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Deconstruction: Stage II: Take down pull #1.

The day finally came when I decided that any further disassembly of the standing structure was either not worth the time and energy or not worth the risk of bodily injury. It was time to get the cables attached, give it a pull and see what happens.

First Pull

50 foot steel cables were attached to the barn at the east and west corner of the wall plate beam on the north side of the barn. These were then attached to the bucket of the tractor and the tractor slowly backed up. The first pull took the east corner beam out but not much else. The cable attached to the west corner came apart at the hook.

not much happened

The East corner support beam came down with part of the north wall plate beam. The rest of the structure pretty much stayed put.

plan a
still standing

I was surprised by how sturdy the barn was. I reconnected the repaired cable to the west corner beam and pulled and pulled. The barn would move a little with each pull but would settle back where it was. The tractor is a 50 horse and 4-wheel drive. It had no trouble with power but traction was a problem. It would spin and dig itself into the ground.

I tried a different tact by making a block and tackle out of the old 1 inch hay rope and two pullys. I connected this to two trees, the cable to the barn and finally to the tractor. Everything worked fine and I was getting all kinds of pulling power (no slippage). The barn was moving a little more this time but one of the pullys broke and that ended that.

I was very surprised at the stubornness of the west wall of the barn because that was the wall part of the roof that had rotted through and the internal beam had rotted and fallen away. The bottom sill beam on the west wall had rotted through and the whole section of wall was just hanging there. But the pegged joints on that corner were sound and not about to give way.

Deconstruction: Stage II: Take down pull #2.

I was about to give up when I thought I'd try one more pull. This time I moved the tractor to pull the beam to the west instead of north.

Second Pull

This pulled easily - the north wall plate beam was rotted about in the middle of the north edge and ofered little resistance. This undermined the roof support and the whole north end went down like dominos.

Still standing - not so much

The south part of the barn was expected to be pretty stable and tougher to pull down. I was afraid it would stand when the rest fell and I was right.

I decided to leave it standing rather than risk working under the colapsed sections to connect cables. Plus it will be hard enough to clean up this mess without things folded on top of each other (more than they already are.

Well head and armour

I expected the west wall to tip down pretty much intact since the bottom sill beam and the top wall plate were rotted through at the center drive through. I had prepared the well head by covering it with half an old boiler. As you can see, in the battle of the boiler and the wall, the boiler won.

The victory would be short-lived because as soon as I started removing the rubble I accidently shifted the whole thing which pulled the boiler slightly to the side enough to break the little pipe that holds the pressure switch. Opps. I speed-dialed my well guy and we worked till 9:00 that night (by the light of truck headlights) to get the water back to the house for the renters.

East wall plate beam

Some of what was still standing. This wall plate beam remained intact after the wall and roof went down. I didn't want to leave this hanging there so I hooked up to the base of the beam that was supporting it and gave a pull to the side. The whole thing came down nicely (and still intact).

center beam

The main pully for the hay rope and its supporting beam.

I remember many times, while growing up, I'd worry about this pully breaking under the strain as a particularily heavy load of hay was lifted into the mow. The pully and the barn would both creak under the load but it never did break. Same as now.

Roof peak laying on the floor

the north end of the roof is now laying on the haymow floor. There will be a lot of work to tear off the old shingles (to try to salvage the roof boards) but I can deal with this height -- better than 30 feet up.

Safely standing on the peak
peek inside

A closer look at what remains standing - from a safe distance.

inside what remains standing
end stage II
First clean up the mess, then pull down the rest.

There's a lot of clean up work to do here but the working conditions are a lot safer. It stikes me that tne thing that is holding the roof together so well at the peak is the old track that held the hay carrier. I wonder if I hooked a cable to it I could just pull the remaining roof down (at least). I have to remember that the carrier is still up there (on the south end of the barn) in case I were foolish enough to venture inside.

Please procede to Phase III section to continue the story of deconstruction/disassembly of this barn: [Click here to continue].