2013 - Volume #37, Issue #2, Page #34[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Midwest Barn Gets New Montana Home
But inside it preserves and showcases the skill of the craftsmen who assembled the hand-hewn mortise-and-tendon timbers 150 to 170 years ago, says Clyde Selby, co-owner of Second Chance Barn Restoration. He and his business partner, Blake Riley, numbered the wood pieces and took down the barn – saving it from demolition when it was in the path of a highway bypass.
“I stand in awe at the craftsmen who built barns like this,” Selby says. “They didn’t have the tools, equipment and education we have, yet they built structures that have lasted well over 100 years. They’re works of art.
“This barn had more knee braces than any barn I’ve ever seen. There were over 150 of them,” he says, noting each cross member had a brace going in every direction.
Selby and Riley added barn restoration to their log siding business when the economy slowed down a few years ago. They transformed one barn into a horse barn for a hobby farmer and turned a couple old barns into produce stands. Selby’s parents, Ben and Joanne, hired them to restore the Goshen barn on their Montana farm.
The timber frame style is new to the area, Ben Selby says, so it stands out. But it’s appreciated and well used. Part of the 40 by 76-ft. barn has in-floor heating for a workshop and gathering place, including bathrooms and a cozy loft area.
It and the unheated part of the barn each have big doors to bring in equipment to work on. Tools, equipment, and other farm items are stored on the unheated side. The Selbys raised the ceiling under the loft to 13 1/2 ft. for more space, and were able to reuse most of the barn material. They replaced the foundation logs and installed new rafters between the ridge, purlins and plates to replace the original poplar rafters, which were reused as vertical nailers for the siding. Instead of chinking between the logs, they hired a local mill to cut board siding that left circular saw marks on the wood. The chinked look was created with inset board pieces painted gray.
Saving the old barn and making it useful again was a worthwhile project, says Ben Selby. And it was a bonus to have his son and family in Montana for a month. With a steel roof, new foundation and other upgrades, the barn should last many more years in its new home.
“I was in the construction trade for 35 years, and I appreciate the craftsmanship,” he says. “Right away I realized the value of saving something like this.”
His son, Clyde, agrees that restoring barns isn’t about saving money.
“We can build them (customers) a new one for the cost of restoration,” he says. “People don’t do it for cost savings. They restore to save something that’s lost and that they appreciate.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ben Selby, 32446 Mission Creek Rd., St. Ignatius, Mont. 59865 (ph 406 546-7952). Second Chance Barn Restoration, 30195 Co. Rd. 40, Wakarusa, Ind. 46573 (ph 574 354-2171).
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