A discussion about free wood led to some conversation about barn lumber. We have an old barn that came with this place, and I thought I’d share some of our efforts to keep it standing. This is not a majestic old barn built by a well-to-do country gentleman. This was built by a poor depression-era farmer out of whatever he could cobble together. Despite our efforts to keep it standing, we often have people stop by to “offer” to tear it down for us if we let them have the lumber. Still, we are lucky: we know of people in the area who have had boards stolen off the sides of their old barns.
I wish I had “before” photos, but I always forget to grab the camera until I’m well into a project. First, a shed section that was entirely unsalvagable was torn off. Then a wall that had slid/sagged/slumped 18 inches or more was lifted and repositioned with Hi-Lift jacks. The lowest horizontal board you can see in this picture was on the ground when we started.
And here’s a look at the same wall from the end:
The red circles indicate how far the wall had to be lifted and moved – with the full weight of that section of roof resting on the wall. The vertical 2x at the near end of the wall was installed as temporary support for that end of the wall and the roof.
Inside the barn, holes were dug into the dirt floors (not just dirt – this was the milking shed, you know!) and filled with compacted sand/gravel. Post blocks were set on the compacted area and then filled around with more compacted sand/gravel. An interior support framework was built from pressure treated and construction lumber.
It seems like our society treats everything as disposable. And who knows, one day someone may tear this barn down for birdhouses and picture frames. But we felt like this little bit of history was entrusted to us and it seemed important to hold on to it for a little while longer. And it still keeps the rain out!