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Converting a horse barn into a woodworking shop #1: Removing the stalls

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Blog entry by Ric posted 10-05-2007 01:06 AM 11212 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Converting a horse barn into a woodworking shop series Part 2: Turning doors into windows and enlarging windows »

I have been asked to do a blog on converting a horse barn into my woodworking shop. Unfortunately I wasn’t with it enough to take pictures of the process so far. So I will recap what has happened up to now, then I will start taking picures as I go from here.

I started with the barn as left by the former owners. The barns had 5 horse stalls, a tack room, 2 storage areas, a central alley, and the hayloft. As part of the purchase agreement, the former owners took all the metal gates to the stalls, but left the stall dividers (and two stall mats that were trapped under them). 4 of the stalls had a door to the outside and the 5th stall just had a window. Each of the 2 storage areas had a window. Very little cleaning had been done so you could definately tell it was a barn!

One window was actually finished, a second was framed in and the third was just a rough opening with a piece of plywood nailed over it.

The first thing I did was take all the stalls apart. I ended up with almost a hundred 2×6’s 10’ long that I have been using to do the rough carpentry and build a few things out of. I built a quick an dirty stand for my mitersaw, nothing fancy, just something to get it off of the floor. As so much work has to be done up in the trusses (remove the upper stall framing, install electrical, insulation, dust collection system, etc.) I built a platform that I can drag around the shop to work where ever I need to. It is tall enough to get my head within 6” of the bottom of the trusses and is 3’ wide and 6’ long. I made a smaller one for the office.

I spent several days preasurewashing everything before I finally got it relatively clean enough to proceed.

I have installed all the outlet boxes around the perimeter of the shop and have started to pull the wiring. I desided to put the outlets at 4’ above the floor rather than the normal 18” to get them above any benches I might put against a wall. I also spaced them roughly 4’ apart. I am also putting in 220V outlets around the shop. I am putting them at my eye level and about every 8’.

I have installed and wired a P-C 80 gal. compressor which has been a great help as I can use any of my pneumatic tools without worrying about running out of air like I was with my little 2 gal. one.

As things are starting to cool off, I am getting estimates for the heating system. I would love to have radiant floor heating, but to retrofit it now would require putting 1x furring strips an then a plywood floor. I can do the work, easy enough, a heating installer just gave me a quote for forced air that is less than i would spend on materials and I would have to do any work. It would also allow me to have a gas hookup in the shop for a steam box burner.

Well, that is where I am at now. More later.

-- Ric :{) - Appleton, ME - (http://www.crwashburn.com)



11 comments so far

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 3670 days


#1 posted 10-05-2007 01:43 AM

Hi Ric;
I’m a barn person, and lover of barns….okay I’m hooked, so blog away and I’ll be reading.

I see your next door to me, so how’s the cold coming along, over your way?
Thank you.
GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 3603 days


#2 posted 10-05-2007 03:04 AM

Ditto!

Looking forward to what is next and some photos.

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View Karson's profile

Karson

35035 posts in 3865 days


#3 posted 10-05-2007 03:19 AM

Keep her coming?

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View Fingersleft's profile

Fingersleft

71 posts in 3361 days


#4 posted 10-05-2007 01:55 PM

Hi Ric,

Interesting project. As a long time horse owner and a barn owner, I’ve come to undertand a lot about barn construction. Most of my knowledge came from the owner of County Woodshed here in Colorado who is the premier wood barn builder in the area. You didn’t mention the age of the barn or if it was orginally built as a barn, and if it was built as a “pole building”, or sits on a foundation. The reason I asked the question is that a purpose-built barn is generally build very differently. Here in Colorado, most barns are built as pole buildings with no convention foundations and wall framing that is hung horizontally on large timbers which are sunk into the ground – in my area, below at least 6 feet. This technique can produce some very large and study buildings. While this kind of construction might seem far less sturdy, It is, in fact very strong, if done properly.

The reason for this has more to do with real estate taxes. Pole buildings are not taxed here. Also, whether a pole barn or conventional construction, a good barn builder will frame the barn “loose” – not “tight” like a house. The reason for this is that horse barnes, even expensive ones, are generally not heated. Therefore the framing needs to move as the temperature moves up and down – sometimes quite a bit over a large span. In my area we see winter temps as low as -35degrees and summer temps as high as 90 degrees. Quite a swing. Maine should be about the same.

If some of this applies to your building, you may want to be a bit careful about tightening the building up. It may be a bit tempting to tighten up some framing which appears to have spaces in it, but that’s generally not a good idea. Now that you’re going to heat it, the whole thing is going to want to expand. You want to let it do that.

Would love to know more about your building. Photos and any history you could provide sure help. Also, like Frank, I’m somewhat of a barn person. They’re becoming a lost part of the American culture and many are simply being bulldozed over. Good ones need to be cared for. And my hats off to you for doing that.

I’ll follow you post as the project develops. If you have any questions, please shout.

-- Bob

View Fingersleft's profile

Fingersleft

71 posts in 3361 days


#5 posted 10-05-2007 01:58 PM

Hi Ric,

Interesting project. As a long time horse owner and a barn owner, I’ve come to undertand a lot about barn construction. Most of my knowledge came from the owner of County Woodshed here in Colorado who is the premier wood barn builder in the area. You didn’t mention the age of the barn or if it was orginally built as a barn, and if it was built as a “pole building”, or sits on a foundation. The reason I asked the question is that a purpose-built barn is generally build very differently. Here in Colorado, most barns are built as pole buildings with no convention foundations and wall framing that is hung horizontally on large timbers which are sunk into the ground – in my area, below at least 6 feet. This technique can produce some very large and study buildings. While this kind of construction might seem far less sturdy, It is, in fact very strong, if done properly.

The reason for this has more to do with real estate taxes. Pole buildings are not taxed here. Also, whether a pole barn or conventional construction, a good barn builder will frame the barn “loose” – not “tight” like a house. The reason for this is that horse barnes, even expensive ones, are generally not heated. Therefore the framing needs to move as the temperature moves up and down – sometimes quite a bit over a large span. In my area we see winter temps as low as -35 degrees and summer temps as high as 90 degrees. Quite a swing. Maine should be about the same.

If some of this applies to your building, you may want to be a bit careful about tightening the building up. It may be a bit tempting to tighten up some framing which appears to have spaces in it, but that’s generally not a good idea. Also, lining the interior with drywall or some other kind of surface, like a conventional house, requires a bit of a different technique. Now that you’re going to heat it, the whole thing is going to want to expand. You want to let it do that.

Would love to know more about your building. Photos and any history you could provide would sure help. Also, like Frank, I’m somewhat of a barn person. They’re becoming a lost part of the American culture and many classic buildings are simply being bulldozed over. Good ones deserve to be cared for. And my hats off to you for doing that.

I’ll follow you post as the project develops. If you have any questions, please shout.

-- Bob

View Fingersleft's profile

Fingersleft

71 posts in 3361 days


#6 posted 10-05-2007 02:10 PM

Sorry -

Don’t know how this got posted twice. Can’t find a way to delete one copy. Must have used the wrong finger.

-- Bob

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3427 days


#7 posted 10-05-2007 02:11 PM

Yep, we’re watching. Show us some more.
Tom

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Partridge's profile

Partridge

296 posts in 3421 days


#8 posted 10-05-2007 05:34 PM

why 240v at eye level

-- I get out in the shop when I can

View Ric's profile

Ric

17 posts in 3357 days


#9 posted 10-06-2007 05:49 PM

Frank, It has been getting cold, but now it is warming up again. Had a day in the 80’s this week. That’s after having had 2 nights below freezing a week ago.

Partridge, I put them there to help distiguish them from the normal outlets. Obiously they have different plug configurations, but just one more thing to make them different.

-- Ric :{) - Appleton, ME - (http://www.crwashburn.com)

View Partridge's profile

Partridge

296 posts in 3421 days


#10 posted 10-06-2007 06:46 PM

Ric

the name is Ryan Partridge and the reason i am asking is I am also it a remodel. and I jut installed a 100,000btu propane furnace in my shop<over>. am running ect. lines at four centers from ground and 220 2’ from ground.

thank you.

-- I get out in the shop when I can

View GregS's profile

GregS

23 posts in 3338 days


#11 posted 10-18-2007 07:04 PM

Glad to see you’re coming along so well on the barn/shop/office. Even in my small shop, I am always grateful for having wired AC outlets at about 4 feet above the floor on each wall, and on multiple circuits. It was easy to do when the framing was open. I also tossed in lines for phone, intercom and 70V lines from the multizone background music system in the house. That also facilitates paging from the house to the shop, though having my cell phone in my pocket pretty much alleviates the need for the intercom and paging.

-- GregS, Snohomish, WA ~ Some of life's greatest lessons I learned at my mother's knee; the rest I learned at other joints.

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