1992 - Volume #16, Issue #1, Page #20[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Bent pole dairy barn"It's the only barn like it in the world. The best thing is that it was inexpensive to build yet has been as functional as any other barn of its size for 44 years," says Charles Bon-nett, Levering, Mich., who recently sent photos to FARM SHOW detailing a unique construction method he came up with for a barn he built in 1947.
"I had no money at the time so I traded labor to a neighbor for a batch of long spruce poles cut from his woods. Total cost of the poles was about $15. Then I built a bending frame by putting posts in the ground in the shape of the curve of my barn. I bent the spruce poles to fit the frame with the inside of the curve facing south so the sun would shrink those fibers faster than on the out-side, which was to the north.
"The poles went into the bending frame in the fall and I built the barn the next spring.
When I took them out they all held to the shape of the frame," says Bonnett.
The poles run all the way from the ground up to a ridge pole on top. Bonnets simply built a support frame and leaned the poles into place, 17 on each side. Then he built the hay loft inside and nailed roofing boards to the spruce poles in a continuous sheet from the ground all the way to the peak. Because of the strength and simplicity of the design, Bonnett says much less bracing was needed internally as compared to most conventional big span round roof barns.
He built a stone wall on one end of the barn and added a feed room and silo on one side. "It's still standing just as strong as the day I built it," says Bonnett.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Charles Bonnett, 11447 Bonnett Rd., Levering, Mich. 49755 (ph 616 627-2150).
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