Build A Loafing Shed: Use Found Materials And Save Money

| 3/7/2011 10:58:00 AM

 GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.The way our farm is configured, we really needed one more livestock shed for lambing and to keep the guard donkeys out of the rain so I decided to build a loafing shed using found materials. The starting point for the loafing shed was an old native limestone hog shed foundation and knee walls. That hog shed was long gone, but the walls were still sound and the 100-year-old anchor bolts were also still intact. I didn’t want to put a roof over the entire 32 feet of shed, so I decided to just cover half of it.

 Loafing Shed Complete with Donkeys 

The first step in building the loafing shed was to source the timbers. Since we had just renovated a couple of pond dams, which involved removing many mature trees from the dams, I had plenty of fairly straight hackberry trunks to use for rafters and purlins. The farm also has plenty of Osage orange growing in the hedgerows to use for posts … Osage orange lasts more than 30 years in the ground here so I cut two 13-foot long Osage orange posts about a foot in diameter.

Sinking those big posts to the first limestone layer about 5-feet down would have been a heck of an undertaking if I didn’t happen to have the DR Power towable backhoe on hand. That little machine made short the work of planting those posts, which are roughly 12 feet apart. And thanks to my trusty Kubota loader tractor’s hydraulics, lifting the posts into the holes and holding them more or less vertically was a breeze as well.

 Shed posts 

The loader came in handy with setting the two 18-foot long hackberry rafters, which were held fast in the notched posts with 3/4 –inch carriage bolts and to the back wall with the old ½-inch anchor bolts. I didn’t take the time to strip the bark from the hackberry rafters or purlins – they would last longer stripped, but so far the bark is just peeling off and there is no rot in the wood itself.

Paula, Monroe, LA
3/23/2011 5:19:08 PM

3-23-11Wow! I'm so impressed. Loved the way you're recycling and making a whimsical statement at the same time.