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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In 2016 I noticed that part of old hay/horse barn was sagging at the roof and decided to replace the sill that was causing it. Things snowballed when we noticed most of the wood below the roofline was infested with powder post beetles. In 2020 my father died and I decided we were going to do a full boogy barn fix as a tribute.
Best as we can tell the barn was built between 1880-1905 based on the stamped square cut nails. We think it had a major renovation in 1917 after the original house and barn/silo burned to ground, including all the cows. At that time a 7 stall milking stanchion was put in and a workshop took the place of 2 stalls. It had been in the original family from about 1798 until 1957. They autographed the walls in places and dated some of them- 1924 and 1926. We did some repairs in 1980 with a bum floor beam and kept our beef herd in it and hay storage, sometimes horses.
We are using mostly hemlock for the sills and walls. Pine boards for the siding. I had to buy some western hemlock clapboards for the final siding. I'm running short on hemlock and have been using red oak for the posts and some beams inside- HEAVY. At present time the main floor and beams is finishing completion. Pics of that later.
Plan is a to have a 5 stall main floor with a work area and has sliding doors so if my brother wants it for woodworking he can, cause quite honestly the animals are what destroyed this barn in places. We'll be changing the main support from 4x4s holding up other 4x4s holding up 3x6s, to a timber frame internal "cage" of 8x10 beams held up by 8x6.5 posts. Calculating for 1500 bales at 35 lbs each and a 1 foot snow load.

I have no professional training in this kind of thing. Kind of the like the farmers that built it originally. Almost all the lumber (except clapboards) comes from our land. Pics today show the main face, old chicken coop and one of the sill logs before and after. You can see one of the sill scarfs and the inexplicable barn chimney (!) in that coop pic. I am very lucky dad took care of us so well. I'll post pics as I remember- keep in mind we are planning on another 5 years work in this thing. Most of these are pics from 2020. We are planning on finsihing floor within 2 weeks and then finish south wall and east wall. Gonna need a manlift
 

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That is so cool. Looking forward to see the progress. Great that you have the supply, and ability to make the lumber.

It always amazes me to see people letting a barn go to hell, When a little work now can keep it from falling.
 

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That's a huge undertaking but incredible nonetheless.

Despite growing up in Iowa and being surrounded by barns, I never really thought much of them until I bought a place with one on the property. Now I think they are pretty cool and study their architecture whenever I see one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
some pics of the floor from beneath and one of the new walls. Floor originally had joists spanning 10 feet 8 inches and the joists were 2.5 inch wide by 6 inches tall on 28 inch centers!!!!!. They all failed, cracked or sagged. Every single one. So we had some pressure treated left over from one of dads projects and now joists are on 14 inch centers, will be bridged and postss have concrete pillars poured down to ledge with re-rod drilled into said ledge. Floor beams in pics are 10x12 and sills are 8.5x 10.
Some of the floor beams had some soft spots (2) but in small areas. We have been repairing some of them. New pine 4x10 can be seen in pic and will be spliced in soon.
Got a reminder about how finicky hemlock is when today I had to trash a newly cut 6x5 floor beam with a rotten spot and a floor joist with same. Luckily very little ring shake in our supply for some reason.

We have a fairly serious drainage issue under the barn and will be helping water flow out but also putting gutters on this. All that water did not help the sills or floor joists. Everything is getting coated in copper napthnate or timbor to keep bugs out.
 

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Very nice barn. Horse barns typically received windows and more detailed corners and cornice making this barn a beauty. Smart to see you are conservative about trashing the old frame, siding & trim. Some of it can be "dutchman'd" or repaired and it is better quality lumber than what is sold today at most lumber yards. I've repaired many a barn. White oak is much better than red, assume it's difficult to find in ME (and you're cutting from your property). Don't think I've ever noticed a (inexplicable) chimney on a barn but haven't travelled New England much.
That your all's Wood-Mizer? Great machine.

Here's a little primer on barn preservation.
NPS preservation brief
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Posting some pics of a particularly bad board infested with powder post beetles. They leave all those holes behind
Also showing how bad some of the floor joists were- one cracked badly and one sagged about as much as can be without cracking. It even sagged a 8x7 piece of hemlock. "It" being our farm tractor Dad used to park in the barn. Which weighs 7500 lbs. I ran out of good hemlock so now I am experimenting with tight ring red oak. 8x7 piece of red oak 10 feet long must weigh 200 lbs. Figure I'll have to treat with copper naph to keep the bugs out and give some moisture resistance.
I'd use white oak but they used it all for boat building the last 300 years and we have maybe 30 total white oak on the property and the nicest one is actually on the neighbors property
 

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Yep, depending on the moisture content (which can be greater than 100%) red oak can be over 80 lbs. per cu. ft. Hucked some wet red oak fence boards around the other day, ugh. And Grady, my W150 didn't like hauling them either. You probably know it is better to install dry/seasoned wood to limit fungal and insect damage. I wouldn't bother treating anything that is wet (> 20% MC).

Borates are far less toxic than copper napthenates (far less toxic to bugs too, I guess). Moisture resistance is less concerning on an interior piece of wood, in some ways the wood will react with the environment regardless. Even your best vinyl paints are relatively porous. A treatment I have used is, borates then linseed oil/mineral spirits/parrafin wax (roughly 60/35/5 parts) on dry wood.

Forest Products Laboratory - USDA Forest Service Extensive forest & lumber info. Also many state universities have good intel. Design loads and wood engineering can be found too.

Whatever is practical to your needs though. Not trying to wave my brain around. haha. Gonna be awesome for you to get the barn and the covered space back in use; carry on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We got the whole floor in the barn finally. Was going to start the timber frame skeleton inside but decided to fix the sills before that. Pics show why. Originals were pine, we're using hemlock this time around. To complicate matters, 75% of the barn sill had 10x 8.5 sills and 25% had 10x8 sills. Foundation does indeed go up 1/2 inch higher in those areas. Will have to take 2 beams back to sawmill to trim.
You can see the tilt and sag in the beam we are replacing Saturday. Can also see the compression of the hemlock post into the pine sill. And the beam in the snow is the floor beam we took out just devastated with powder post beetles.
Buddy has 2 100 ton hydraulic jacks we are using to do this. We'll get forks on big tractor and try not to mess mortar up on foundation too bad.

We're now pretty sure the barn was built in 1912 as one of the boards in the floor was autographed
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Got one of the sills in today. Discovered the 8 inch old sill was a repair from someone else-they took off the 1/2 inch to make it easier to get the new one in without cutting the wall beams. And built up the foundation with mortar.
Notice the huge gap between the foundation and sill beam. Got some stone work ahead of me. 2 guys helped me today. triple 100 ton jacks and both tractors.
We are going to scarf the 2 beams together like it was orginally= thats the bright wood not painted with copper napht.
I skipped lunch (again) and we really hustled. I'm exhausted. We have 2 more of these. This one was 21 feet long. Next one is 24 feet long and last one is 27 feet long
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We got the first half of the timber frame barn support in today. It weighs a little bit. Had to have chains thru hay chute in loft and pull with come-a-longs on the maple trees outside. Still had to use big tractor to hold as a safety measure resetting the comealongs. Next length is 22 feet of beam in a place where the tractor wont fit so we may use a different method. i need 30 amish friends.
Also been working on stone pasture wall behind barn. It looks like they quarried the blocks for the foundation from t he ledge and then threw the scraps down the hill. i'm using the scraps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
got rock wall done yesterday. Dont know what those steel rods are in the rocks but I top the wall with them. there were 4
 

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Cool barn. Thats a lot of work but worth it and healthy for you at the same time. I really miss working hard labour like that. It made my body strong. I used to bitch about always having to work hard but now i realize how much i really miss it. Your hard work will pay off. Good job. 👍
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Pardon the blurry pics.
We finally got the timber frame support finished on the north side. Need to move a wall for a stall, but in doing so, we discovered some graffiti dated May 19, 1889 within the old wall. I managed to get the boards off without damaging them so i am thrilled to have an exact build date. I'm going to frame it- some guy drew a horse and moon dated it but didnt sign his name.
Neighbor also gave me 5 Hemlock logs ranging from 8-12 feet and about 18 inch diameter AND a 21 foot pine that will clean up at 8.5x10 so we will start on siding and get beams cut for other timber frame support. I was ecstatic to get these.
Pic makes it look crooked but it checked out with laser. Barn had sagged quite a bit in the middle- this puppy is taking quite a bit of weight back from the walls which were popping the boards off. Edge of roof is a lot straighter and wall is happier.
Haying starts soon so not too much will get done the next 3 months on this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Started some siding this weekedn. Getting ahead of myself but this side faces the weather and need to waterproof. Getting the hang of putting clapboards on. More complicated than it looks. Getting hands on manlift has been a challenge. Friend gave me some scafolding so need to set it up and use it for higher up. Im still learning so sharp eyed experts will notice some wtf things on this wall
 

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Looks great to me. Nobody's perfect. The eye likes a little mess up.

Neil
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Got the other side beam up yesterday and some alignment today. Discovered floor joists sagging about 2 inches in some places and will need to jack the whole apapratus up to correct to keep the roof happy. Not a big deal with 100 ton hydraulic pancake jacks.
Will be cutting the knee braces tomorrow, maybe more siding. Maybe cleaning all the dang junk in the way
 

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