Henry Phillips Barn Restoration - The Horse Barn
In August, 2000, Dave Kirkpatrick cut a replacement post for the southeast corner column as a demonstration of timber framing techniques. He demonstrated the use of an auger as well as a boring machine to start mortise holes, which were then cleaned out with a chisel. Many visitors and volunteers got an opportunity to help with this column. When finished, it was stored for a year until we were able to begin work on this corner of the barn.
The south wall was supported by two oak beams spanning towers of cribbing inside and outside the wall, but because of the barn framing we were able to support the east wall from the inside only with a line of posts and jacks supporting the tie beams.
photo - Supporting posts and jacks
With the two walls supported we removed the old sills and lower sections of the walls, restored the foundation, and installed new sills. The new sills were hand-hewn from white oak to match the original material used in the barn. The sills were half-lapped at the corner and pinned with two oak pegs.
Removing the siding from the corner post confirmed our estimates of its deterioration. We had been able to tell from the beginning that we would be replacing most, if not all, of this timber. We were only able to save the very top section, where it joins with the rafter plate and the top tie beam. This allowed us to save the joinery in this section. Had we replaced it completely we would have been forced to cut those joints apart and replace them with historically inaccurate and structurally weaker joints. This is because the joints came into the post from two directions and were originally assembled separately. To put in a complete new post we would only have been able to save one original joint.
Because of the length of the new post, a block and tackle and a couple of ropes were used to assist in raising it. We nailed a cleat back to a number of studs in the upper south wall, to give us something solid to pull from that would be in line with the direction we wanted to raise the post. A block and tackle was fixed here, and the other end of the line tied to the post. With one man at the free end of the block and tackle rope, another on a rope tied near the top of the post to control any side to side movement, and two men under the post lifting, it was a simple operation to raise the timber into place. Once it was raised, of course, slight inaccuracies were discovered in the fit. After being marked it was lowered for trimming and then raised once more. We glued the splice joint and put two bolts through it to assure structural strength.
photos - Sequence of photos showing replacement of southeast
corner post - 1,