Tips on building a old fashioned barn

Discussion in 'Homestead Construction' started by deerhunter5555, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. deerhunter5555

    deerhunter5555 Member

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    Thinking about putting up a barn. Been researching building one old-school with timber sawed off my place. I've built a lot of modern buildings and barns but never green saw mill wood. Around here most barns are sided with rough-sawn white oak or eastern hemlock. I don't have too much white oak but I have a ton of yellow poplar, red cedar and hickory. Not sure how to make my timbers and framing or outta what kind of wood.
    Any old-timers out there built any barns this way and care to share some tips and pointers?
    Anybody have any experiences they would care to share?
     
  2. dirtman

    dirtman Well-Known Member

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    Sell the hickory, It would not be wise to waste quality hardwood on siding. If the Cedar will give you 8 inch wide boards then use that with two inch battens. You could use the hickory for framing, but unless you have quite a bit of experience, pegged timber framing is not that easy.
     

  3. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    The hickory will dry very hard. I don't think anyone can consistently drive nails into a hick 2x, and once bent you might as well go ahead and break it off. You can't drive it , and it ain't pulling out. I used mostly white oak for my siding, with some red oak and a bit of hickory. I was working at the mill at the time, and could get the mixed, planed on one side mixed oak for $150 per thousand bft. The trick is to stick and stack it, let it dry some 2-3 months, then use it while it is still wet enough to drive a nail through. It is all relatively hard when dry. Butt the board up tight. When completely dry you'll still have cracks up to 1/2" between them. Use of a nail gun is recommended.
     
  4. mike554

    mike554 Well-Known Member

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    For timbers my first choice out of what you have would be the oak. You could use all of what you have, it's just none of the others would be my first choice.
     
  5. deerhunter5555

    deerhunter5555 Member

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    Not looking to go the pegged timberframing route. I will be using bolts and nails. Looking to replicate a barn built around 1900...
     
  6. RonM

    RonM Well-Known Member

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    I would buy treated post for burying ........might cost a little ,but wouldnt submerge untreated wood....
     
  7. kycountry

    kycountry Well-Known Member

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    Red Cedar makes great posts if they are big enough you can remove all the white sap wood. If you pour used motor oil on the bottoms, it helps protect the post from rotting even more.. I'll use all red cedar posts over treated posts any day..

    Cedar makes good boxing lumber too... We use Popular for framing lumber, but it must stay dry!! Popular can also be used as boxing lumber if it's painted or somehow protected from the weather..

    If I was building the barn from what you listed, here is how I would try to work it..

    Cedar posts..all red.. no white sap wood..

    popular/white oak framing remember that white oak is heavy.. oak on bottom, popular on top if I didn't have enough white oak..

    white oak boxing
    cedar boxing on the doors (this will be easier on the hinges..)
    sell the hickory... or use it for fire wood...

    if there is a loft, white oak frame work under it... oak flooring...
     
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  8. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    I made my cabin using a technique similar to building a pole building. I used black locust 6x6 for the posts, poplar 2x for the framework, white oak floor joists and red oak for the rafters. The cabin is on the peak of a hill and water drains away in alI directions I figure the posts will rot eventually, but it'll be after I'm no longer walking the earth.
     
  9. deerhunter5555

    deerhunter5555 Member

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    Where did you get your locust posts?
     
  10. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    I was the log scaler at the sawmill. When the right locust logs came in I was able to set them aside for my posts. We regularly bought locust, but resold it to rail fence companies.
     
  11. deerhunter5555

    deerhunter5555 Member

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    Sure made it conveinant to build an inexpensive building working at a sawmill. Those locust posts will probably outlast any treated ones you could ever buy.
     
  12. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    Yes. That was an awesome benefit.
     
  13. kycrawler

    kycrawler Well-Known Member

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    well where to start . I have a woodmizer lt 28 sawmill and have built a few of my own barns . I personally used resawn telephone poles (must wear a respirator when sawing treated poles ) for post and built pole barn style i use red oak and poplar almost exclusively all of my siding i have sawn was poplar and if you keep it off the ground it lasts a long time is easy to saw and nails up easy . Around here the cedar logs would sell for a premium poplar and hickory arent worth much for saw logs most buyers are barely paying over pallet lumber price If you have much building to do and have your own log access i would suggest looking into buying a small manual sawmill like a woodmizer lt 10 or one of the hundreds of others on the market
     
  14. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    A pretty cool resource is a book featuring the plans/layouts of old barns.

    It has been reprinted in the past 10 years. I had a copy, which was VERY interesting to read.

    This book isn't actual plans, telling you to cut each joist at 10' 6", but really a book showing all the barn styles available, their sizes, features, layouts, etc.

    Fair warning: Reading that book might keep you up at night. It sure is hard to put down!