Building a Barn with Green Lumber

by Jim Taylor
(New Hampshire)

I'm interested to find out if I can build a post and beam barn out of fresh cut timber harvested on sight. It would be used for a small family farm with horses, goats, chickens, pig.

Thank you,

Jim

Hi Jim,

Thank you for your question, the answer is it depends. We use green lumber in our barn kits, but we choose a specific species (White Pine) that seasons very well, it doesn't bend, warp, or twist as much as others and it shrinks very little, and any cracks from drying are very small.

Other species such as hardwoods like oak, maple, hickory, elm, etc. all have different properties but all of them can be used "green."

The important thing with any of these species is to handle them correctly so that they dry slowly. All of the bad things that happen to wood happen because moisture is removed too quickly.

It is a bad idea to kiln dry your timbers for timber framing. Kiln drying is too quick for large timbers. They will loose strength and may crack, bend, or warp.

Of course the best thing to do is to air dry your timbers over time, but it can take as much as 6 months per inch of thickness to completely season your timbers. Who has time for that?

Of course if your barn is already built then your timbers can dry in place, that is the way that they did it 100 years ago. The barn builders and farmers of old would do all of their cutting in the winter, not only because everything was frozen and easier to get to but also because the trees were dormant. It was the time of year when there was the least amount of sap in the tree. If you start out with a dryer tree than you will have less trouble dealing with moisture when you build.

Once you have cut your trees down in the winter, you can either start sawing them into square timbers or store them by stacking them off the ground. If you are using hardwood you will want to paint the fresh cut ends to prevent them from drying too fast. If they dry to fast the ends may crack and you could end up with a foot or more of waste on either end.

Anytime you need to store your lumber for more than a week or so, you will want to stack it with one inch by one inch sticks called "stickers" between each layer of lumber. Place the stickers 3' apart starting at one end of the layer ending at the other end.

You can find more information in my book.

http://www.barngeek.com/how-to-build-a-barn-book.html

Another great book, an one I highly recommend is called A Timber Framers Workshop. It can be found on Amazon.


Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Barn Geek.


 ***Please note: Our full barn kits are only available within a limited shipping area.  We are sorry if you are out of that shipping area, we are working on solutions for you that would include, hardware packages, templates for cutting your own timbers, lists of local timber suppliers, lists of local contractors, etc.  Sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date on the progress of these resources.  



How to build the 20x30 sugar Shack for under $12k!  


Recent Articles

  1. 64’ x 45’ late 1800's Barn for Sale, Bethlehem, PA

    Jul 21, 17 12:53 PM

    64’ x 45’ 5 bay, 2 1/2 story barn for sale with a 23’ x 26’ one level garage addition for sale. The barn is in good condition and is currently weather

    Read More

  2. 1850 30x50 Conversion Barn Frame-Bloomville

    Jul 19, 17 02:38 PM

    Ohio Valley Barn Salvage has for sale nice late 1850's barn conversion frame. Original frame measures 30'x50' with a newer 20' addition that is not included

    Read More

  3. Building a barn with red pine

    Jul 18, 17 08:43 AM

    Hello, I have bought your barn plans and am planning on building soon. I have seen your packages use white pine, I am interested in using red pine. I have

    Read More

  4. 100+ year old 46'x60' Gambrel Barn - Grand Blanc, MI

    Jul 17, 17 05:26 PM

    Over 100 year old 46'x60' Gambrel Barn, needs to be torn down. All materials given to reputable, insured professional barn removers in exchange for tear

    Read More

  5. 40x50 Cow Barn - Mt. Vernon, TX (Northeast Texas)

    Jul 12, 17 08:48 AM

    Old Cow Barn, 40x50, most wood is rough cut with largest being 2x6 floor joist for hay loft. Floor of hay loft is 1x12. Locals tell me the barn was built

    Read More

  6. Colvin Quarter Circle A ranch, State Road 62 outside of Parrish, FL

    Jun 19, 17 02:06 PM

    From the 10th chapter of Growing Up Floridian, https://www.amazon.com/Growing-Floridian-Michael-Arthur-Taylor/dp/1530099935/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

    Read More

  7. Barn Frame Conversion Project by *Ohio Valley Barn Salvage* Mt. Gilead, Ohio

    Jun 19, 17 02:00 PM

    This 1850's 30'x50' all handhewn frame was saved by the crew at Ohio Valley Barn Salvage and has been reset on its new foundation. The barn conversion

    Read More

  8. Early 1860's Barn Frame - Chesterville, Ohio

    Jun 13, 17 09:37 AM

    This frame measures 26' x 50' long, all hand hewn. It also has an original 18' x48' L shaped addition that is all hand hewn. This barn has 2 set of double

    Read More

  9. 30'x50' Barn Frame -Bloomville, Ohio

    Jun 13, 17 09:33 AM

    All handhewn, dated late 1850's. Bent layout is 18'-16'-16'. Very nice hewn 9x9 uprights with large mid rafter plate bracing. Exceptionally clean barn.

    Read More

  10. 2 Grey weathered barns (140x32 horse barn &100x42/30) - Franklin, MA

    Jun 10, 17 10:40 PM

    Hello, We have two barns which are located right where we want to build us a house. It's very sad for us, because they are big nice barns, no roof leakage,

    Read More

  11. 40x60 Gambrel Barn Plans

    Jun 02, 17 09:43 AM

    Download these 40x60 Gambrel Barn Plans today, and get started on your dream barn.

    Read More

  12. Large windows in the upper story ends of the barn

    Jun 01, 17 02:12 PM

    Hello Aaron, Love your barns! I have bought your Barn Plan Package and am trying to decide which is the best for my retirement home. I haven't seen these

    Read More

  13. 1880's Gambrel Barn 24x30 Knoxville TN

    May 31, 17 03:40 PM

    1880's Gambrel Barn 24x30 for sale in Knoxville, Tennessee Barn wood is in good condition with the exception of one exterior side. The exterior side

    Read More

  14. 1880's 2 story 26ft x 32 ft barn - Houlton, Maine

    May 30, 17 10:35 AM

    Barn built in 1880 2 story Great hand hewn beams, pegged and some rough cut. Large plank flooring pieces Tons of great antique barn wood or could be reassembled.

    Read More

  15. 30x80 1800's BARN - ST. MARYS, OHIO

    May 22, 17 01:24 PM

    Late 1800's barn made of white oak beams cut from the woods that is on the property. Two story split. Beautiful hand hewn beams. Buyer must tear down and

    Read More