Timber Frame Barn Remodel #1: Barn Workshop The Beginnings

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Blog entry by PoohBaah posted 09-05-2017 04:27 PM 1921 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Timber Frame Barn Remodel series Part 2: Trash Removal Begins »

Three years ago my wife and I were gifted an acre of land to build a home upon. Included in this acre was this barn. It is a good sized barn at 40’ x 50’ with a hay loft upstairs that is massive and it already has a concrete floor on most of it.

Now it has been a hot topic with in the family of what we should do with this barn. My wife’s grandmother hates it for one reason or another and feels it needs torn down. I on the other hand see all the potential within and just could not bring myself to tear something that I am estimating was build before the 1950’s. What I would like to do with it is remodel it to the point where I am able to park 2 vehicles in it, have room for other items like utv, lawn mower, ect, and also have a nice sized wood working shop.

Inside it is beautiful rough sawn oak timber that is all mortise and tenoned. The support beams all measure over 8”x 8” and it is just a magnificent old barn, but it does has its issues.

First you see that is is full of decades of junk from previous owners but that is easy to overcome.

The backside, East side, has some siding issues and there are a few main supports that need to be addressed since they have some significant water damage to them.

Another main issue with this barn is that floor joists for the second floor are at 7’. Which is not very user friendly for anything.

So here is my train of thought on all of this, I am going to :

1. Clean the old girl out to see what we are really working with.
2. Put steel on the roof and replace siding since I am deeming it the most in need aspect of this project.
3. Replace water damaged supports and beams hopefully with lumber similar to what I am removing.
4. Remove the floor and joists from the front half of the barn to accommodate garage doors in the front portion to allow parking in winter for the wife and I.
5. Turn Southern half of barn into my workshop, which I am in need of space.

That’s a short list right. Should be no problem at all.

I plan to blog about this entire process from start to finish so this blog series might be a year or two long. Which is what my time line for finishing it all up it.

I would love some feedback on what you all think, advise, pros, cons, I’m an idiot, really anything is acceptable.

-- Neil, Indiana - Instagram: neilsalomon

8 comments so far

View HokieKen's profile


14065 posts in 1914 days

#1 posted 09-05-2017 04:46 PM

This is exciting Pooh. It’ll be a long process I’m sure but well worth the effort when you get it done. I agree, I’d hate to tear a barn down if I could use it for the most part.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View PoohBaah's profile


522 posts in 2316 days

#2 posted 09-05-2017 04:56 PM

Kenny, you ever make it up to Indiana feel free to come by. I’ll find something for you to help with here. Maybe even a board or two to send back. There is going to be a decent amount of lumber that is going to be removed from the barn that will have new uses. The mantel project I posted came out of this barn. I also have plans to build some Greene and Greene inspired side tables for my living room out of some of this old growth oak. The 2nd story flooring is all 4/4 and in widths from 4” up to 12”.

-- Neil, Indiana - Instagram: neilsalomon

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5410 posts in 1357 days

#3 posted 09-05-2017 11:51 PM

Glad you decided to keep & rehab it, Pooh! Big job, but it’ll be worth it.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16708 posts in 3394 days

#4 posted 09-13-2017 12:22 PM

I’m guessing your wife’s g-ma may hate it less once the inside is cleaned out completely. Tough to see past the clutter and the debris for some. Either way, kudos on the huge undertaking! From what you’ve shown, it certainly looks do-able and should make a great space. And saving old barns is a good thing.

Thanks for the blog, I’ll be following along!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View HokieKen's profile


14065 posts in 1914 days

#5 posted 09-13-2017 12:31 PM

Pooh, I’ll definitely be looking you up if I ever hit Indiana. I mean, there’s nothing else there right? ;-P

FWIW, I LOVE white oak. It’s not the friendliest wood and it’s not the prettiest but it’s a good, solid wood that you can use for most anything indoors or out. I wouldn’t put any of that on the burn pile. You’ll be sorry you did if you ever run out!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View doubleG469's profile


942 posts in 1220 days

#6 posted 09-13-2017 12:39 PM

Pooh I think it’s a great idea to rehab the barn. I think with the right ideas it will add to your overall property value. I know in Texas I would keep that thing up, restore and build a barndominium out of it. Then put my mother in law in it. HAHA

-- I refuse to edit the photo orientation for this website any longer. It’s an issue they should address and correct. Gary, Texas

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9561 posts in 3104 days

#7 posted 07-10-2018 05:25 PM

Glad you’re not tearing the barn down…. that would be a shame as it’s very much salvageable and you’ll really like all that space for whatever.

On a more technical note, I don’t see this as a pole barn, but rather a timber frame barn. The difference is what the vertical posts are resting on. With a Pole barn, the posts sit in holes dug into the ground, and unless treated, they are prone to rot. A timber frame barn will have the posts resting on some type of sill (probably timber) which will in turn rest on some type of foundation (typically stone on older barns).

What do the bottoms of your posts look like?

PS…. a lot of barns (most?) in IN and OH are framed with White Oak. As mentioned it’s very strong, but it’s also naturally rot resistant, so for all the water damage you’re seeing, it would be much, much worse if Red Oak had been used.

There’s a very well know timber framer in OH that does most all of his frames out of White Oak. Apparently it’s a very common species in the mid-west.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View PoohBaah's profile


522 posts in 2316 days

#8 posted 07-11-2018 06:47 PM

Good call Matt on the labeling of the barn. I guess I just take pole barn as an all encompassing title for a barn. Yet you are correct this is actually a timber frame and yes it is white oak. I imagine it would be long gone if it would have been anything other than white oak.

-- Neil, Indiana - Instagram: neilsalomon

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