Sunday, August 14, 2011

Raising the Upper Building

Here's a post from Farmer John himself! This should explain that mystery picture that went with my pies. Read on to see how he raised a building with his own two hands!

Most of our outbuildings here on the farm were built with materials that could be taken right from the farm with little to no cost. Our buildings, as with many local farm sheds, are pole structures using rot-resistant locust poles and sided with rough-cut lumber. Eventually the locust poles begin to degrade and farm buildings begin to sink into the ground. All of our structures are at progressed stages of sinking and more resemble an abstract art installation than the nice square and utilitarian buildings originally constructed. It’s a mission of mine to level and salvage these buildings over the next few years.

I decided to start with the upper building. Pictured below are the house, building, and upper building. The upper building is above the building next to the house, hence upper building. I felt this would be a good place to start because I thought it would be the simplest to raise and if I really screwed up and the whole thing fell down it is our least valuable outbuilding.

The first step in raising the building was installing the temporary treated crossbeam, which would be used to lift the rotten locust poles. This beam was held into the poles using lag bolts. The next step was to jump right in and begin lifting the building. Raising the structure was accomplished using my favorite tool, the handy jack. This small wonder is able to lift seven tons with little to no effort. On a hillside farm where level is rarely found, the handy jack is always there to right the situation. Notice the starting location of the jack mechanism.

Twenty minutes later the building was near level. Notice the ending location of the board and jack mechanism. I estimated the poles were raised at least a couple of feet. The upper-building groaned, creaked, and complained a little on the way up, but overall a pretty smooth process.

I decided on using pressure treated 4x6 posts sunk in concrete as replacements for the rotten locust. The new posts were set next to the locust posts and then attatched using 18 inch steel all threads. Drilling through the locust was a challenge. While, the bottom two feet of the post is rotten, the top was hard as concrete.

Here I am with the finished project. The rotten part of the locust posts were sawed off and the temporary cross beam was removed. I was happy that this project could be completed without any major disaster and that this part of the building is fairly level. Now onto other buildings, two posts down, fifty to go.


  1. Way to go, Farmer John! All that effort and you can write about it, too! As I read your explanation, I could "hear" your voice.
    Congrats on being able to draw a line through another item on your summer list!

  2. This is what I like to see: some good engineering!

  3. Susi and Jim, Missing Migrant Workers in CharlestonAugust 16, 2011 at 4:24 AM

    These building are worthy of you Farmer John! Now, when you get to the barn on the hill, I hope you have special cameras to find you in all the dust from years of hay! These posts from you and your wonderwoman Mollie are prescious and cherished. Keep writing Farmer John!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...