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Author Topic: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?  (Read 21748 times)

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Offline Cityarb

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Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« on: March 08, 2009, 08:47:57 pm »
Hi Everyone,

Iíve been lurking here for awhile, so Iíve decided itís time to post something. This is an awesome site, by the way.  As you can see from the pictures, I have the opportunity to demolish an old barn and salvage the lumber. Iíve been told that itís a lot of work a not worth the time, but the wood appears to be in exceptionally good condition. My plans are to disassemble the barn and use it to build a timber-frame style garage/workshop.

Is there anyone on this site who has done this, and is it worth the time and effort?

Thanks for your help in advance!
Mike Dirksen

 









Offline Radar67

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2009, 09:04:58 pm »
Welcome to the forum Mike.

I would take it down, and try to reassemble it just as it is. It looks to be in really good condition. I'm sure someone who has taken one down before will be along shortly.
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Offline Cityarb

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2009, 09:17:46 pm »

Thanks Radar67,

I suspect someone here has done this, and I'm sure, just like everything else, there's a right and wrong way of doing this.

Thanks again!
Mike



Offline shinnlinger

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2009, 09:47:25 pm »
Cityboy,

That does look like a nice barn in good shape, but it is not antique...80- 100 YO is my guess.  How big is it?

Is it worth it?  I will ask some questions.   How much $$$ for this project do you have?  How much time for this project do you have????  How flexible are the current landowners?  i e Can you take all summer and leave a big burn pile when you go?  What kind of tools/equipment/skills/experience do you have???

The "right" way varies quite a bit depending on how you answer the above questions.

If reassembly was the goal. I would be to strip off the roofing and siding (Leaving bracing of course) and then get a crane/excavator/telehandle etc and take down the framing members after marking it and taking pictures for reassembly.  You could assemble staging inside, perhaps off the hayloft and disassemble without mechanics, but it probably isn't as safe and the time is much more and it is probably not hard to find a big machine for the job for cheap $$$ these days.

 In fact, if you have a week and can rent a big man-lift, I bet that is the machine.  You can zip around and strip the roof, which if it is tin, will probably be nailed making remodel tough to do without wrecking the panels, but keep them to cover your timbers, and then go back up pry off the roof boards with a big double headed pry-bar and strap the rafters to the bottom of the man lift basket and pull up.  The might come right off, or they might need some bar persuasion, but you can probably do more than one at a time and then either drop them down or lower the basket down and go back for another load, and work your way down.  With all the roof and framing gone, you might get lucky enough to drive those pegs out, but be prepared to drill them out taking the weight off with the man-lift.  With a buddy or two helping, and a tractor with forks and a flatbed trailer, you could probably have that wrapped up pretty cleanly, pretty quickly. 

If having some boards to play with is the idea, remove all the wind-braces and then siding (staying outside the building of course) get a big chain and pull it down and scavenge what you want with a chainsaw and call it good and have a bonfire.

There are obviously some methods in between, but it depends on what your goals are.  There is post about a year ago where a guy in Canada did just this to a barn in far worse shape than yours.

Shinnlinger
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34 horse kubota L-2850, Turner Band Mill, '84 F-600,
living in self-built/milled timberframe home

Offline shinnlinger

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2009, 11:10:24 am »
To the is it worth it question, you might want to price comparable steel and wood buildings if you were to build new, but also consider the cool factor of saving an older structure.
Shinnlinger
Woodshop teacher, pasture raised chicken farmer
34 horse kubota L-2850, Turner Band Mill, '84 F-600,
living in self-built/milled timberframe home

Offline witterbound

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2009, 11:34:14 am »
All I know is that on the Timber Frame Guild forum this topic comes up from time to time.  Mostly from someone wanting to know how much to pay for an old barn to be torn down.  The concensus seems to be that one should pay very little for such a barn, as the costs of teardown and cleanup are not cheap.

Offline logwalker

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2009, 11:34:29 am »
Can you tell us why they are wanting to bring the barn down?   Joe
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Offline Clovis

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2009, 08:57:02 pm »
Hey Mike I was just checking into the forum for the first time in awhile and saw your post. I'm the guy from Canada who took down a barn a year ago. I got 75 good beams ranging in sizes of 5.5x5.5" to 9x9" and most 20' long. If the guy who owns the barn is taking it down no matter what and he is going to have a crew there to do help take it down then go for it. I paid around 5 to 10 cents a board foot I guess to get it home and into a couple of piles. The farmer had a backhoe with forks a log skidder and tractors. I rented a crane for the day (10 hours) at 500 bucks. I did not plan on reassembling the frame but tried to save as many tenons as possible. This was a waste of time because I will be cutting all the beams to new lengths. Not including the rafters I will have enough beams to build a 1900 sqf cottage. I stuck around after the barn was down and helped clean up to the last shovel full. I say go for it good luck and work safely at all times.
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Offline Cityarb

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2009, 03:24:09 pm »
Can you tell us why they are wanting to bring the barn down?   Joe

Logwalker,

They're wanting to sell the property for development, and the barn and old house need to be cleared from the property.

Thanks!
Mike

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2009, 03:46:39 pm »
Hard to say what to do. Looks like some good timbers in the barn. If it's free material and no one is in a  hurry than go for it. Maybe you can take what you want and the owner demolishes the rest. However a lot of owners around here expect you to clean up the site, but most everyone goes mostly for the roofing steel and that's it. I don't see much salvage work around these parts for the timber.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline Cityarb

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2009, 03:51:42 pm »
Thanks everyone for your responses. It looks like I'm leaning towards taking the barn. All they ask is that I haul everything away. I think I can have this arranged with no problem, and very little expense.

Additionally, my son will be getting out of the Coast Guard in May, so this should be a good father, son project.

Thanks again everyone. This is an awesome site, where everyone is very friendly and helpful. I'll Keep ya'll posted.

Mike

Offline moonhill

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2009, 06:29:19 pm »
So the price is right, free for the taking?   If so, sounds like a good start.  Most folks look at taking the items attached to the frame.  I would encourage re use of the frame just as it is.  Don't reconfigure it.  The work has been done, take advantage of that.  Let the structure dictate the design.   Open mortises should be considered if you are thinking of reusing the timber differently than originally intended. 
 
By the look of the barn in the photos, it seem to be in reasonable shape.  I would venture to say better than the barn Clovis dismantled, but we had more photos, as well.  Yes that is a hint for more photos. 

Tim
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Offline Cityarb

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2009, 08:22:26 pm »
Hey Tim,

Yep, free for the taking. Just have to clean it up. As far a timber framing goes, I really don't have a clue, so when you say open mortises, I'm not sure what that is exactly. Anyway, that's why I'm here, to learn.  :P

Thanks for any help you can give on this!

Mike

Offline moonhill

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2009, 08:44:23 pm »
MORTISE. In general, a rectangular cavity into which a tenon (or another object such as a lock) may be inserted.....   And I may add a dead body, fixed for burial by the mortician.  I always wondered what came first the wooden mortise or the Mortician.  That first quote came from Jim's list at the top of the Timber Framing section, highlighted in blue, under Terminology. 

Mike, you may want to look around for a local framer in your area to have a look at it and give an opinion.  I think it is a good find.  What is it's dimension/size?

Tim


 

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Offline Ironwood

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2009, 09:15:11 pm »
I have taken down a few and your comment on the "Father son thing" hits home. The biggest one I did was at my Dad's house and in 8 weekends we got it down. I lived 2 hours away at the time and it was SO nice working together with him on it. He was going to "burn the %^&**%  thing". It was time well spent together, he was not exactly the best Father in the world over the years, but we got to spend a bunch of time together and I think after that he realized I was not the "silver spoon son"  he thought I was. Geeze for that matter everyone around was more flatware than silver spoon  :D but just 'cause I went to college (paid my own way), moved away and did many things he didn't understand or even care to learn about, he kind of thought I was,... well, I dunno, to school smart than "hands on". Should have seen his face when we "chopped" down the concrete 50' silo w/ a RxR sledge :D cant learn that in college. 

 Regardless of your relationship w/ your son, it should be fun. Go for it (even if the wood is ROTTEN)

 Ironwood

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Offline ljmathias

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2009, 09:39:13 pm »
I agree with Ironwood- if it's a project your son will get excited about doing with you, do it whatever.  That time will always be precious to you both, even if you don't always see eye to eye on other things.  Biggest problem I have working with my kids is they refuse to admit that I'm always right, even when I'm wrong... but hey, they're young and have a lot to learn.  I'd love to have them work with me on projects around the farm but unless they're short of cash and wanting to work for fee rather than free, the only projects we work on together are theirs.  Good enough, and let's me practice not being right all the time.

Lj
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Offline Cityarb

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2009, 10:26:01 pm »
Hereís a picture of my son and me, as my son decided to take me gator grabiní last year while I was visiting him. Heís located in Dulac Bayou, LA. Some of his Cajun buddies showed him a fun sport that they do in their spare time, so he thought it was cool to show dad how to grab gatorís.

Mike


Offline Ironwood

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2009, 10:44:38 pm »
That looks fun.

  I saw one that size while treading water for a lifeguard training in a Florida lake. I was told "there are no gators in here, it's fenced" WELL, I was one of the staff memebers out on the perimeter!!!! and he was on my side of the lake. HELLO. "If there are no gators in here what's that Loch Ness?" Wish I had a boat! It was a nervous few minutes while we cleared the water.  :o

 Ironwood
There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love to do, there is only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.- Wayne Dyer

Offline Rooster

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2009, 03:56:17 am »
Mike,

This is Rooster. I live North of you in Wisconsin, and I have some experience in dismantling and reassembling barns. Most of my work is made up of barn restoration and repair, but I also do timber-framing and what we call "adaptive reuse", where you take what you have and make is work for your specific needs, taking advantage of course of "the work already done in the past".  I would agree that you have gotten a lot of sound advice and much encouragement on this project of yours.  If you were to do a search on this site for "barn raising in Wisconsin" you should be able to see some photos of myself and a few other Forestry Forum members at a old-fashion barn raising that I was contracted to do for a local farm family. I might be able to assist you in your project in any number of aspects.  If you send me an email, I can also link you to a photo sharing site that holds photo albums of some of my projects.  Let me know if I can help.

Rooster
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Offline ksu_chainsaw

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Re: Old Barn, Worth the Effort?
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2009, 02:48:40 pm »
It looks like it would be an excellent recycling project.

I have taken a few of those older barns down, and have learned the following things.

1.  Strip everything possible from the inside first.  this includes the haymow floor, interior walls and any extra boards left inside.  This does not include any load bearing structure though.

2.  Strip the roof- remove the tin, then the nailers-leaving a few to hold the rafters.

3.  Remove the siding and most of the perlins(nailers)-again, leaving a few to hold the structure steady.

4.  Get mechanical help- a manlift and a crane together will speed the process of putting the rafters on the ground.  Otherwise, you will be up there hanging on for dear life, and not everything goes as planned.

5.  When you are up in the air, take 2 hammers and 2 prybars up with you.  then when you drop one, you dont have to go down immediately.  Also take a long piece of 1/4" rope up with you and a small pulley.  Then the ground guy can always send stuff back up to you.

6.  If you are going to rebuild the barn identical to what comes down, get several colors of "livestock markers"  They are waxy paint markers that will withstand a lot of weathering.  Use them to mark the joints of the frame- ie A1, B6, etc.  Find them at: http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=30e0767e-7b6a-11d5-a192-00b0d0204ae5

7.  If you have to clean up everything, lay down tarps around the outside of the building, these will also save your tires from lots of nails in them.  Just roll them up at the end of the day, and the cleanup will go a lot quicker.

Charles