When we first got our property, it was bare; definitely in need of a great deal of help. One of the first things that it needed, being a farmstead, was a barn! So, we had to get going on a barn raising pretty quickly. Once we determined the proper placement for the barn, we began designing it.
Step 1 – The Design
We had a very good idea of what our needs were, which made it easier to design. We needed a large central area for our workshop plus storage and then we needed housing structures placed separately for our barnyard animals. We went with a very open design for the workshop and placed the animal pens on the outer edges at all four corners. This design works very well for us and also makes it a very simple structure to put together. Design in place, time to get the family together for a family barn raising!
Step 2 – Set the Posts
Our first step of construction was to lay out the perimeter and dig the holes for the posts. Our ground is very hard clay, which made the auger rental the absolute best choice! As I am a very, let’s say…frugal shopper, I am always looking for the best deal.
We found used utility poles (For Free!) that we used for our structural posts. They are very strong and they worked out great for us. I suggest looking for these, but be aware that they are very heavy. You will need a strong truck and trailer to move them and a couple strong backs to wrestle them!
Step 3 – Framing
Once the posts were put in place, staked off and cemented into the ground, it was then time to begin framing. Putting up the rafters and the rest of the framework that would hold up the roof wasn’t hard but a few things had to be taken into account. Our design is very open throughout the center and instead of going to the expense of manufactured trusses, we simply created our own rafters by splicing and supporting 2 by lumber.
Once the basic framework was up, we attached the roofing. We used corrugated tin roofing and it went up fairly quickly, even with just the two of us. We had previously salvaged a bunch of tin as well as some windows, all of which we used on the exterior walls of the barn.
When all of this framework was in place, we began placing all of the exterior (and free!) tin. We used a metal cutting blade on our circular saw to rip right through the tin. This makes it much easier than trying to use tin snips! (which I’ve done, and I really hate!)
The structure itself is held up by the framework that is attached to the posts. The rest of the framework is utilitarian; for framing in windows and doors, as well as having nailers for the exterior tin.
Family Barn Raising – Tradition
The family barn raising is an age old tradition that I believe people should bring back. It’s not just a great help, it’s a terrific way for the family to get involved in a project together!
We will be adding electricity to the barn (one step at a time!), but until then, we still have a good amount of light due to the windows and the ‘skylights’ that we put in the roof. We basically just spaced out a few pieces of clear panels in the midst of the normal roofing tin. It is working out great for our needs.
All of the animals seem to enjoy their new homes and the design is working very well for us too. I’m sure that we will be adding on in the future (because that’s what I tend to do…) and because of that, we designed the barn in a way that would lend itself easily to expansion. But, until then….It’s working well!
There are so many ways to go about building for your farmsteading needs, this is just one of them. I hope that our experiences will come in handy and add a little insight from one perspective if you are thinking about doing the same thing. As always, we welcome your insight or questions as well. We can certainly all learn from each other!
NEVER MISS A THING!!
Be sure to check out the other awesome content on Two Oaks Farm Talk as well as A Life on the Farm for the more personal side of the homestead life. And don’t forget to go subscribe to the Two Oaks Farmstead Youtube Channel for all kinds of terrific content!!!