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Windswept (too)'s Barn, Palmer, Alaska (updated April 2, 2017)  

December 3, 2016. Paul Lugin sent in this report on Windswept (too)'s barn (minor edits). One gets the feeling Paul knows what he is doing.....

Hi Ron,

I've numbered the captions and they relate to the pictures which are in order. This may have too much detail, feel free to edit if so.

Thanks, Paul

This is the story of the building of Windswept's new boat barn. To start off I'd like to explain that the driving force behind the
design of this barn was economy. Economy of materials and economy of labor. The design is very simple (boring for sure) but will cut costs of materials needed; function over form if you will. The labor is free,I guess, because I'm retired and don't have to take off time from work or pay anyone else, but I have so many things that need doing around here that I seldom get bored with inactivity.

Also, I started this project on Oct 7th, just as the weather was getting below freezing at night and winter was threatening, so getting it done quickly was a goal. The concept of secure dry storage for Windswept won me over, no more tarps leaking or blowing off, no more shoveling snow off the deck or busting up ice dams on deck and no more worrying about the weather when working on the boat when at home.

Minimalism was the call of the day and I decided that the length of the barn would be 28ft, width 14ft, and height 10ft. After getting the boat and trailer inside the barn I think that it's size is large enough to function quite well, but I wouldn't want it any smaller. Here are some pictures to show the process.

1. This is one of the corner posts.

There are 9 posts in all. If it was earlier in the season I would have poured concrete posts but the freezing temperatures would threaten the poured concrete so I used ground contact pressure treated timbers for the posts. A full concrete foundation and concrete floor was ruled out because of cost and, of course, the cold temperatures.

The posts need to be deep enough to be below frozen ground, in this case only about 28" deep because of good gravel beyond that depth. The posts are wrapped in plastic and backfilled with compacted gravel. There is a metal connector attaching the post to the wall. More will be added to each post. The walls are now about 6" above ground but when 4" of gravel is added to create a floor, the distance will be about 2".

2. In this picture most of the trusses are up.

The walls can be seen with the sheathing attached. I used 2x4 studs on 2ft centers. Total wall height is 10ft. from top of posts. This is minimal framing but framing for shelves and blocking on all sheathing seams will add to the wall's strength. The extra course of plywood on the inside of the wall will also add strength.

3. Building the trusses

I built the trusses myself in order to save about $600 compared to factory built trusses. I probably wouldn't do it again as it was way more work than I thought, and quite tedious after you've glued and nailed a few together. Next time I would frame with rafters and ceiling joists instead of trusses. Note the red compressed air framing gun on the table. There were over 4,000 nails (yes, 4,000) shot into these trusses, along with 8 large tubes of construction adhesive. Hand nailing would be torture.

4. This shows the box beam I built integral to the walls.

It functions as a header which allows the walls to not sag between the 9 foundation posts. This beam is sheathed on both sides of the wall with 1/2" plywood which is very seriously nailed to the framing members. This design is somewhat different from some engineered box beams I've built in the past. I'm confident it will work. If not, it can be strengthened fairly simply, but will cost some more $.

5. This shot shows the 2ft high horizontal run of plywood at the base of the wall's exterior.

This again is the box beam which supports the walls between the posts. Also it shows temporary skirt boards which cover the opening between the bottom of the wall and the ground. I had to put these plywood strips in to prevent the wind from blowing in and sending dirt flying off the floor which will not get gravel until the gravel companies open in the spring. Once I get gravel in, I can install permanent skirt boards.

6. This picture shows the shelves which are supported by 2"x2" lumber nailed to the walls and 2"x2" legs hung down from the trusses.

Again, this framing and the plywood shelves add stability to the wall. Below the shelf is hung the mast crane which I use to raise and lower the mast. Shown also are some of the 2x4's that are nailed across the top of the trusses to support the metal roofing. Also, horizontal 2x4 blocking between studs to allow complete nailing of all edges of the sheathing (plywood and osb, oriented strand board.

7. Boat finally in the barn.

The mast is still on the boat in this picture - it was later hung under the overhang on the outside wall. Now I don't hit my head on it every time I walk out of the companionway.

Also, skirt boards not on in this picture. Still to come (hopefully)- doors, a few small windows and maybe someday, siding. Walls will get painted for now.

So far I have spent about $3,200. By the time the doors are made it will be somewhere around $3,500.

Postscript: I forgot to mention costs for clearing the building site. I rented a bulldozer to clear the building site of stumps and wild grass and brush. The site is next to our field which is cleared but I preferred to build into the woods so the building would be partially hidden. It is about 150 ft from the house and garage/shop and next to our woodshed and one of our greenhouses so is in the rustic/ functional area of the property.

I am choosing not to count the bulldozer rental/delivery fee of about $675.00 toward the barn itself. The actual clearing of the site took very little time, maybe a half hour. The majority of dozer time (about 3 hours) was used to remove 2 very large birch tree stumps next to the house and garage and a spruce tree stump, also to widen a short section of the driveway that was too narrow to plow snow effectively. Anyway, the point is that site preparation could add significantly to the cost, depending on the specific site

Stay Tuned
April 2, 2017. Here's the latest on Paul's barn project, only slightly delayed by a bit of snow (edited)

Hi Ron,

Where I live in Palmer, Alaska we did not get the record snowfall that Anchorage did this week. We received about 4 inches, being about 35 miles east of Anchorage. I did, however, have to plow our driveway, which did delay this barn door report.

After much thought I have decided to make the boat barn heat able. Along with this upgrade will come a concrete floor instead of the gravel floor I originally planned for. I hope to get the floor poured this spring and the building insulated by fall. The new plan is to heat it with a wood stove when working on the boat and to let it go cold when I am not

This picture shows the upper door during construction in the garage. It will be raised with a line and pulley system.

Picture #2 (above) shows the upper door installed. The glass will be installed soon.

Picture #3 (above) shows the framing for the left and right doors. The doors were framed in the garage and then attached to the rough opening with clamps and screws. This way I could insure that when sheathed the doors would fit nicely. Also, the doors were much easier to move and hang without the sheathing on them. The reason the doors are framed differently is because the door on the right has a smaller door framed into it. This will make entering and exiting the barn much easier.

Picture #4 shows the doors sheathed. I have to purchase or make some latches for the lower doors.

Picture #5 shows the smaller door open. Much less work to open and close than the large door.

I'll update as more work is completed. Thanks, Paul

Stay Tuned

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