August 12, 2013

Enos Kellogg Barn Restoration, Chapter II

Sorry for posting this two weeks after the fact - delayed by vacation . . .

As illustrated by the four inch layer of white oak chips in our driveway, restoration work on the Enos Kellogg Barn continues to roll along.
The wood chips are result of the hand-hewing of a new corner post for the barn.  No sissy lumber mills for this post - only old school, bad-ass chopping axe and broad axe work.  For the three major timbers that need replacement, our barn restorers are starting with actual logs of white oak (bark and all) and creating the timbers using the same tools and techniques that were used when the barn was first constructed in the 1780s.

Lyla Hewing a New White Oak Corner Post in Front of Chicken Audience

Work on the new corner post is complete, with the hewing finished, and all mortises and tenons cut.  One timber down, two more to go.
I have to say, it is truly fascinating to watch an experienced framer hew a timber.  Is it wrong that I sit in a comfy lawn chair and spectate while the framers are working their buts off with a broad axe?  At least I have the decency not to hold a cold beer while I'm sitting and watching.  That makes it ok, right?
Renard and Company Providing Entertainment
In addition to the corner post, the flooring system for the east bay of the barn is almost complete.  New footings have been poured, ground sills cut and installed, floor supports laid out, and most of the joists cut and installed.  Particularly satisfying was seeing the center post that had been swinging freely in the barn since we purchased the property in 2001 (and probably for many more decades before that) finally mortised into a solid piece of white oak.
New Sills and Floor Joists
I even tried my hand at metal detecting to see if  could find any artifacts before the floor goes in.  This experiment was hugely successful if you are a fan of 20th century nails, of which I found close to a hundred.  In terms of interesting finds, though, it was a complete bust.  I'm hopeful that I will have more luck in the west bay once the concrete pad in that area is removed.  That was the animal bay, and likely had no floor in the 18th century.  I'm hoping that someone had the decency to leave a coin or two in the dirt a couple of hundred years ago.
At this point, work on the east bay is as finished as it can be until we get the 30 foot white oak log that will be hewn into the horizontal tie beam that runs from corer to corner at the gable end of the barn.  That will be a monstrous amount of axe work.
Hopefully, we will get a load of wood delivered in the next couple of days, and the barn can creep a little closer to restoration.

Here are a few other sights around the barn:

A post jacked up awaiting installation of a new sill below.


An 18th century construction error.  Look closely at what looks like a thumbprint to the right of the nail.  This is the beginning of a spoon auger hole, apparently started a couple of inches too far to the left of where the diagonal brace was supposed to intersect the post.


1 comment:

  1. What an awesome project =) Did you metal detect the yard?


Post a Comment: