Big George, Where My Fish Pictures Are

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by Mark J, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Four Oaks, NC
    Big george is busting my chops about me not fishing so I'll tell you why.
    My grandfather I never got to meet that was killed when my mother was 8 years old had a 4 room tobacco barn built during WW2. It measures roughly on the inside 17x21. Since it was built during the great war it is referred to as a ration barn which simply means lumber was rationed so alternative methods were used for construction. In this case it is teracotta block tile.

    A couple of years ago an ice storm took the original shelters to the ground. Since then a nice L shaped shelter has been constructed and constructed like a tank. You wont find many shelters on a barn built this stout.

    Problems encountered. The grade has been the big problem. To get all the clearences I want I have had to take dirt out of the barn and out from under the shelters and move it and use it to correct grade issues else where.
    All of it has been done by one man and a shovel to date. All total we are looking at somewhere around 9 dumptruck loads of dirt moved in a bucket, wheel barrow, or one shovel full at the time.
    So, when I finally got acceptacle clearences for roll up doors it carried my grade below the barn footing. The one man band strikes again with about 80 bags of sakrete, rebar, some form boards, and a concrete mixer.

    Basicly I capped the footing in the barn carrying it higher and lower then the existing footing while attaching it to the existing footing by drilling, pegging , and tying rebar to the existing footing. Outside the barn I've done basicly the same thing but instead of form boards and alot of concrete, I poured a small footing, laid 2 inch solid block and backfilled with concrete. This was primarily for a finished look when I pour my floors insted of seeing a jagged footing along the walls.

    Inside the barn I'll start my framing on the 5-1/2" wide concrete footing I poured. My ceiling height will be 10,6". This will leave me with about 7 foot ceiling height on the exterior walls up stairs.
    Upstairs will be a living quarters comparable to a hotel room efficiency and be used by me at times or people like Big George that want to come down a few days to hunt and fish.
    Downstairs is going to be a tool room. Most of the work building boats or what not will take place under the shelters.

    The shelters. Once my floor is poured and finished slick as glass I'll lay a few courses of block and build walls to close in the shelters. I'm still designing in my head a cabana style wall where half of the wall can be raised or opened in some manner for spring and fall work when heat or air conditioning isn't necessary yet maintain security for my tools when closed.

    In the floor of the barn in one corner I formed up and poured a square manhole about 14 inches deep. Pvc pipes of varying diameter leave this manhole and go to various points. In these pipes I'll pull Pex water lines.
    The purpose is so if I have a water line problem I can pull it out and replace it and everything is graded back to the manhole so in the winter when we have those cold snaps I can turn a few valves and all the lines will drain into the manhole. The manhole itself drains via a 2 inch PVC pipe that runs out to the woods.

    This isn't a backyard barn. It's on the farm. Not many people know there is even one there. It will be the gathering place for fish fries, cookouts, tuning the car, building boats, beer tastings, and small get togethers to cook a pig.
    It will be a lodge for a few close friends that hunt and fish. That way I can sleep in my bed and not have to hear their snoring.

    At some point I'll expand off the other side with something like a 40x30 to build bigger boats or to tear a tractor down or have big fish fries and pig pickins.

    I've really enjoyed piddlin down there the past 3 years most of which has been spent contemplating what I wanted and how I wanted to do it but play time is over. I've worked most every weekend down there the last 6 months or so by myself forming and moving dirt. This week I spent all my freetime after work and today wrapping her in 6 mil plastic and building a 4 foot wide hinged door so I can continue working through the cold months out of the wind and rain and throw a little heat to her when needed.
    Now that its wrapped my next course of action is to start the inside framing and insulating by myself of course.

    Here is a few pictures that are about 18 months old. Tomorrow I'll take some more pictures and you'll be able to see visually the amount of dirt I've moved by hand.
    It's provided alot of therapy for my back and my mind. I work at a pace I can live with and my back can live with. I engineer "helping hands" to lift one end of a beam or move something heavy.
    So the sign over the door will read THERAPY.
    The other plaque will hang over the door to the barn itself rededicating the barn my grand dad who I never got to meet used for tobacco curing to a modern day shop and dedicating it to my dad who taught me how to use my own hands and mind to accomplish.
    It's recycling on a large scale.

    Keep in mind, these pictures are 18 months old.

    Attached Files:

  2. Ol Man

    Ol Man New Member

    Nice looking barn, Mark... I'm sure BG will let you slide.... this time...:lol:
    Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a
    Porsche than a Kia.

  3. Itch2Scratch

    Itch2Scratch New Member

    Ivy Bend on LOZ, Missouri
    Looks like your doing a great job Mark, thanks for sharing.:big_smile:
  4. 223reload

    223reload New Member

    Wow Mark thats real special hard to tell what the real age is looks like you just built her in a word [from an ex carpenter ]GEORGOUS

    BIG GEORGE New Member

    Real nice work there Mark. Ya still haven't convinced me that ya have to clean your rods. LOL!
  6. Cheryl

    Cheryl Well-Known Member


    What an accomplishment you will be very proud of, as I can read your pride in telling it. These things are good for the soul! Kudos to you and as a side note,
    I believe I would charge the going rate of a Hawaiian Hilton to the below BOC brother, should you consider him a close friend. :wink: :lol:

    I would suggest all these fine brothers and sisters come help you for an old fashioned barn raising, but I feel from reading your post, you want to accomplish this yourself. Should you change your mind, let me know and I'll run a barn raising campaign for you.

    Have you seen any good concerts lately of your favorite band?

    Take care and keep on keepin on.

  7. zappaf19

    zappaf19 New Member

    Alot of work but it will be worth it! Don't forget a day off from workiing is good for you.
  8. olefin

    olefin New Member

    That is really something and a fine job of telling us about it. I bet it will be perfect when you finish. I'll be checking for updated pictures.
  9. Hope

    Hope New Member

    Very, very nice, Mark... and what a meaningful project it is!

    Also, I've never seen a neater, cleaner construction site :big_smile:

    I hope you'll post more photos when you're able.
  10. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Four Oaks, NC
    The first picture is off the manhole I formed and poured in place with a 2" drain. The other pipes will route hot and cold water lines upstairs, under the shelter, and I'll have a hot and cold spigot outside for washing the car, tractor, and for the covered deer cleaning / fish cleaning station.

    The second picture is of the new footing I poured which I'll start my framing from. This was entirely necessary to build anything level. The footing is poured dead level. If you could see the entire wall you'll see the block was laid by eye and with the footing. Neither are level on any of the 4 walls.

    The 3rd picture is the remaining tier poles I haven't removed.
    Originally they were from about 5 feet off the floor all the way to the roof.
    the tier poles were made from rough cut undressed lumber and are still stout to this day. More then likely they were cut from poplar.
    Some barns had tier poles made from young spindly trees with a diameter of about 4". Everyone liked the log ones best if you were the hanger. Nobody had shoes back then and the hanger had to climb with a tobacco stick that had the green leaves sown onto it with a looper if you had money or hand tied before loopers came into existence.
    I mentioned before that this was a four room barn. It is only one actual room.
    The space inbetween the horizontal tier poles is considered a room.

    Attached Files:

  11. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Four Oaks, NC
    The first picture shows some grade. When I started the grade on this side of the barn was a 2 foot drop from the wall of the barn to the outside edge of the shelter. Now I have moved enough dirt and kept walking it outwards gradually until I can pour a concrete pad the length of the shelter and 25 feet out from the shelter! This will be the outside operations area. Welding , working on boat trailers and on nice days I can roll the cradle for whatever boat I'm building outside to do some sanding.

    The second picture is my 200 amp service. If I add on like I plan in the coming years I will increase this to a 400 amp service for shop equipment.
    Being an electrician I saved alot of money here. I built the service myself.
    If you look closely you might see the original electric service wire running up the side of the barn just under the eave of the roof. It was a 12 guage wire!
    I climbed on the roof and cut the power company's lines loose hot, swung them over to my new service mast and reconnected them so the power company wasn't involved or the county.

    The 3rd picture is of the north facing shelter. I realize I used clear plastic here and black on the east side. There is a reason. The clear will give me some natural light but I used black on the east facing side because a tract of timber was cut on that side leaving the woods thinner. To see the barn from the highway you would have to be going slow and looking for a barn. At night with 11- 8' flourescent light fixtures under the shelter running every car that went by would know something was down there and the thieves would come in droves because of its remoteness. If I can catch glimpses of their headlights they can catch glimpses of my shelter illumination.
    So keeping with the program of WW2 when the barn was built I'm running in blackout mode.
    In the summer months it wouldnt be necessary as the woods that are left are thick enough with foilage.

    Attached Files:

  12. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Four Oaks, NC
    This picture is taken from high ground. Actually there is a house and outbuildings about 75 yards behind me. It was where my mother grew up.
    You see the hay bales? That is coastal bermuda hay. That field was sprigged with hay for the first time this year and it made two cuttings!
    You can see my seclusion down there in the corner of the field. Perfect place to get away from the house and life. It really is therapy when the stress levels are high or I need to work on some back strengthening in small doses , or just stay plain active doing something constructive.

    There is another barn here in my front yard that measures 16x32 and is 2 stories tall. It was built after the war and built from lumber. Its called a pack house. It was used to store cured leaf in over the winter or store it until you could carry it to auction. Until recently there were tobacco allotments. That meant each farm was allowed to sell only a certain amount of pounds of tobacco a year based on the size of the farm. You could buy someone elses allotment and add to yours. Allotments were like a deed and bought, sold, leased , or rented all the time. So if my allotment allowed me to sell 10,000 pounds a year and I produced 15,000 pounds I had to "carry" 5000 pounds over to the next year. Not a bad thing because as soon as the tobacco market opened you had instant income instead of a crop that was still curing and no money yet.
    This barn is storage and small workshop downstairs and a plush condominium upstairs. My parents call this their "pad". They live 50 miles away and used to come stay a few nights a week before dad took ill. Now that he is better I expect them to start using it more like before. I'll get some inside and outside pictures of this one also.

    Attached Files:

  13. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Four Oaks, NC
    I'm just not much for cold weather any more.
    Several weeks ago me and dad were talking about the barn. His thoughts were its getting time to close it up for the winter and wait for warm weather because there is nothing there to even try to heat yet with a 20 foot high ceiling and no insulation.

    Well since then I've got the interior framing done and just about ready to swing a beam across the saddle and start putting in the floor joists for the second floor. Every minute of off time in this warm weather has been spent framing, running conduit, and moving some dirt.

    My wall framing is actually at about 90% complete.
    The unique way the terra cotta tile blocks were laid to allow for tier poles has come in handy. From the footing up to about 5 feet or so the blocks were laid flat. After that point they are laid standing on edge.
    So what this does is give me anywhere from 3- 9" of dead space behind my framing from the 5 foot mark on up until the second floor.
    I've always planned to put all my wiring including the alarm system in conduit mainly because of mice and fire. The plan was to cover the walls and run all the piping exposed.

    But with the dead space available I've started running the conduits behind the wall. My waste pipes from the bathroom upstairs , kitchen, and washing machine will also run behind the walls until it reaches the point it exits the building. On each wall there will be one or two inspection ports up next to the ceiling to access junction boxes or add something later.
    I've buried conduits in the ground to carry water lines to different points with the idea of pulling pex pipe in those conduits. If I ever need to replace a line I can do it without tearing up my concrete floors.

    I'm going to carry this theme up to the second floor also putting all the pipes in with a fall back to its origin so that if a piece of pex were to fail I would know it without getting any damage to ceilings and so forth and still be able to pull a new line without any hassle at all.
    Overkill? Probally, but I want to do this one time and it will be done right .
    The water heater will be an on demand water heater. A small one for now as the upstairs wont be finished within the next couple of years.
    I've decided for now to put a disappearing stairway in for access to the second floor . When I do finish the upstairs a standard 3 foot door will be cut into the block wall with a staircase .

    The main reason I wont finish the upstairs at this point is because the new roof I put on the barn about 5 years will have to come off and the roof raised about 2 feet. What this will do is 2 things. It will allow me to frame walls around the perimeter squaring up the room and carry the roof up past the block wall that isnt laid level in any direction. Its also going to allow me to put a proper roof roof on it with the correct sized lumber and spacing for rafters. The other thing is that it will allow me to attach the roof to the framing instead of how its done now. Remember this was a tobacco barn. The block were laid without a level obviously and I've learned 2 different masons laid the block. The first one quit about 2/3's up. My uncle told me he remembered this and told me if I looked I could easily tell there were two different masons by the mortar joints. I looked and he is right! The second mason was alot better block layer and even though he didnt use a level either he had a better eye. He also told me he replaced the tier poles back in the early 60's because they were too far apart height wise. WHen the barn was built the tobacco leaves were alot longer back then. The newer varieties have a shorter leaf. Changing the tier poles allowed the tobacco to be packed tighter for better curing and increased the capacity of the barn.

    Being that the upstairs is going to entail building a new roof and so on and the planning to do it has to be perfect because of rain its just money I dont want to spend right now. I need the shop operational at this point. The rest is just icing on the cake.
    Probally what I'll do because of time constraints when I do raise the roof is to have my walls framed and laying on the floor and the rafters already cut. That way when the roof comes off I can have a jump on replacing it.

    I have plans though. The upstairs will resemble the lodge motiff with alot of exposed wood and a cathedral ceiling. We're talking about a small space here. The upstairs will be something like 17'6"x21'. In that I have to cram a bathroom and a kitchenette. Its basicly a motel room with ammenities.
    But it will be adequate for visiting BOC members and a few hunters.

    I'll see if I can get some progress pictures tomorrow.
  14. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

    Supply NC
    Your doing a heck-of-a job. You better let me know when your ready for concrete.:big_smile:

    If your interested. I've got some aluminum panels that could make a nice roof over a pig pickin' shelter. They're like galvanized decking. Left overs from hurricane window panels.