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Custom-Made Barns Built To Scale
John Kauffman is a one-man barn builder who creates customized scale-model toy barns and other farm buildings. When the former crop consultant first built a toy barn for a nephew, he had no idea he was laying the foundation for a new barn building business.
  “My nephew collects Schleich farm animals, but didn’t have a barn for them,” explains Kauffman. “I remembered my grandfather building a toy barn and machine shed for me, and as I was between jobs, I decided to build one.”
  Before he knew it, he was getting requests from friends and relatives for similar barns. Since 2009, Kauffman’s Wood Kreations has been building and shipping scale model barns to customers from Seattle to Washington, D.C., and from Florida to Ontario.
  “Most are done at about 1/16 scale,” says Kauffman. “A single barn with hinged doors, windows, stain, shingles, etc., can take 2 weeks to build.”
  He notes that a smaller scale barn, like 1/64 scale, takes even longer to build, as do unique buildings like his drive-through granary. The granary has ear corn crib slats on the sides and ends. The crib portion is lined with Plexiglas to actually hold shelled corn.
  Most of the barns he builds are gambrel roofs with stock designs. Features include sliding doors in tracks, Dutch style walk-in doors, lift-off roofs and more. They vary from toy box designs to open sides for easy access to the inside. These are often made in multiples of a single style at a time, assembly-line fashion.
  “I lay them out on 4 by 8-ft. sheets of 1/4-in. plywood and cut them out with a jigsaw,” he says.
  Kauffman also builds custom designs upon request. Currently he is working on a barn for an interior designer in Montana, but he also does memory barns.
  “I can recreate the barn on your farm or where you grew up,” says Kauffman. “I need to know what you are willing to spend. I charge carpenter rates of $35 to $38 per hour. The more complex it is, the more it will cost.”
  He advises taking pictures on a sunny day, getting images of all four corners and each side. If an interior is desired, take pictures of it as well, again on a bright, sunny day.
  If toy animals are to be used inside the barn, their size is also important. There may be room for only 3 stalls, instead of 4.
  While many of his barns and sheds may end up as part of a collection of toys, he doesn’t mean for them to be set on a shelf.
  “I make stuff for kids to play with,” says Kauffman. “If you’re thinking of getting one, don’t wait too long, or you may not catch their interest.”
  Kauffman’s barns are priced according to complexity and size. A small open-sided shed with stalls starts at $145, while a 1/64 scale, Deere green and yellow machine shed sells for $80. One of his more expensive builds is the large horse barn that’s 31 1/2 in. wide by 33 in. long and 26 1/2 in. tall. It sells for $555. It has six, 10 by 10-in. stalls, functioning gates and doors, adjustable feeders in the stalls, and a haymow with doors. The roofs open on both sides and in the middle for easy access and play. However, the most expensive item yet on his list is the stick-built, 24 by 28-in corn crib. It is priced at $1,850.
  Kauffman also makes and sells separate accessories, such as a fence gate ($15), feed bunk ($8) and barn fence ($23).
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup,   Kauffman’s Wood Kreations, 612 S.E. 2nd St., Eagle Grove, Iowa 50533 (ph 515 603-6730 or 515 851-2437; jjkauff@goldfieldaccess.net; www.woodentoybarns.com).

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2018 - Volume #42, Issue #2