Patrick's Barn: It's Not Just a Barn, It's a Hands-on Lifestyle - Fine Homebuilding

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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad


Patrick's Barn: It's Not Just a Barn, It's a Hands-on Lifestyle

comments (5) March 20th, 2012 in Blogs
patrick_mccombe Patrick McCombe, Associate editor

I started setting the corner posts by lining up a pair (by eyeball) to the house. I located the third corner with a right triangle that I calculated with a Construction Master calculator. I pulled diagonals between the three established posts to locate the final corner.  
By clamping a pair of levels to the post, I was able to plumb the post while I backfilled. After nearly poking out my eye with one of the quick-adjusting clamps, I learned to locate them above my head.
Here you can see my arsenal of digging tools. The axe is for cutting roots. After establishing the corners, I stretched strings between the corner posts to locate the line posts between them. I want all the posts to be in nice straight lines, at least until the PT lumber dries and the ground moves with frost.
Our little boy helped with digging, and he surprised us with how much he accomplished. Thats his own shovel, purchased from Ace Hardware. Despite its size, its made for real work, unlike most kid-sized tools.
I started setting the corner posts by lining up a pair (by eyeball) to the house. I located the third corner with a right triangle that I calculated with a Construction Master calculator. I pulled diagonals between the three established posts to locate the final corner.  Click To Enlarge

I started setting the corner posts by lining up a pair (by eyeball) to the house. I located the third corner with a right triangle that I calculated with a Construction Master calculator. I pulled diagonals between the three established posts to locate the final corner.  

Photo: Carol Collins

As you may remember, we're building a garden while we work on the barn. It's been mentioned in my blog here and here. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that my wife Carol is building a garden. She's got quite a green thumb and isn't afraid to move mountains of soil and compost. Her willingness to work tirelessly is evidenced by the garden's size of 2300 sq. ft. She used the soil we scraped from the barn site amended with compost for the raised beds.

We now have seedlings under grow lights in the basement, so it's clearly time to get up deer fencing. We have a lot of deer in Connecticut. A herd of them congregate in our yard every night as they're grazing the neighborhood. I'm sure it wouldn't take long for them to find the tasty veggie shoots and gobble them up. As Carol said, "A row of seedlings wouldn't even amount to an appetizer for a hungry deer."

We started our current fence project with an internet search in which we found high-quality plastic deer fencing for about $1.40 per ft. We're attaching the fence to 16 pressure-treated 4x4s. The fence is 7-1/2-ft. tall, so we bought 10-ft. posts that I'm putting right in our sandy soil. I considered setting the gate and corner posts in concrete, but this seemed like overkill once I backfilled one with dirt as a trial. I was able to lay out and install 11 of them over a full day. My goal for this weekend is to set the 5 remaining posts in the ground and hang the fencing.

Although progress on the barn has been slow for the past three weeks due to the garden preparations and a nasty flu that affected the whole family, I've enjoyed the break. Like I've said, it's easy to let a large home project become all-consuming, so it's nice to work on something else for a little while. But once the garden is underway, I'll be back to working on the barn.

You can read more about my barn here.

 


posted in: Blogs, patrick's barn

Comments (5)

patrick_mccombe patrick_mccombe writes: Hey Axemann, Sorry for the slow response. I did put foam between the girts with a second layer on the interior. I did'nt put the second layer on the exterior, because I didn't sheath the building. I used the verticle pine siding for racking resistance which wouldn't have worked with a layer of foam between the siding and the building. I could have put foam on the roof instead of the rafter bays, but I would have needed super wide fascia and a second layer of sheathing for the shingles. This project has a rock-bottom budget and my labor is free. Thanks for the question.
Posted: 7:29 am on May 23rd

axemann axemann writes: Hey, I like your barn, Patrick. I'm installing some foam panels on my house that came from a defunct pop-up camper factory's leftovers. I can't help but wondering why you didn't install your panels on the exterior of your barn? You would have kept the itching more to a minimum... Keep up the good work!!
Posted: 11:00 pm on May 11th

patrick_mccombe patrick_mccombe writes: Thanks for the comments Pestoman. While browsing the Deerbusters website, I saw the electric fence and acesssories. Believe me, if our lot didn't border the grade school bus stop and we didn't have a 6 year old boy running around, I defintely consider electric fence. But given the circumstances, going electric didn't seem like a good idea.

The fence maker claims the product we bought will last 10 years or more. As far as attractiveness, it's not the best, but I think it will look a whole lot better once there's a bounty of veggies on the inside.

As far as cost, I think we're going to have a total of $600 invested between the fence ($280), 4x4 posts ($220), and hardware (???).

Your point is a good one though. Thanks for bringing it up.
Posted: 2:39 pm on March 26th

oldcarpenter oldcarpenter writes:
Posted: 1:45 pm on March 26th

pestoman pestoman writes: I'm in CT too, with a beautiful timberframe barn and a large raised-beds garden. You must have spent over $300 for that fence; it won't be particularly attractive and will need to be replaced in a few years. For a fraction of that cost, I got an electric controller, insulators and wire to string around mine. I haven't had a deer problem in the three years it's been in use - and it's almost invisible! I have to put masking tape tabs on the wire so people will see it. Of course I've hit it a few times and it's a shocker - but not like a stun gun. It's like the shock you get with static electricity.
Posted: 5:21 am on March 26th

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