Our pole barn construction project continues. Let me tell you right off the bat, there are bound to be a lot of “phases” to this project. LOL With it being just the two of us, and the fact that we’re building this without going in to debt, this is a long-term project. So I hope you’ll stick with us as the project progresses. Like everything else in the Pasture, it’s bound to be an adventure!
This day of construction didn’t start out well. Our neighbors were so generous offering to let us borrow their truck and trailer to go pick up the first installment of lumber – which included eight 16 ft. posts. We had a three day weekend ahead of us and we were excited to get started! But when we called Friday night to confirm, we found out the husband had left town with his sons unexpectedly…in the truck. The trailer was still available, but we didn’t have access to any vehicle with a hitch to pull the trailer. We thought we were doomed to try and move everything with our minivan.
Now you have to understand, most people would be shocked by what we have moved in that minivan! Our van laughs at trucks that have “farm” license plates. 🙂 But doing that would require multiple trips to the lumber yard. Thankfully we only had to drive back roads to get there and back, so having posts sticking out the back and the back door tied down, but not closed was doable. Not ideal, but doable. It was just going to take a majority of the day to get all the supplies we planned to buy back to the Pasture, essentially killing a work day.
But we pressed forward. And when we got to our local McCoys Building Supply, we decided on a whim to ask about delivery. Even if it was reasonably priced (it was!), if we had to wait all day to get our lumber, we would still lose a precious work day. Lo and behold, the pole barn construction gods were smiling upon us – delivery was only $45 and the driver was on his way back from a delivery and had nothing else scheduled the rest of the day. Before we had even rung up all our purchases and headed out to the lumber yard to select our lumber, the driver was back. It was perfect!
We selected all our lumber and they loaded it all on the truck for us. The driver followed us home to the Pasture and then unloaded it all. Just the loading and unloading would have worn us out before we even starting construction! So we were still fresh and ready to go.
First, we used the new compound miter saw to cut pieces of 2×6 to make cleats on the posts. Cleats are used to help prevent uplift of the posts. They give the concrete something to “hang on to” around the post. Another option is to install bolts or rebar near the bottom of the post, again, giving the concrete something to hang on to and prevent uplift.
The first post was a bugger to set. Everything has to be perfect – level, square, straight…it sets the line for the first entire wall, and thereby, the entire building. Those 16 ft. posts are wily to handle, especially with just the two of us, the wind blowing, and all the calculations that are taking place!
You can’t see it in the picture, but we had a string line set, marking a straight line for our first wall. Each post had to be on a straight line, level, flush, and plumb, and held there while the concrete is added to the hole! We added diagonal 2×4 braces to help hold the posts in place while waiting for the concrete to set. As we got more posts installed, we also started installing the 2×6 splash or foundation boards along the bottom. Because of differences in the grade of the land, the splash board on the first post on the north corner is on the ground, but as we move towards the south corner, the board is almost a foot off the ground. We’ll level that out somewhat with packed gravel inside the barn. We intended to build an actual floor in the wood shop portion of the barn.
We also installed the first row of 2×4 girts between the posts which helps stabilize the posts but will also be the structure that the siding is attached to.
Considering we had to go buy the lumber that morning, we felt pretty accomplished by getting four of the first eight posts in by the end of the day!
Until next time, worms rock, bees rules and chickens are my Zen.
Pasture Deficit Disorder – This Life in the Pasture is the Only Cure
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