Joe and Heather’s Horse Barn
About six years ago Joe approached me and asked if I was able and willing to build a horse barn on the new property he and his wife had just purchased. They were specifically looking for a Post-and-Beam barn and it needed to be tall -12 feet up before any cross beams – because their horses are Belgians. Think of the famous Clydesdales and you will know the size of Belgians.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to build an authentic Post-and-Beam structure for someone other than myself. I studied various structures, joints and components with the benefits and draw backs of each design. After working out a reasonable design incorporating 6 – 12′ x 12′ horse stalls, a wash and grooming area, tack room (and future apartment possibility over the tack room), and equipment garage, the length was 120′ and the width was 36′. The Longleaf Pine beams were 8″ x 8″ and 7″ x 10″ and as long as 27′. We had installed an “I” beam in my studio with 6′ hanging outside the doors so that we could easily lift the 300 lb. beams off the skid steer with the chain fall and trolley hanging from that beam. We would roll them in, cut to length, mortise and tenon as necessary and roll them back out. It really worked out quite smoothly.
Once we had established the measurements, angles and location of mortises, we tried a test fit just out side the shop. Mind, this is a 1200 lb. “test” fit. We wrestled these beams with levers, bars and Commanders.
It was then a great deal of repetitive work. There was some head scratching to be sure, but with patterns and lists we kept making component parts and assembling as we went along. The owner, Joe, had purchased a new skid steer and invited us to use it as we needed. Here it is raising the first section.
You see the height of the 12′ cross beam. It was a puzzle on grand scale. All the different pieces fitting together, trued up and then “pinned”. They may look like pegs, but they are pins.
Once the base was in place and the Queen Posts were located we hired a crane to lift the rafter assemblies and place them in their proper locations over the tack room and horse stalls.
The equipment garage at the opposite end from the horse stalls was 36′ across and 48′ long. We decided to span from wall to wall rather than having a post in the center to support the rafters as we had with the horse and tack room end. This meant creating 36′ long rafters out of 8 x 8s and 7 x 10s.
After testing them a foot off the floor and supported on just the outer edges, we called the crane again and hoisted them into place. They weighed about 1800 lbs. each.
Once the rafters were in place we could connect them together with the dovetailed purlins.
We then made cupolas and placed them before the roof was put in place.
From here the roofing professionals took over. It was a quite the learning experience and very gratifying to see it completed.