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Pole barn building questions
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Jake    Posted 05-29-2003 at 08:51:57       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Getting ready to do this myself and wonder if you could answer a few

1. How do you erect the poles w/o a boom or some such device? Can it be done by hand? I have about 12 16-18' poles I need to put up.

2. If you don't use metal siding, what do you do about something like T-111 where it gets close to the ground? Is it ok to just attach it directly to the splash block?

3. Someone gave me those round chemonite treated greenpoles. Is it going to be difficult getting the side girts to line up on them; i.e. should I
just get rid of those even if they were free and buy 6x6's instead?

4. (Most important) Is it possible to build this thing by myself, with maybe my wife helping? It will be a 24x24 most likely, probably a lean-to type roof, but maybe a gable roof with trusses.

Thanks for any help!

jdemaris    Posted 06-01-2003 at 18:39:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I've built a number of pole barns myself with a little help from my wife. One is 24' X 40' with a 10' ceiling, another is 24' X 18' with three stories/floors. The worst part was making the holes for the poles since it's all hardpan and shale here. Setting 6"X6" poles in the holes, up to 18' long was no problem, by hand. Anything longer I'd want to use my backhoe or a tripod. It's been my experience, though, that longer poles aren't worth the bother. They're heavy, expensive, and rarely stay straight. When I built the three story barn, I used short poles and spliced more on to them as I went up. If you make good exterior walls and roof structure, the poles only need to give good vertical support.
As far as ground contact materials go, I've been using pressure-treated plywood a foot or so below grade to a few feet above. It makes for a tight and rot resistant lower course.

Willy-N    Posted 05-29-2003 at 21:30:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
I used to put power poles in by myself quite often by myself at a job I had. These were 6X6 and 8X8 treated 20 ft long for temp power. I would get one end up on a rack on a pick up and back the truck up to load it on top. I used a come-a-long to lift the pole up to the top of the rack first. To unload I would dig a hole by hand 4 ft deep and back the truck near the hole and slide the poles back till they started to tilt. Then tie it to the rack and slide it till it started going into the hole. I would back the truck up and let the pole go in fill and untie it. To remove them I just backed up to them used a come-a-long to pull them out of the grond after I shook them good up onto the rack. I was sent out to put these in for a joke since I weight 128 pounds! They used to used 2 big guys and it took all day to set 6 of them. I did it in haft the time by myself came back to the shop to find out what else they wanted me to do. They freaked when they looked out and saw the truck empty. I got a raise and the boss chewed out the other guys! Go for it give ita try. Mark H.

Ron    Posted 07-30-2003 at 04:57:16       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I am building a 50x80 pole barn with a shingle roof.Do I need to set my 6x6 post closer than 8ft. apart? Also I was wanting to notch the top of each post on each side to set a 2x12 on each side for a double header to support the weight of the 2x6 truss on 2ft. center and the shingle roof..By notching the post the weight won't be on the hardware holding the top girt or header..
I'm looking for suggestions...Thanks Ron

Homesteader    Posted 05-29-2003 at 19:20:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
Jake, I'm just about done with a cabin, about 24' x 24' if
you include the porch. Built on 6 x 6's, 4' deep with
concrete, 4'1/2' off the ground, 22' peak. I put the center
posts (8" butt round poles) and 6 x 6's in with skid boards
and my Oliver Super 55. (That's 2 x 6's stuck out of the
hole so that the bottom of the post will strike and slide
along them into the hole as you push / raise it.) You can
also use a pickup to back up with the pole along the bed
and over the cab. I didn't do it that way, but I understand it
works. Probably safer than the tractor, to tell the truth. I
did it all completely alone. There are some really good
books on the subject. I read everything I could get ahold
of, and am glad I did. You should do the same. Good luck!

Jim    Posted 07-06-2003 at 19:47:41       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have been looking for good material to read about Pole barns. Can you tell me some of the good reading material you found.


Lynn Kasdorf- Leesburg, V    Posted 07-09-2003 at 11:07:51       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Go to and search for "pole building". The monte burch book is good, if antiquated (it suggests digging the holes by hand rather than with an auger!).

I have a book called something like Practical Pole Building that is good.

I'm just trying to locate some utility poles- these used to be easy to come by apparently but no longer, from what I can tell.

Lazy Al    Posted 05-29-2003 at 18:17:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
Jake .
18 foot poles four feet in the ground leaves
14 foot up on a 24 by 24 ????
Remember if your going to put steel on it shrink
it by three inches so the steel fits
And sure you can do it . There's all kinds of help on this site if you run into trouble

williamf    Posted 05-29-2003 at 17:46:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Here's a link to me building mine. About that size, 32x20. I used 4x6 posts, 14' long, it wasn't hard for two of us to raise them by hand. They cost so much less than 6x6, and I was going to put them 4 ft. apart anyway.

DeadCarp    Posted 05-29-2003 at 19:10:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
A backhoe called Old Stoney? William, i think you just saved me a lotta grief - i've had a hankering for a small backhoe right? Of course i need a few holes but no GOOD excuse to get one! I thought maybe rent it out some but what kinda demand would there be out here in the sticks? Well hey - nearly everybody hates picking rocks right? Now THERE's a use for a handy backhoe with the right thumb etc. :)

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