Fall Building Update

We’ve been hard at work this fall building a mini barn/studio before the snow flies. 

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The project has evolved and been constructed nearly entirely from wood we are harvesting from a pine plantation planted 50 years ago. The pines are now tall and spindly, some are diseased and dying, and it is time for them to go. What better thing to do than harvest them for building? Simultaneously we’ll open up an area for pasture and a future blueberry field. 

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Mo’s father, Leif, purchased a bandsaw mill and we began work mid-August felling and milling the red and white pine and fir trees. The mill is slow and a bit tedious, but we’ve managed with many hours to customize each and every timber for the project. We’re building a modified timber frame, with some joinery and some metal fasteners.

The external inputs are some commercial glass and foam insulation from Craigslist, fasteners and some spray foam, metal for the roof and recycled flooring also off of Craigslist. A super low-budget but labor-intensive effort. 

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In August we had friends and family out to raise the posts and beams. To lift them, we erected a crane made from a tall red pine pole. We rigged a pulley system and guy lines to this pole so it could move and also lift the posts and beams into place. In one exhilirating day we had the 6 posts and 3 beams raised and set with mortise and tenon joints.

Since then we’ve been detailing the framing and sheathing the structure in pine boards. We are experimenting a lot with this design because all of our wood is green. We’ll have lots of shrinkage of wood in the next year, and will need to adapt to that as it happens and decide if it’s a good way for us to build in the future. For now it’s been a good project yielding some beautiful results. We love how tucked away we are in the valley, nestled in the forest and out of the wind, still with a good view of our animals at pasture. 🙂

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