A Celebratory Barn Raising


 

The Tuesday morning Issue Three pre-order launch was nuts. Mike and I stayed up late with last minute prep and double (and triple) checking all the store’s settings for the launch. We knew we had at least a few folks that would stay up late to order at midnight so we wanted to make sure there weren’t going to be any glitches.

I called Mike at 11:50 p.m. to check in and review our launch check list (update inventory, publish blog post, post on social media, etc.). We divvied up the list and waited until the clock struck 12:00 exactly. As we worked through our check list, we were watching for the first 25 orders to come in to take the free eBook. Before we even finished our tasks, Mike realized we whizzed right past order 25! Woah! All night long our dedicated readers signed up for subscriptions and pre-orders. You all amaze us. Thank you for being so supportive as we grow this little publication. The yearly subscriptions are a huge step for us and we are blown away to be here. There’s no way we could continue to do this without you surrounding us with your enthusiasm and patronage.

 

As a way of celebrating the launch, Mike came over Wednesday morning to help my father and I raise the barn I purchased last fall. The 18’ x 24’ frame was made by a local timber frame company as a seasonal display barn. It sat, unsheathed, on the side of highway 295 to advertise their work. As I understand it, these display frames are sold at the end of the season for a song. I bought it second hand from a friend who wasn’t able to put it up as he envisioned.

 

The three of us (under my eight-year-old’s supervision) began sorting the timbers and deciphering the labeling system. We assembled the first bent on the sills and rigged up a gin pole with a block and tackle system against the back of our greenhouse. With one man on each outside post and one pulling the rope, we raised the massive wall without any problems. It was heavy, to be sure, but totally manageable.

The plates, their braces, and the nailers that connect the bents made the next two walls a wee bit trickier. To make sure everything was lined up while raising the next bent, we assembled the parts into the standing frame and screwed supports at the exact height they needed. Once the bent was raised, it was a simple matter of guiding the three tenons (on each side) into place. It made things surprisingly straightforward.

Little Asher (2) driving pegs for us 

We lashed the gin pole to the middle tie beam to raise the last bent. Everything went swimmingly. In two days of work, the three of us raised the three bents. What a satisfying project to tackle together. This was the first time any of us were involved in raising a frame and it was so fun. The gin pole especially fascinated me. This sapling with block and tackle is an amazing device that makes huge lifts like this possible for such a small crew. Next week, Mike and I will try to come up with a way to install the rafters. I’m not yet sure how we’re going to pull it off but the success of the gin pole has us optimistic.

 

This whole project was a great warm-up exercise because next month Mike and I will be raising the frame for our new workshop. I’ve purchased a hand-hewn beech and chestnut frame (circa 1800) from Green Mountain Timber Frames in Middletown Springs, VT. Luke Larson and his crew will be bringing it up this September and raising it on my property. I’m relieved to not be the one overseeing the process. This crew has a lot of experience with these old frames and I am looking forward to soaking up their wisdom as Mike and I help out.

 

The new M&T shop building

I went down to see the frame (and Luke) in person a few weeks ago and am so excited about it. This frame is absolutely gorgeous. We can’t wait to be standing in it. Our articles for M&T, our instructional videos, and all our workshops will take place in this historic building. We will make many memories here.

 

You will hear a lot more about the new shop frame in the coming months.