Posted 10-18-2004 at 17:07:45
[Reply] [No Email]
The Amish community sends out word that there will be a barn raising through their incredible network. The owner either lays the foundation himself or hires someone to do it. The floor of the barn is then put in place well ahead of the actual barn raising. They also contact a "Master Carpenter" who has expertise in building barns and other structures. The whole thing is meticulously planned out with all main beams and supports pre-cut to the precise measurements well ahead of time and each wall is pre-assembled on the barn floor with each wall being assembled and stacked on top of each other on the barn floor. All of the other lumber, sheathing, roofing, and all other material are on hand for the barn raising.
Everyone brings their own tools usually consistent of nail pouch, hammer, chalk line, pencil, tape measure etc. and assemble before dawn. At first light (if enough men arrive) the raising begins. The first wall to go up is on top of course with ropes tied to the top of the wall with men standing on the outside of the barn as well as inside the barn anchoring them so the wall cannot keep going over center. With the cue from the Master Carpenter like an Orchestra leader everyone in the barn grabs hold of the wall and lifts together walking it up in the air. When the wall gets high enough some of the men will grab push poles (some 16í long, some less) made of wood with a solitary spike in the end and stab the wall where ever they can and keep pushing until the wall in vertical. At the same time there are usually two men at the base of the walls main upright beams that use pry bars to move the uprights until they drop into the pre cut slots in the floor. As soon as that happens there are already men (usually the young men) scrambling up into the beams to anchor them with braces or connect them to the other walls that may be up into the pre-cut slots with wooden pegs.
The same is done with each wall in succession until they are all up. In this case one hour and twenty minutes. As soon as the walls are up they start on the roof trusses lifting them up by hand and putting them in place. Then come the boards to nail the roofing to and then the roof sheeting itself, in this case steel roofing. The steel siding is going up at the same time as the roofing.
I cannot do it justice by writing about it; itís something you have to see to appreciate. Iíve helped on a couple because I have a lot of friends in the Amish community and frankly if I donít bring my hammer, Iím hearing about it all morning. Lol The men in the air are the ones doing the hardest work and injuries can happen because there are sometimes tools falling, and 2x4ís flying. You work at your own risk.
To answer your actual questionÖ. No, there is no pay but food is provided by the barn owner. Itís simpleÖÖÖ. You work, you eat. That is the Amish way and if time comes when you need help on a project of your own..... there will be some Amish friends there to help you.
It seems like a difficult thing but if you have 300 very experienced men working together; there really isnít that much actual hard work to it. Even the walls made of 8Ēx8Ē solid oak beams arenít that heavy when you have ropes, poles, and 100 men lifting it into place. Like so many ants who know exactly what to do and if there is a whole in the process somewhere there is always a volunteer to step in. Sometimes there are men from other states that respond to the call.
Ití the most amazing example of helping thy neighbor Iíve ever witnessed and am proud to be a part of it in some small way.