Monday, March 26

Salvaging Barn Wood

Our Mud Room Is Born:
We sold our subdivision home in the city in June 2011 and purchased our small farm in August, 2011.
But even before we closed the deal, my husband Bill was on the look out,  collecting things for our little farm.

One day, while driving by our not-yet-house just to look at it again, (we did that often) Bill happened upon a yard sale. 
What's really strange about that is, he usually doesn't stop at yard sales.  Me?  I will wear the brakes out, screeching to a halt for a yard sale!
That day he found and purchased a load of old barn wood.  Enough to fill the bed of our pickup truck.
We didn't know what we would use it for at the new house, but he said he just could not pass up all that weathered wood for only $25.00 .
After purchasing our little farm, Bill decided to use the barn wood on one wall in our lower level family room (The Man Cave).

It turned out beautiful, but we had quite a bit left over.
Then I had an idea.
I usually get lots of ideas!
If we were going to have chickens, possibly beef cattle and other random farm animals, plus a huge garden, we needed a mud room to track all that barn and garden dirt into. 
We were able to finish 2 walls in the mud room with weathered barn wood, but then ran out of wood, ugh. 

The barn we salvaged old wood from

I have been searching ads and postings on Craigslist and other websites for old barns or barn wood that we could use to finish the mud room walls, with no luck.
Finally, one morning on our way to breakfast in a little town about 5 minutes from us, we passed a big beautiful farm house, which looked completely remodeled, but had two very old and unkempt barns in the back field.
We decided to stop and ask if we could salvage some of the barn wood.
They said YES!

Mortise and Tenon style building

We started the following day removing the wood planks from the barns. This was slow, hard work! 
Most of the barn was built in the post and beam style, timber frame.  This method comes from making things out of logs and tree trunks without modern high tech saws to cut lumber.

Old barn nails
 The  joints  are the Mortise & Tenon joinery connection style.   The "male" projecting end is called tenon and a "female" opened slot is called Mortise. The mortise & tenon joint provides a very strong connection and has been used for thousands of years all around the world.
We worked most of the first day removing the planks we wanted, and spent an equal amount of time removing all the large nails.

It was a cold day in February, with occasional sleet and wind, but the hard work kept us warm. 
Many of the larger nails I kept to hang things with in my gardening shed and barn.

I learned an old nail straightening trick from my father, Art Seymour years ago.  Lay the nail on a flat rock or concrete, slowly turn the nail, while lightly tapping the bent part of the nail stem straight.  No use wasting perfectly good nails.

By the end of the day we had our trailer pretty well full of good wood planks, some weathered grey, many with hints of old red paint.

Salvage planks of wood on our trailer

Bill and I had help, or I'm not sure we could have gotten the trailer full.  The planks were HEAVY.
Our daughter Alexis and my nephew Adam helped us all day.  Even though it was hard work we enjoyed the challenge. 

Alexis helped remove old wooden gates and barn doors I pointed out, while Bill and Adam removed the wood planks. 
I was mostly on the "carry everything to the trailer and remove all the nails" duty.

My husband Bill and Daughter Alexis

Working that day, helped me image the building of that barn, and the hard work that went into it.  The farmer told us the barn was built sometime in the late 1800's, maybe even earlier.  He was not sure. 

I can not even fathom the skill and hard work it must have taken to build such a huge, strong barn.
It is a sad thing for me to see an old barn that must be torn down, but it's great the wood is being put back to work. 
Re-purposed is the trendy word for what we are doing. 
Salvaged is what it is.

The amazing thing?  When I started building with this old barn wood, using drywall screws instead of nails and a cordless screwdriver instead of a hammer, I had trouble getting the screws to go into the wood.  All the wood is oak, which is a very hard wood, and the planks are all a good 1 inch thick!

I began by finishing the mudroom walls, then built a large shelf . 
If you are at my house for a visit and a tornado hits, run for these shelves!  
I am currently using them to store a few of my books, but will eventually use them to store canning jars. 

This door I later used as my chicken coop do, as is

One of the barn doors we salvaged led to a small room inside the barn, for bags of grain storage, I believe.  I will be using it for the door to my chicken coop, which is in the building process now!


Other Posts

Moving A Shed

Building A Greenhouse

Building A Wine Rack


Kim said...

HI again, Elizabeth! So nice to see a new post from you, for I absolutely love your blog. Your mud room looks amazing and what a great idea! My husband I also have a mud room. We also live on a small farm, we do not have chickens YET but we have dirt and dogs. lol The room has saved our carpets on many occasions. Have a wonderful day!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks so much for the kind comments.
I have been so busy trying to make a vegetable garden, had dirt delivered, then hand leveled with a shovel! and tilled with my father's old tractor. Weather is great right now so busy as a bee.
So glad to hear from someone with a small farm too!
Maybe send some pointers my way?
Would love to see pics of your mudroom. The hooks in mine are always full of coats and jackets and usually shoes are everywhere, but how it saves the rest of the house.

Anonymous said...

Your posts are knowledge and informitive and give me ideas I never even thought of. I'm now looking for an old barn! I'll keep visiting this blog page and "steal" an idea or two if you don't mind! Marcy

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

I started writing the posts as a sortof on-line journal to keep the projects fresh in my mind as to what I did and how I did it. But also to help anyone else who might like the ideas or suggestions I write about. Glad you can use (steal) an idea or two and good luck finding an old barn. I'm ready to salvage more wood myself!

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent website. You gave great information and facts about how barns were built and love the idea of saving all that wood. I should know, I'm a woodworker! Thanks for a great idea!

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks for the comment! We have used nearly all the wood we salvaged from that beautiful old barn so will be on the look out for another!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I know you may think this is strange, but I found your blog while searching for wedding venues for my son. when I saw the pictures from your barn wood salvaging I felt I needed to write to you. I did a little more searching and found you on FB. Did you salvage the barn wood from a big farm house on West Jeff-Kiousville Rd? The picture certainly looks like the red barn from my uncle's house. My aunt and uncle and both of their kids and some of the grandkids live their if so. My husband and I were looking to do the same thing for just a little barn siding for a couple of ideas. I know that they had the barns torn down last year, but never really heard anything about it. My mom was in and out of the hospital and nursing home for most of the year and we never got around to going out. We just live the other side of West Jeff. My son just ask yesterday if there was any chance of getting married out at their house near the old barns and I had to tell him they were gone. If by any chance you know of a place that would be suitable for a barn type wedding anywhere in the area we are desperately searching for something for October 5 or 6. It doesnt have to be an official venue as long as they have room and would be willing to rent us use of the property for a day. Thanks for "listening" to me. I plan on going back and reading more of your blog. It just seemed strange that I came across it while searching for barns! Good Night, Nanci