This Old Barn

Joined
Jan 27, 2008
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2,010
We have a barn and its falling down.

The barn was built, along with the farm house in 1847-48 with several subsequent additions to both over the next 30 years. As you can see in the photos, there are 40ft long hand-hewn Hemlock timbers and 12" wide Hemlock floor boards that are in relatively fine condition.

My wife and I are getting to the point where we will be re-building both the farm house to live in and the accommodate our business. Our hope is to rescue the usable timbers and incorporate( with original mortise, and tenons and pegs) them into the design of the new post and beam house. The new barn will provide a community kitchen and bunkhouse style accommodations for 12 to 15 on the top floor, and workshop space on the ground floor If there is enough, timber we'd like to use some in this design as well.

So......
Has anyone done dismantled a barn like this, or hired a company to do the job.

How'd it go?


Farmhouse and barn and 78 acres on the shore of the Northumberland straight outside of Pictou, Nova Scotia.
caperdashi042.jpg


From the front, west end:
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From the front: east end:
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The east end roof:
caperdashi015.jpg


The north corner is being pulled apart due to rot compression and shifting of the field stone foundation.
caperdashi016-1.jpg


Detail of the joinery and builder's markings:
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Hemlock floor boards:
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North corner showing the where its pulling apart and collapsing:
caperdashi035.jpg


East face:
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Dubious support under the east end:
caperdashi011.jpg
 
Very cool barn. Best of luck on the project.

Recycled wood can be a hot commodity in some places. IIRC, some places place a premium on aged wood like that that has the original hewn marks in it. I don't know what it is worth but you might want to see what some places would pay to recycle that wood for you. I think they even tear it down for you and haul it away (saving you some labor and/or $). You could then use the $ to rebuild. Recycling the wood could be more profitable then using the wood yourself (if $ is a big issue).

Hopefully others will chime in. I'm a big fan of using recycled wood and I might be totally off base with the above comments, but I thought I would mention it. I guess I watch This Old House too much. If the Nova Scotia economy and housing market is anything like the US, it might not be feasible. I apologize in advance for my lack on knowledge.
 
A bit of an update:

Yesterday I arranged for a meeting and site visit with a Timberart Woodworks (http://www.timberhart.com/). They'll come out this weekend to evaluate the job and begin to explore the options available to us.

This company did a rather large house just a few k's from our farm and its STUNNING. See here: http://www.timberhart.com/gallery/2009/2009-yarmouth.html

We may be looking at a project that is above our pay grade, but at least we'll have a starting point.
 
Nice old barn. I am dealing with a similar, but much less happy problem than yours. I have a big old barn that was part of a chicken farm that is falling down. Unfortunately, unlike yours, mine was all nailed together 2X4s for support beams and cheap pine. I had a guy look at it for recycling and he basically laughed at me.

Good luck, I have heard that there is a great market for this kind of stuff and you may get some money out of it.
 
Shann - We're not really interested in selling the salvaged wood. We would much rather salvage and then re-build with the timbers. The company I found will dismantle, inventory, refurbish, and finally build with the salvaged wood.

Its expensive..... very..... but, this is what we have our heart set on and we'd like to see if there's any way we can manage it financially.
 
Shann - We're not really interested in selling the salvaged wood. We would much rather salvage and then re-build with the timbers. The company I found will dismantle, inventory, refurbish, and finally build with the salvaged wood.

Its expensive..... very..... but, this is what we have our heart set on and we'd like to see if there's any way we can manage it financially.

That's a great idea. If our barn was salvageable I might do the same thing.

If you don't need a barn that big, by "downsizing" the barn you'd save some money and maybe be able to sell off some of the wood. We are currently rehabbing a much smaller barn on our property that will serve as a storage shed and a "utility" room and since it is much smaller than our full size barn (its about the size of a two car garage but with a barn style roof) the price is doable.

Good luck and post pics of the process.
 
I'd compare the complete-tear-down-and-rebuild idea and consider just some "re-structural" work.... First, I'd clear away all of those trees and all of that undergrowth around the structure (promotes rot and foundation problems) and then do the necessary work to provide what ever support is needed to keep the 'ol girl alive and relatively "original"!

I love old barns and always hope that the folks who own them will consider the "repair" method rather than the "replace" method... But that's just sentimental ol' me.:eek::)

Either way, good luck!
 
I like Timcsaw's post. An original standing barn like that is priceless and could never be replaced.

And using barn wood in a historic home would render the house un-authentic as well. Sad that so many historic properties are "remuddled," stripped of their original architectural style and character.

------------------------

Definition of "Remuddled": variation of the word "remodeled." Ruining a historic property by remodeling inappropriately.
 
Thanks for the input folks.
Bob W - I'm not clear on why salvaged old timbers would render a new house "un-authentic". Hand-hewn timbers and hand-hewn timbers whether used in a barn, house, silo, or boat dock.

The reality is that the barn is falling down and has become not only a fire hazard, but also an attractive nuisance(read "liability"), and now has to be dealt with. There is no viable option to just do some structural patchwork for what we intend. It needs to be re-built.

If we can incorporate some of the timbers from that barn (that would otherwise be destined for the fire pit, into the new house.... we think that's a win-win for sentiment, design, and bank account(?). Ultimately, the new house and barn would look almost identical to the original structures.
 
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