Pole Barn questions

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by spring77, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. spring77

    spring77 Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2004
    Are the poles used in pole barns usually specially made for that purpose, ie straight without a taper, or are they recycled telephone poles?

    Where are good sources for used telephone poles and railroad ties? Do RR ties make better or worse fence posts than sections of telephone pole? How do they cut with a chainsaw? I've heard that nothing dulls a chainsaw blade faster than a RR tie, is this true?

    I'm thinking about making a large three sided run-in shed/barn for cattle and sheep and am trying to figure out how it all might work.
    thanks for any help
  2. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

    Aug 28, 2004
    NC Arkansas
    Be careful of using RR ties and old telephone poles around animals. They used to soak them in creosote, which is harmful to animals if they crib, or it can seep into the bedding or the ground around them.

  3. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

    May 10, 2002
    Back in the USA
    You can buy either treated poles or dimension lumber for pole barns. I doubt you'll find many used telephone or power poles. They're usually used until they get knocked down. RR ties get replaced periodically. I'm not sure if you'd get enough life out of them to make it worthwhile using them for fence posts. On top of that they're a lot heavier than the normal posts. If you're buying lots of RR ties they come in bundles. Some are OK and some are shot.

    If you want a long lasting natural fence post, use locust or for maximum longevity osage orange. The easist stuff to find is the treated pine posts at the Ag supply places. You'll only need those for pull posts and the like. Use T posts in between. You should be able to get 20 years out of new treated posts vs. 40 for the locust and 50+ for the osage orange
  4. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

    Aug 24, 2004
    washington/british columbia
    The telephone poles and railway ties will make a mess out of your chainsaw chain, unless you have an old one you don't care about.
    Wouldn't railway ties be too short for fence posts ?
    They both have creosote fill pressured all the way through, I would go with the ag posts suggested earlier.
  5. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2003
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    ...........I've considered building a home\shop etc. and for me the most feasible idea was to pour cement piers that were all level and maybe add a weld plate of 3/8th's steel plate maybe 8 x 8 inches square . Then you could use say 4 inch square tubing for supports and then maybe use 6 x 6 inch square , treated beams for the floor supports and outer walls . 4 inch square tubing that is 1/4 inch wall thickness will support a LOT of weight . For me building a livable structure utilizing both wood and steel is the Best of both worlds . You really don't have to be a Lifetime welder to weld pieces of steel together that will hold . But it just depends on what kind of structure you think you have to have . Personally , I Hate having to do plumbing and so I'd probably be very slow in putting in my own plumbing but it would be fun learning just as long as I do it right the first time and move on to something else . fordy.. :)
  6. Maranman

    Maranman Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2004
    I know here in Mississippi you have to get a permit from Illonios Central Railroad Co. when you see them start removing the old RR ties. You have to sign some papers and then you have a certain amount of time to get all you need free.Call your local R R co. and ask them. Believe meee they are heavy I could'nt do it any more ( the time limit was about 10 days). So you have to work fast according to how many you want.They have lots of uses ,mostly down here corner or fence post.

    Down here we have alot of old 40' x500' some 40' x 300' poultry houses And most time the owner will give them to you to be torn down and cleaned up.They are still alot of good materials left in them plus you get the benefit of the tin and metal trusses also. Not trying to be a know it all here just trying to help.Some of the older ones have 2 rows of around 16' long (not sure about the length) treated poles (sorta like the telephone poles) down the middles.There was a man in Silverena Ms.close to Raleigh, that use to tear them down and sell parts.For those that are close by maybe this will help. I don't know about the animals cribbing it, but broilers and layers have been housed in them for years. :) ;) ( billions and billions of broilers and eggs) :confused:
  7. dreadstalker

    dreadstalker Well-Known Member

    Dec 22, 2004
    central nebraska
    most of the recycled telephone poles already have most of the creosote leached out.the majority of the pole barns built nowdays use either a 6x6 or a plies of 2x6s.the most common preservative used now is formaldyhyde based. if you wish to cut railroadties with a chainsaw follow the above advice on using a old chain.i have used ties for corner posts and gate posts without any undue effects on the animals