham's thread several years ago and he had asked me at that time to post more on that project, I think I forgot but I have some pics from that job on the computer. It started as a restoration of an 1840's 2 crib log barn but ended up more of a reconstruction. It was in such bad shape it had to come completely down and I think 6 or 8 logs were reuseable.
This was it as it was coming apart

As it was being rebuilt, the top beams across the 2 cribs were 60' 12x12's

This is a shot in the woods as we were making one of those long beams. Getting them out of the woods and up the road to the barn was a job!

We had a small mountain of sawmilling scraps and there was an old 500 gallon oil tank on the farm so I cut the end out and we made several batches of charcoal and passed that around.

We had also dropped a large tree that turned out to be hollow, so we made a stumpkin and had a party.

The old grain wagon restored. We were quite busy as the size of the job just kept growing. Luckily the owners found an Amish man not too far away who could restore the wagon so we packed it up and sent wood of the dimensions he requested and it came back in great running order.

and we took a ride with the old folks. The gentleman with the hat rode in that wagon as a boy taking grain down to the gristmill on the nearby creek. The white haired family matriarch remembers walking down to the mill to catch the bus. The miller would have the pot bellied woodstove warmed up by the time the kids got there in the winter. Danny, the driver is a true old time mountain man. That is his team, they can log, plow or pull. Danny is equally at home deep in the woods, at a forge or sawmill or on a log home building site, a fun guy to spend time with.


Wow!  What a job that turned out to be. Super to see. Impressive beams!  Thanks for posting.  How long did that reconstruction take?

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Yeah, that's awesome.

For those lean-to's, it looks like a continuous stemwall, then timber sill (white oak or something?) and then the posts are what species?

I keep wanting to try timber framing but when I start looking at all the details, even just getting logs sawn properly, it gets a little overwhelming.


Two of them are on stem walls, yes white oak sills with red oak posts and beams (more available in the forest here), the third side is posts on spot footings. That internal line of 12x12 posts and beams supporting the wide lean to is also on individual piers.

The main body of the work took about 8 months but we've been back a number of times continuing to finish it up/detail it to make it useful for the farm now. There is a set of stairs and mezzanine accessing the upper floor of both cribs, sliding doors etc. About 2 years after the 18' tall log cribs were stacked we went back and lifted them about 4" to get them back in plane heightwise with the timberframed sheds. At that point we sided the south shed with the stone stemwall, the north gable log wall (the one with the wreath) and the south gable wall above its sided shed. We had sided the long east shed on its stemwall in the original phase. That was the historic appearance of the barn. Nothing magical about timbers, it is just another form of framing. The biggest thing is its big and ungainly so it takes lots of hands, or equipment. The farm is an original land grant, covers about 1700 acres and is just up the road so we do a fair amount of work and play there. As we were working we would get together a parts list for each phase and go shopping in the woods. We set up the sawmill in an unused corner of the farm under some shade trees, actually alongside the farm dump which we cleaned up while we worked.

After that we did a fairly quick partial restoration/stabilization of another very similar barn on the farm. That one is also a 2 story 2 crib barn but only had a shed along one long side. It had collapsed and was taking the rest of the roof with it so we rebuilt that shed in heavy timber and did minor stabilization work on the main body of the barn. We needed to wrap up and let the folks pocketbooks recover for a few years. That one is older, mostly pre blight chestnut, all axework. The only sawmarks showing were in repairs that had happened over the years. Even the roof purlin boards were hand split.  We then reroofed a guest house and got a pair of antique cattle scales redecked and working well enough to pass muster with the state weights and measures folks. Oh, and we diid shed and roof repair on another gambrel roofed barn on the farm. There is enough work and buildings there to keep a carpenter busy full time.

Currently we are about 8' underneath the old farmhouse at the local living history farm museum. I was called in for "an easy residing job". That illusion lasted a good 15 minutes when we realized just how rotten and termite damaged the frame was. We are almost 1 year into it and expect to be there at least 2... there is enough work and buildings there to keep a carpenter busy full time  :D and so it goes. We've spent the last couple of weeks logging and sawing materials for it. Over the past 4 days we've sawn about 3600 board feet of 20' 2x12's, I'm glad its the weekend!


Nathan, this is a method I like to use on porches, sheds, etc. A bolstered and braced post. This allows me to prefab the components in a shop  and then take them out to the site and easily set them up and attach the beams to the bolsters. It's also a good intro, fairly simple, useful and if you totally screw up it isn't a great deal of material.
This is the second log barn on that farm, the one with the collapsed shed;

With the carry beam and some log rafters installed;

An exploded view of one bolstered post from another job;

and a higher end job, the braces are housed into the posts about 1/2"

The line of posts on that one. The carry beam here is a built up beam of regular dimensional lumber.


Outstanding Don!!
I that barn is massive.
Thanks for posting this!!
"Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice"
— Henry Ford


Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Don, that looks great. Thank you for sharing the details.

At some point I am going to do a timber project -- either porch, or addition on the house, or I even thought timber framing a greenhouse could be a good learning experience.

I was about ready to start the garage this year, but the weather has been awful (9 inches of rain so far in July, more coming today), so the most I'd do at this point is the foundation. When I was putting the order together the lumber order it occurred to me that timber framing the walls may actually take less wood than 16" OC walls that are required for let in bracing.

Ernest T. Bass

Amazing work, thanks for sharing!

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