Building a Goat Barn #19: Final Thoughts

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Blog entry by David Bareford posted 12-12-2014 08:37 PM 1445 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 18: The Hobbit Door Part 19 of Building a Goat Barn series no next part

Well, it’s been a long road, starting from here:

And here:

And ending up here:

I wanted to use this final entry on this project to talk about some of the many things I’ve learned, in order to maybe help out other woodworkers who might attempt similar madness.

The Wins

——The journey of the building is important, not just the destination. Build what you want, how you want.

—- Wow, did I learn a lot about working with roundwood logs! Ben Law’s book, Roundwood Timber Framing, was a huge help, although his is a power-tool-and-crane approach, whereas I was on the me-and-chainsaw and hand tools plan. Videos by Roy Underhill and Peter Follansbee because very useful, because the old ways of doing things really applied to my situation much more closely than modern timber framing practices.

—- Sourcing the wood from my land and free Craiglist ads saved a ton of money compared to buying new materials.

—- Almost every time you are told you have to have a metal fastener or a modern jig to do something, there was probably a historic work-around that uses the wood and materials you have…you just have to learn the skill and take the time to do it!

The Hard Lessons


——If it’s heavy, you will somehow need to haul it uphill.

——Cordwood is a great way to build, but your first wall (and maybe later ones) won’t look as perfect and dead-straight as the ones in the pictures.

——Building without drawings makes the project very flexible and adaptable to the realities “on the ground,” but it also makes it difficult to communicate things to a work crew without personal instruction on each step of the process.

—- Doing things with hand tools and the “old-fashioned way” is great and very satisfying, but it makes it hard—or impossible—to find skilled labor to help you if you do.

—- When you need loose materials like sand, don’t be an idiot and buy it by the bag. Granted, I don’t have a truck and would have had to pay for delivery, but it owuld have been so much cheaper in the long run.

——When building with “free” materials, you still need nails, bolts, mortar, and lots of other “incidental” expenses. THESE ADD UP, NO MATTER HOW MUCH CRAIGSLIST WOOD YOU FIND.

——The joint tolerances and door clearances we’re used to for furniture don’t work as well in a outdoor construction, especially with natural materials and in the wet Western Washington climate. Get over it.

I’m sure there’s ten dozen more, but that’ll do for now. Thanks to everyone for following this series, and I hope to hear about your projects soon!


5 comments so far

View Mean_Dean's profile


4948 posts in 2571 days

#1 posted 12-13-2014 01:13 AM

Well, it looks like the goat barn turned out pretty well after all! I’m sure the goats will love it!

-- Dean

View AandCstyle's profile


2541 posts in 1681 days

#2 posted 12-13-2014 01:16 AM

David, I would never have attempted it myself, but you have a fine looking project of which you should be very proud.

-- Art

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3128 posts in 3136 days

#3 posted 12-13-2014 07:09 AM


We’ve enjoyed the journey (without all the hard work). Thanks for taking us along.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View timbertailor's profile


1591 posts in 848 days

#4 posted 12-13-2014 07:55 PM

Other than the white wash on the right side, I really like it. I expect Hagrid, the games keeper, to step out the doors at any moment!
It has an amazing rustic charm. I can only imagine the sheer will it took to complete it and the amount of work that went into it.

Thanks for posting your work.

-- Brad, Texas,

View David Bareford's profile

David Bareford

66 posts in 1031 days

#5 posted 01-13-2015 05:30 PM

Timbertailor, the trim looks brighter in the picture than in real life…but that said, I’m coming to agree with you: it does stand out too much. In the spring I may paint the white over with the matching red.

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