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Barn Built From Diseased Trees
The new barn at Dillon Fruit Farm in Lisbon, Ohio, took more than 150 trees, 250 hrs. of bandsaw cutting, and months of weekend work to build. But owner Jim Dillon is more than satisfied with the results.
First of all, it was a way to use his farm’s ash trees devastated by Emerald Ash Borers that girdled and killed the trees.
“We look at our woods as a lumber yard,” explains Dillon, noting he cut trees for beams, floors and cabinets in his home prior to building the barn.
There was nothing wrong with the wood of the ash trees so Dillon cut them down and sawed 30,200 board feet including 12x12 beams and 6x6 braces and 6x8 floor joists for a 32 by 72-ft. barn with a 12 by 72-ft. lean-to. He cut 4,231 board ft. of hemlock and white pine boards for siding and lumber. The barn was built with green wood and after it dried and shrank, Dillon added batten boards to cover the gaps.
It was built to replicate the hand-hewn barn Dillon’s grandfather built near Buffalo, N.Y.
“Grandpa’s barn was built in the late 1800’s. It’s still solid and sits on a hilltop that gets lots of wind,” Dillon says.
He took photos of it and checked out barns in Ohio to figure out how to make the tenon and mortise joints, and he also made the 230 oak pins to hold them together. He discovered that ash wood was harder than oak wood when doing finishing chisel work.
With the help of family and friends, he started building the barn in February 2018. It was framed by mid-June in time for the wedding of a former worker at the fruit farm. The loft floor was in but the roof wasn’t finished until November.
“It was like an open pavilion with lights and decorations,” Dillon says.
Currently the barn stores equipment and lumber, but in the future, part of it will be used as a picnic area for customers at the farm’s U-pick fruit operation (blueberries, red and black raspberries, and elderberries).
After hiring a crew to put on the metal roof and including the cost of the sawmill, the barn cost about $20,000 to build.
The project gave Dillon new respect for previous barn builders who hand-hewed all the beams.
“We had the help of modern battery tools and a tractor with a forklift to put the beams in place. I just can’t imagine how they did everything by hand,” he concludes.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Dillon, Dillon Fruit Farm, 36108 Kelch Rd., Lisbon, Ohio 44432 (ph 330 424-5169; www.dillonfruitfarm.com; dfruitfarmer@yahoo.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #1