May 8 2003: This years main project is the "barn". I have, in the past, avoided this wreck getting into photos but now I must document the project so below are the "Before" shots. I have already removed the boards from the east side. I'll remove some more and then pull the structure down with my car and a long rope. Then the site has to be dug down and graded a bit, filled with stone and four corner stones set. The new structure will be the same size, 16 x 14, but it will have a gabled roof rather than the shed roof and it will have a floor. The main structure will be 6 x 6 post and beam. I don't know how I'm going to do all this but I'll make it up as I go.
The back which will become the front East Side The front which will become the back Looking up at the roof
June 4: Big doings. This past Saturday Gavin came over with a bucket loader and demolished the old barn, pushing it into three piles at the perimeter and then roughly clearing and leveling the build site. He is most graciously not charging me for this and says he will come back to spread the gravel. Today I burned all the barn wood and some trees to boot. The wood was too far gone to salvage but I did save a few pieces which looked good enough for bird houses. I've ordered all the posts and beams and got a very fair price and I'll be getting a truck load of bank run slate very soon.
Gavin and the Bucket Loader The building site cleared Burning the old barn board
June 9: Gavin brought over a humongous roll of landscape cloth, 12 feet wide, and I finished raking up the site and laid out two, overlapping pieces measuring 18 x 20 so there is two feet extending all around the perimeter. I've begun mowing up to the site now, extending my lawns way beyond what is practical for my little push mower. I got my laser level in the mail today. I'll use that to lay out the lines so Gavin knows how deep to spread the stone. The site is quite a bit lower on the south side so there will be more than a foot of stone there and only a few inches on the north side. Landscape Cloth laid out over build site
Sandgate bankrun gravelJune 11: Woodards delivered the bank run gravel today and I incurred my first major expense of the barn building project, $220.50 for the truckload of 14 cubic yards. I was pleased to learn it comes from Sandgate... Wuerslin Road, but it was not attractive looking stone and I was a bit disappointed. Upon further consideration, though, I believe it will serve the purpose rather well. There were some larger football sized stones that distinguished themselves and I hauled them away to the retaining wall. The only other expense that I can think of is the laser level for $15.95 which I ordered from the Lee Valley Tools catalog.
July 1: I've shoveled and raked gravel about 3 or 4 days with lots of days in between because this is not a fun job, but yesterday I started working on a retaining wall for the foundation and today I used the laser level to set the string guides. What a nifty tool that is! Of course, if it's rocks, it's fun, so today was a good day.
Retaining Wall Retaining Wall
14 July 2003July 14: Richard Sweeney, Jr. delivered the hemlock posts and beams today. $275.40, no charge for delivery. Four 6x6x16s, four 6x6x14s, eight 6x6x8s, two 2x6x16s and two 2x6x14s, the latter four pieces being somewhat of a mental slip. I thought these might be the top plate but came to my senses after I ordered them, then figured they will be used for the joists so let it be. I will get the remaining 2x6x14 joists myself from Wilcox, as I need them. They will be 16" on center and depending on my mood, I may add blocking which will make installing the rigid foam boards all the more complicated... just my style. I also priced, at Griswolds, a palette (2 tons) of black ledgestone at $210 + $75 to deliver. They were out of it at the moment, expecting more this week and I just may order it... a total extravagance. Maybe I'll shop around a little... call the quarries.
July 17: I picked out and ordered the black ledgestone and it will be delivered on Tuesday morning. They had ten palettes and I walked around and examined each one before deciding. I've cleared the area around the build site of unwanted saplings, undergrowth, most unwanted weeds and some limbs that may get in the way of the truck. This truck is bigger than either of the other two and there's a boom. I have two more trees to cut down. Then, I think, access will be easier for large trucks although I don't foresee any more coming in. This two ton palette of stone is my biggest expense so far, $299.25

I am still pondering how I'll attach the joists to the sill. I read online that there is actually such a thing as rough-cut joist hangers and if I could find them I would be one happy camper. I maneuvered a 14 foot beam over the gravel bed today in roughly the position it will be in and damn if it wasn't dead-on level. That has got to be a fluke. I doubt I'll get that lucky with the other three. I wonder how long it takes gravel 2 feet deep to settle and stop moving. We've had three hard rains so far but I can't believe that gravel is set.

July I can pick up an 8 foot beam OK and I can pick up an end of a 16 footer and pivot it around. I distributed all the beams to their respective sides. I was concerned about the weigh of the stock but now I am less so. It's a grunt, but it's doable.

Left: Now this is a joke. I've got 6 inch stock. I need to cut in 3 inches for the half lap and my saw will only cut to two inches. So go figure. I have to think about that. Furthermore, this being roughcut, none of the ends are squared which means I have to square all of them! I better get a really good hand saw.

Also bought two 5 lb boxes of 20d 4" nails and a 5/6" extension bit for my drill for $19.42 at Greenbergs. I also ordered 5 boxes of 3/8 x 4" lag bolts at $15.95 a box. I'm still researching, but I've got a price so far from Lauzon of $12 each for the angle irons. I'll need 24. I think.


July 22: The palette of ledgestone arrived and now that I've replanned my foundation, it doesn't look like much, but it has to be because it's too expensive to get more. I will supplement with other flat rocks. I've seen some around that I can pilfer and I'm sure my property will yield up some more. I'll use a cement block pier in the center.

July 24: Ordered the rough-cut joist hangers today and bought a box of galvanized joist hanger nails ($8.69) and a 1x16 spade bit (9.49) for a total of $19.09 with tax. I have a cash account now at Greenberg's so I get a little break on materials. The spade bit retailed for $10.59 and the nails $8.99 so I can't figure how they came to the discount that they did but anything is better than nothing. The spade bit is for drilling the holes that will accommodate the 1" oak pegs. The joist hanger nails are blissfully short.

I'm reconsidering using so many angle irons. Now I'm thinking the more traditional oak wooden pegs with some toenailing might be enough. I have been combing the net but not finding the right info for this project. Now I am researching a good post & beam book. It's been raining every day for several days now and that wood is soaked.

I've also worked out how I'll frame the floor.

August 8: Bought the case of 50 rough-cut 2x6 joist hangers to the tune of $77.70 (1.55 each)

August 18: I guess today is the first day of construction. It has been raining and very hot and humid for two weeks and I would not consider this job under those circumstances. I cut and squared the two 16 foot beams and built the piers to support the one on the south side. It came out perfectly level the first time... a total fluke and one I'll probably not see again. The cuts went surprisingly well and there was a much smaller center piece to cut by hand than I imagined. It was a piece of cake to do with my folding saw, taking only seconds and very little effort. The ledgestone is a joy to work with and I need only 3 or 4 pieces for each corner and the center of the span. The southeast corner needed only 2 stones (photo right). There will be quite a bit left for aesthetic finishing. The southeast corner needed only 2 stones
First Cut 16 footer on its piers and perfectly level!

I bought a 5 lb box of joist hanger nails which is marked $8.99 but I get a cash account discount and then there's tax so I don't know what they really cost but $8.99 is close enough. Also ordered 20 2x6x8 roughcut boards for joists.

September 10: The cooler temperatures are making this work more appealing however this whole project has not inspired the enthusiasm I thought it would. However... moving on... I finished all the half laps then slathered some homemade preservative on them (roughly 2 parts motor oil to one part kerosene). After a couple days, when they were "touchable", I cut 6 x 24" pieces of aluminum flashing and nailed it onto the bottom of each beam at each end and in the middle where the stone piers touch the wood. This serves as a moisture barrier. Then I assembled the frame and leveled it. Then I measured corner to corner to determine square and I was off 2 inches. One of the lap cuts was not deep enough and I was hoping it wouldn't matter, but 2 inches is too big a discrepancy, so I'm going to have to cut it again.

And herein lies one of the considerations of using rough-cut materials. I had already made four lap cuts before I realized that I cannot assume the beams are all 6x6 and my cuts all 3" deep. They range from a half inch less to right on, so it is important to know which beam is going to lap onto which beam and measure each ahead to determine the depth of the cut. Because I had set all the beams into place about where their final resting place would be, it was easy to know how to measure once I realized that I needed to do that. Recutting one lap joint is not a big deal but it reminds me to think out each step very carefully and I do spend a good deal of time when I'm not sleeping at night, pondering construction details.

But all that is for next year. I will be content to finish the floor framing and decking. The flat surface will be easy to cover with a tarp and all the construction materials can be laid out on the new floor under the tarp.

September 16: Picked up the joists, 20/2 x 6 x 8s and 10/1 x 6 x 8s for the blocking, if I decide to do that, and for the outhouse door. $90. The guys at the sawmill were dubious, but the car took the load just fine with no visible strain.

Beams with flashing patches

Flashing Patch

Lumber in car
Floor framingNovember 6: Kinda dropped the ball here with the updates. Except for some minor stuff, I'm finished for this season thanks to John, the carpenter, who helped get me motivated again. He put in 11 hours total, 5 the first day installing all the joist hangers and joists, 16" on center, by himself. A couple days later, working together, he installed all the angle brackets while I ripped all the ledger strips and cut and installed the foamboard insulation in between the joists, each hanging on the ledger strips which John nailed on to each side of the joists, 2 inches down, using #6 galvanized nails, 5 per strip (photo). Then, as I finished insulating a side, John laid the 3/4 CDX plywood decking so that it meets tightly over a joist or beam. We worked 6 hours and I had been ripping the strapping for an hour before he arrived. All work began from the center and that premise will continue throughout the floor project. So far, it's working out very well and I'm pleased.

Some fair expenditure went into this last effort and it's a sobering testimony to what will be the overall cost of this building. John charges $20/hr so he cost $120. The 8 sheets of CDX, 7 2" foamboard, box of galvanized #10s, and a box of (50) 5/16 x 4 lag screws cost $402.79 (that's with a cash account at Greenberg's). I ordered the angle brackets from Monarch Auto Body $171.20 for 16 (1/4 x 4 x 8).

Miscellaneous expenses were a 4' T-square $15.00 which is very helpful in cutting the foamboard and a (camo print, la-dee-da) tarp to cover the floor $26.49 at Aubuchon's. So, from top of the page, the expenses to date are $1,761.78. This does not include some small tax, the fasteners that I already had on hand and whatever small purchase I may have missed.


June 20: I put 2 coats of oil-based stain on the barn floor.

June 24: Slowly getting into gear. Moved nails, lag bolts, framing hammer, angle irons out to building site where they are stored in a plastic container. Ran the power out there a couple days ago. So far my heart is not in this. Once I get going, I may pick up the ball again.

Barn floor

August 30: Paid $312.80 to the sawyer for 5/6 x 6 x 8', 20/2 x 6 x 16', 20/1 x 6 x 16' & 20/½ x 6 x 16' but the latter two are mostly for fencing.

Sept 22: The project begins. Today was spent working with John. Mostly I moved all the rough-cut lumber that was delivered a couple weeks ago. It is green hemlock and really heavy. It is amazing how much lighter the hemlock beams are from last year. John cut all the posts and beams to size.

Sept 22: I cut all the floor pegs and rounded each end with a file so it would insert easily and John installed all nine in the floor. The corner pegs are 6 inches to tie the lapped sill beams plus the plywood decking and about 3/4 to 1" into the post. The rest are 3". Since rough-cut has varying widths, I made a 6 x 6 template of flashing with a hole punched dead center so we could be assured that the hole we drilled in the post would match up with the peg in the floor. That went well. John refined the cut on the posts, squaring it with a power planer and they fit comfortably tight into the pegs. In fact with only 3/4" of peg protruding, the post stood without my holding it... but I did anyway, until John nailed in the bracing.

Sept 24, Friday: Got up all the posts and beams. All the corner posts are pegged through but I cut off the pegs under the mid span posts because, for reasons I cannot remember, we decided the top beams should go on first and it was too much of the pain to fit the posts under them and onto the pegs. It would entail one of us holding up the beam while the other wrestled the post onto the peg. It was overkill and unnecessary. We toenailed all the posts top and bottom.

Because the beams were seasoned, we could lift the 16 footer into place. We would not have been able to do that if they were green. John swears they weigh half, literally, of what they were last year. There was no discernable shrinkage and no checking and they spent a year outdoors, uncovered. Hemlock rules! The diagonal bracing has to stay until the plywood goes up. No more work now until Tuesday. I have a lot of materials to buy. Gave $380 to John for this week's hours.

Sept 25:

Bought at Greenbergs: roof cement $5.61

Bought at Home Depot:
 Qty     Each  Total 
50 - 2x4x92 5/8 studs 2.89 144.50
34 - 15/32 CDX spruce plywood 18.95 644.30
18 - Metal roofing 26" 12.69 228.42
1 - Bag 1½" roofing screws 13.97 13.97
3 - Rolls 30lb felt paper 5.69 11.38
2 - Boxes coated sinkers 8p 13.98 41.94
Tax = 65.07

Sept 27: Rented the Home Depot truck and brought home the plywood, studs, and metal roofing. Truck rental: $25.44. Bought 3/2 x 4 x 12's to support the metal roofing on the truck, $17.49

Sept 23
Sept 23
Sept 24
Sept 24
Sept 27

Sept 30: There is at least one piece of plywood on each side now so the bracing is off. The door and all but one of the windows is framed. All studding begins at the center point of a span and works outward, 2' on center. That way I can always know where they are after the walls are covered on the inside. $320 to John for this week. $82.84 to RK Miles for 2/2 x 10 x 18' and 2/10' metal roofing ridge pieces both of which will be delivered on Monday.

Oct 4: $41.27 for 20 roughcut joist hangers at RK Miles. (2.06 ea, compared to 1.55 ea for a box of 50 at Greenbergs last year)

Sept 30 Sept 30

$46.29 for 15 precuts at RK ($3.04 each, compared to $2.89 at Home Depot and the latter had better looking pieces!)

Oct 5: I had too much web work today so John had to work alone. All the sheathing is on now. $6.83 for a tube of silicone caulk and joist hanger nails at Home Depot.

Oct 6: Today we got up all the joists for the loft floor and 2 pieces of plywood. Since it appeared I had some extra pieces of plywood, I demurred to using the 1/2" for the floor, even though I wanted to put on 3/4". But down the line I can put another flooring over that 1/2". The joists are 2' oc. There is a 2 x 3 board nailed into the top plate on the long (16') side, flush with the exterior plywood sheathing and it is on this that the rafters will sit. This extra piece allows for a graceful seat of the plywood decking on the loft, a very nice touch, I think.

Oct 7: $68 to Sweeney for 6/1 x 8 x 8s (fascia) and 10/2 x 6 x 12s (more rafters)

Oct 8, Friday: The ridge and 8 rafters are up. John had never done a ridge like this. I didn't know I was wanting anything unusual. I just wanted the 6" framing precedent to carry up to the ridge beam as well and the end result is aesthetically appealing. John likes it and was eager for the challenge. Doing it this way does require a bit more calculating.

ridgeSince my sawyer did not have any 18' stock, I bought 2 dimensional 2 x 10 x 18s and these were rabbeted into the outside of the 6" post that supports it on both sides and extends out one foot on either end for the roof overhang. That left a 3" space in between them and this was filled with a roughcut 2 x 3 aligned at the bottom. Then blocking was installed above that in the space between the 2 x 10s. Then John nailed a mitered 2 x 6 on top of that and a mitered dimensional 2 x 4 on top of that. Pretty beefy but we've got a nice triangular nailing surface for the roofing.

Triple ridge beam
Oct 9
9 Oct: Bought 60 feet of nylon climbing rope to keep me from falling off the roof, if I actually get up there: $11.63 and another box of coated sinkers $14.82.
12 Oct
1 x 8 fascia in place
Interior framing, temp stairs

13 Oct: I returned to Home Depot the 18 pieces of 2 x 12 corrugated galvanized roofing and exchanged it for 12 pieces of 3 x 12 brown metal roofing. The additional expense came to $71.41

19 Oct: Bought a box of galvanized tens: $6.89

20 Oct: We finished the roof on the north side and removed the scaffolding. Tomorrow we start the south side. With the scaffolding, being on the roof was no big deal at all. It was like being on a roof that ended at the ground. I screwed in the lower 4 courses and John did the upper five. The 6th and last panel was done with the wooden ladder resting on the 5th panel, a cleat on the scaffolding holding it firmly in place. There were 6 panels, 45 screws per panel, 270 per side. John marked every screw position on the sheets before we put it up. I started all my holes with a nail but John could just screw them right in. It went like clockwork in about 1 hour and looks perfect. John is meticulous about measuring and it pays off.

21 Oct: Bought another bag of brown roofing screws (15.99) at Home Depot and a 12 gauge 100 foot extension cord: $64.61

22 Oct: Friday. Paid John $640. We've got the south side all sheathed and strapped. Monday we put on the metal.

23 Oct: I'm out of money. Writing checks against my home equity line now. Exchanged the galvanized roof ridge pieces for brown and got 4/2 x 4 x 12s and 10/ 2 x 4 x 8 (precuts, actually) and 30 roofing screws at rk Miles. (The bags I had gotten from HD contain 250 screws. I need 270 per side. I had some extras from doing the house roof but not quite enough for the ridge.)  $41.48 / Credit $32.50.

27 Oct: The roof is on and the gables sheathed except for a small triangle at the top of the west side. After that's done tomorrow, we'll start installing the windows. I got the hang of screwing down the metal and didn't prenail at all of this side. Awesome lunar eclipse happening right now, fully covered, blood red at 11:00 pm.

28 Oct: Installed all the windows today. Paid $16.44 for door hinges and lock set and $10.71 for a piece of red oak for the door sill, both at rk Miles.

29 Oct: Friday. Today was spent solely on the installation of the door. All the jambs, sill, stops had to be made and fitted and the end result was perfect. Paid John $522.89 but $72.89 was for 4 sheets of ½" plywood he picked up for me. As it turns out, we only needed 2 more so now I have 2 extra.

John is done for a while. I've got to get organized out there. I want him to make the stairs but I don't know when yet because the temp stairs work just fine for now.

I filled the cavities around windows and door with spray foam. The exterior side of the door has to be stripped and stained and I am going to fill the glass panel opening with 5/4 wood. The exterior door and window trim will be part of the siding so that won't get done until next year. I need to get the roughcut board and batten siding ordered so it can season but I have to recoup my expenses first.

About the windows and door: The two matching pair on the south side are steel clad thermopane. Mom got them at the Lion's auction two years ago for $2.00 for both. The 6 lite casement window with storms was $40 at this year's Lions auction and the small double hung with storms on the east side was $10 at the yard sale last year. The door I've had for a few years and I don't know if I paid anything for it. It is 1¾" solid wood, 36" wide.

October 20
October 21
October 22, south side sheathing in progress
October 29
October 29
October 29

Oct 30 Returned one roll of felt paper. Credit $14.82.
Bought a 5/4 x 10 x 10 at Greenberg's which is for the empty door panel. $20.44

25 Sept 2019: Bought 6 hemlock barn boards from Dorr - $30.82

29 Sept 2019: Bought cove siding for gable ends at Paulson's - $421.85

10 Oct 2019: Finally got most of the siding up on west side. Gables will be horizontal cove lap.


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