Saturday, October 10, 2020

Building A Barn

Three years ago . . . 


I built a 12 X 16 foot tool shed for my friend Benjamin .


Then his brother in law built a nice house for him a couple years ago.

He then bought an old Ford 8N , I wonder where he got that idea ?

For which he built a shed . Came out pretty good too considering it was his first solo build .


Then last year he got the notion that a barn would be a handy thing to have. So he got some foundation pads and crushed rock laid out , and started pecking away at the sills .

Then he shouldered a bigger challenge .

Which made progress slow to a crawl . Lots of pondering and questions back and forth via e-mail so I figured it was time to make the hour drive up to Richmond and see what all the fuss was about .

Of course just looking it over was not enough so we labored on Labor Day . Spent a couple hours checking it for square and level and tweaking things a bit here and there . Then we did some heavy lifting . Just don't let my spinal surgeon see that .

 That there monstrosity we were moving was one of Ben's creations made out of sopping wet green hemlock . . . .

 . . . in order to make lifting equally wet and heavy hemlock beams into place on top of the posts he had previously installed .

They did work pretty slick once positioned as needed .

Trouble was moving them was a royal PITA but it made lifting the hemlock beams into place a breeze

Took some finessing to get some beams to fight right .

Well , its not like we are building pianos here anyhow

By the end of that day we got all six beams up in place . No small task considering they were probably three hundred pounds a piece .

 He then ordered some much lighter 2 X 8 X 12 kiln dried spruce and made some progress on his own . Built two tripled up beams and got a couple rim joists up . Which only resulted in more questions .

So last Sunday we made the journey back up to Richmond and after some adjustments set about making some headway .

 I'm getting a bit long in the tooth for that sort of monkey business .

But if its gonna get done right . . .

Tripled up , glued and spiked 2 X 8 X 12 KD Spruce headers , so much lighter than that wet hemlock .

Even so , the look on my face says it all .

Its strange but that guy looks frightfully like my own father .

Never mind that . . . . get to work .

And that's right when I smashed my finger into the head of another protruding nail as I was looking into the sun and could only make out the profile of the spike I was trying to drive home .

By two PM we got all six tripled up beams and the rim joists up in place so while Ben went to get us some lunch . . .

Annie and I got thirty two more common joists trimmed to size and ready to be installed .

And that's why I hurt at the end of the day .

Making headway quickly now .

By three thirty we had them all up .

Satisfaction . . . that's enough pain for one day .


  1. Beautiful! Ben is no doubt very happy to have you as his friend!

    1. And I am glad to have him as mine . Long ago when life was a lot more troubled we shared an apartment. I'm glad he's stuck around this long.

  2. and to think i could have married you.

  3. Glorious.

    When we have died and gone to hades... that building will stand long after we are gone. I am envious of your aches and pains, M!!! And your way with tools and lumber...

    1. As I mentioned , the pain-pleasure equation has long fallen out of my favor. But There is satisfaction in seeing a structure take shape where none was before.

  4. Great photos & build - thanks for sharing.

  5. There is a lot of satisfaction to be had from building any type of structure... and as we mature those activities provide reminders of the toll the aging process demands of us. Framing is art.

    1. Its been a long time since I have built a timber frame structure as the usual scheme around here is stick-built. The rough cut timbers with the knee braces is really appealing to the eye. I just have to come up with an antigravity tent we could build it in to make moving all that heavy lumber easier on the old bones.