Sunday, August 28, 2011

Barnraising! (Part 3)

On Friday, the builders working on our barn raised the roof -- literally.

The day before, they had put the trusses in place and built the framing for two sections of the roof, but at ground level. We wondered how they would get those roof sections in the air with just two guys and no crane.

First thing they did was add a temporary 2x4 below the top board, so they could straddle the top board and support themselves on the 2x4.

Then out of their truck they pulled these nifty gizmos called boat winches.

They had left the 20-foot 6x8 uprights taller than they needed to be for the sole and exclusive purpose of supporting the winches. But since the winches only fit on a 6x6, they first had to trim the 6x8s down to 6x6s at the top.

Then the winches fit.

They pulled the winch cable down until they could wrap it around one end of the truss.

They had four winches, one for each corner of the roof section. Then starting at one end, they started cranking, a few inches at a time.

Back and forth they walked along the 2x4 support beam, cranking first one side, then the other side, no more than a few inches so as not to tweak the roof section.

And slowly the roof section was raised.

When the roof section was at the correct height, the builders nailed it in place. A truly elegant and deceptively easy method to accomplish what seemed impossible.

They repeated this procedure for the other roof section.

With the two outer roof sections up and in place, the builders now had a structure on which to stand while they built the middle sections.

Amazing to think those roof sections were on the ground just a couple hours earlier.

Next they put up the OSB sheathing.

What an incredible day's work!

The builders: Don (on the right) and his assistant Mike (left).

While Don and I chatted with the builders, I happened to photograph a dust devil that formed nearby.

On Monday the builders will finish the job. Tar paper and metal roofing should be the last step. The result will be a roof on stilts, and Don and I can finish out the rest. We already have salvaged metal siding, and we'll add bays, feed boxes, interior lofts, etc. as time and money permit.

As Don mentioned, this barn will change the whole tenor of our farm. Within a year or so, we will no longer look like a patched-together place. It will be much more efficient.


  1. Very exciting! :) I know when our barn was finally finished I felt like we actually had a "farm" rather than a squatters dwelling for our animals. :)

  2. That's simply amazing. I'm currently reading "How to Think About the Great Ideas," by Mortimer J. Adler. One of the chapters is on human evolution and one of the sections in that chapter is on the difference between man and animal.

    Adler discusses the use of tools and how, although some animals use tools in a rudimentary manner, only man uses tools in the abstract. Only man builds a tool which is used to build something else.

    This whole series on your barnraising is such an elegant illustration of that concept.

  3. Thank you for documenting this. How exciting and fast. I can't wait for our barn. Very interesting post. Congratulations. It will surely make a difference. Blessings

  4. Well, it was indeed fascinating to see the pictures! What efficiency! A good lesson to preppers (like me)....But I had to giggle. I could not have watched them with any degree of, no, my heart would have been in my throat....pounding away.....I have a very vivid imagination sometimes and I get carried away. Failing of mine. I know I would have said "I can't watch" and then been glued to the scene from a very safe distance....heart just going, hand to mouth.....sigh. It is truly beautiful to see what they are very blessed!

    Kathleen in IL

  5. Very interesting. Such efficiency in movement, nice to see. What is the snow load rating for the roof? The roof looks like it can take a lot!

    Having a new barn and laying out the interior yourselves will be a huge improvement. Nice! Now you'll need a new tractor to go with the new barn. LOL

    Will you be tearing down the old barn? That weathered wood was so great for photo backgrounds, you may want to save some of the old wood for that and other purposes.

    Anyhow, the barn looks great and with that metal siding that Don salvaged last year, it will sure be a good shelter for the animals and the tack and equipment.

    Anonymous Patriot

  6. Nice barn. I bet Don is dancing with joy. All the best.

  7. That was fascinating. Enjoyed it immensely.

    My first reaction to seeing the trusses going up was, "Wow! That thing is really overbuilt!"

    Then I recalled our trip to Sandpoint a couple of years ago, where our hosts showed us a number of collapsed buildings -- including their own barn -- that fell victim to the horrendous snowfall the winter before.

    So, I'm thinking, "Building for snowload? Good!"

    Even in California here we got 7 ft of snow last winter. And the squirrels are telling us it's going to be another bad one this winter. Now I wish I had more snowload support on our outbuildings.

    Good going, Patrice and family. You are going to enjoy the heck out of that new barn.


  8. Patrice,
    That is SO clever, and I just love clever! I always wondered how it was done - thanks for sharing!
    P.S. I think I have barn envy! lol

  9. That is one of the neatest ideas I have seen. Having many years experience in construction we always used large cranes to preform work like this. I am always interested in ways like this to accomplish tasks with minimal equipment.