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#8125 - 01/22/02 08:43 AM moisture around post and beams

I have been given a barn that was once used as a blacksmith shop. It is 20'x36'. The beams are 8". Along the lenght of the barn at the top are two beams that are 36' long. On one side where a post and the beam join there is moisture and this white stuff that I'm assuming is mold. I am able to push a screwdriver about a half inch into the wood. My concern is how much damage there will be in the joint when I go to dismantle. The side walls on the barn are about 10' high. Any ideas on setting these two beams down without the use of a crane. I've read about people using a "gin pole" . Could anyone elaborate on that anymore. I already have the foundation poured and really want this barn. I'm trying to dismantle without to much help or cost. Maybe I'm going about it bass ackwards and I really do have a head made of wood! Thanks Woodenhead

#8126 - 01/23/02 08:14 AM Re: moisture around post and beams
Rudy R Christian Offline

Registered: 02/22/99
Posts: 116
Loc: Center of the Universe
I think it's appropriate to point out that a wooden head is no substitute for a good hard hat. Considering the way you ar going about this, having both would be to your advantage.

As far as the condition of the "joint" in the area where the moisture is, "white stuff" is usually a good indicator that fungus has made itself at home in a timber. How much damage is done remains to be seen. I have more than once witnessed timbers that where as hollow as air ducts due to combined insect and fungus damage. I have also seen timbers that showed fungal bloom but were quite repairable. A lot depends on species and how long the correct conditions have existed.

Your second question actually relates directly to the first. If indeed the frame has been compromised by fungus, it's very possible the plate could remove itself without warning during the disassembly process. Good temporary bracing is critical. Yes a gin pole can work well for for dropping the plates, but with no experience in frame razing and gin pole usage, I would think the cost of crane rental would be inexpensive compared to several weeks off work waiting for that broken leg or arm to heal.

Work slow, safe and smart. You and your friends will benefit.

Good luck Woodenhead.

Keep us posted (yuk, yuk).


#8127 - 01/23/02 08:47 AM Re: moisture around post and beams

One of the best ways to disassemble a timber frame is to do it in the reverse order that it was assembled. After you remove all the boards from roof and walls, then remove any purlins and then rafters. After the rafters with proper bracing as mentioned remove the plates (these 36' long beams).

You'll have to make a peg pusher to push the pegs out and release all the joints as you go.

Sometimes long timbers like this require the use of two gin poles at the same time, and lots of hands to help.
You'll have to raise it carefully and evenly and then lower it the same way. Once lowered you can carefully inspect it and determine the amount of damage done.
If these timbers are plates then they can be repaired with scarf joints.
Good luck,

#8128 - 01/23/02 09:10 PM Re: moisture around post and beams

Hello All:
Just a few remarks, I could not agree strongly enough with the suggestions of the other contributors:
-the use of hard hats and other safety equipment,
-make sure eveyone knows how and what is taking place by getting everyone together and having a few minutes of instruction, this could be very important if an accident should happen-it can be pointed out that safety instruction took place prior to the accident.
-by all means use a crane to disassemble the frame over using a gin pole which is tricky at the best of times, and probably no cheaper in the end
-In my experience dissasembling historic frameworks we also disassembled the roof down to the purlins, and then methodically pushed out the wooden pins one by one and inserting smaller steel pins to temporarily hold things together, that way the disassembly was quickly done when the expensive crane was on site,
We lifted the cross bents out intact and laid them down for disassembly in a horizontal position on the ground.
Don't forget to document each piece for reassembly!!
The Northern Hewer

#8129 - 01/23/02 11:30 PM Re: moisture around post and beams

Thanks for the advice.


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