Patrick's Barn: Raising the Frame - Fine Homebuilding

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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad


Patrick's Barn: Raising the Frame

comments (0) July 5th, 2011 in Blogs
patrick_mccombe Patrick McCombe, Associate editor

Starting in 2000 when we bought our first house, my wife and I have made it a Fourth of July tradition to tackle big home projects. The first year was a new septic system, which despite the chance to use a full-size backhoe, was considerably less fun than this year’s project.
My coworker, Steve Scott, helped me raise the 14 posts that form the barn’s frame. Neither of us had ever constructed a post-frame building, but it went pretty smoothly. Once you get a few poles up and braced, the process goes pretty quickly.
I don’t have pump jacks, and I only have one light-duty extension ladder, so I made a 16-ft. scaffold plank from 2x4s and plywood. The plank will make it easier to notch the top of the posts for the double 2x10 that receives the rafters. The cantilevered supports are every 6 ft., so I think the setup will work just fine. My son, who often shows better judgment than I, agreed.
We’re still working out the door and window layout for the front elevation, so we hung a pair of 6-mil plastic stand-ins to see how our proposed design would look. We’ll draw the roof on a photo to make sure the windows look right before we make a final decision.
Starting in 2000 when we bought our first house, my wife and I have made it a Fourth of July tradition to tackle big home projects. The first year was a new septic system, which despite the chance to use a full-size backhoe, was considerably less fun than this year’s project.Click To Enlarge

Starting in 2000 when we bought our first house, my wife and I have made it a Fourth of July tradition to tackle big home projects. The first year was a new septic system, which despite the chance to use a full-size backhoe, was considerably less fun than this year’s project.


We live in a great country, which is part of the reason I love the Fourth of July. Other reasons include: warm weather, fireworks, and a lot less stress compared to other holidays. This year’s Fourth of July weekend was especially fun. With help from Fine Woodworking associate editor Steve Scott, my wife and I made pretty good progress framing our new barn workshop while still enjoying some quality time with friends and family in the evening.

Saturday morning, I installed the post bases in preparation for Steve’s arrival later in the day. I was bolting the last one in place when he showed up to help me set the 12-ft. posts that form the barn’s basic frame. It took about three hours to raise all the posts and install enough connecting girts and braces to keep everything plumb and stable. The following day it rained pretty steadily, so I took that as a sign to spend some time with the family and catch up on household chores.

On Monday, my wife and I nailed up some additional girts and built some scaffolding to help us frame the upper parts of the building. It sure was exciting to climb up there and imagine the view from the barn’s second story. Maybe next year I’ll be able to watch the neighbors’ fireworks from up there with a cold beer in hand. I can’t wait.

Read more about my barn here.



posted in: Blogs, framing, patrick's barn, storage, workshop

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