Tilles Barn, South Strafford, VT

Project Overview

In January of 2008 we began restoring a large (35×50) 1820’s English barn. When we were first contacted by the owners, they explained that they had a barn on a property in South Strafford. Their intent was to move this barn to a nearby property where they live.  They had already initiated the project and hired a contractor to dismantle the frame.  After the barn had been dismantled it became clear that the extent of the damage to the timbers would be beyond the scope of what contractors could repair so they contacted us.


We began the project by sorting through poorly labeled piles of rotten timbers.  Most of the timbers had significant rot on both ends, making it an even greater challenge to identify the parts. There were no blue prints, shop drawings or pictures to aid in the identification of the parts.  We mapped out the barn piece by piece, figured out what was missing and what could be saved. clash royale cheats no survey We also figured out a bit of the barn’s history along the way. This barn had already been dismantled and reassembled once as a bank barn during the late 1800’s. At that time, one of the posts and a plate had been replaced.  Many of the rafter tails had been cut off and the plate had been notched in order to sister on longer rafter tails and increase the overhang of the roof.


We restored the frame to it’s original configuration as a single story English barn with equal sized haymows on each side of the drive. The barn has English tying joints, a full purlin system and a five sided ridge. The timbers are mixed softwoods with the exception of the hardwood braces. At the owners request, the exterior details of the barn were kept to the later 1800’s style, with tightly revealed clapboards, and large overhangs on the roof.

Project Pictures

Tilles barn, South Strafford, VT
We first began this project by pawing through piles of inadequately labeled piles of rotten timber.

We first began this project by pawing through piles of inadequately labeled piles of rotten timber.
The rafters were in rough shape.  Many of the tails had been cut off when one of the plates was replaced many years earlier.

The rafters were in rough shape. Many of the tails had been cut off when one of the plates was replaced many years earlier.
Over many years water leaked into the barn, often running down the braces and rotting out the shoulders where the braces bare in the posts.

Over many years water leaked into the barn, often running down the braces and rotting out the shoulders where the braces bare in the posts.
Shown here is a strange looking post foot repair, prior to surfacing,  designed to avoid mortises and several knot clusters.

Shown here is a strange looking post foot repair, prior to surfacing, designed to avoid mortises and several knot clusters.
Seth Kelley scores one of the new plate timbers before surfacing with a broad axe.

Seth Kelley scores one of the new plate timbers before surfacing with a broad axe.
Three of the barns four tie beams had severe rot at both ends.  We decided to shift the joinery and scarf only one new end to these ties.

Three of the barns four tie beams had severe rot at both ends. We decided to shift the joinery and scarf only one new end to these ties.
The eave walls are being assembled before the raising.

The eave walls are being assembled before the raising.
With the eave walls up and the ties in place, the first of the fifty foot long purlin plates is flown into place with its posts and braces.

With the eave walls up and the ties in place, the first of the fifty foot long purlin plates is flown into place with its posts and braces.
A lintel was used to strengthen one of the purlin plates.

A lintel was used to strengthen one of the purlin plates.
In the foreground is the post with the strange foot repair shown earlier.  This post also required repairs to four shoulders.  The long inlayed dovetail repair on the eave wall also features secondary dovetailing hidden inside.

In the foreground is the post with the strange foot repair shown earlier. This post also required repairs to four shoulders. The long inlayed dovetail repair on the eave wall also features secondary dovetailing hidden inside.
Since there was no indication of the original rafter position, we staggered new rafters with those that had been repaired.

Since there was no indication of the original rafter position, we staggered new rafters with those that had been repaired.
The frame assembly nears completion.  Only the interior posts and second floor system are missing in this photo.

The frame assembly nears completion. Only the interior posts and second floor system are missing in this photo.
The homeowners had piles of the original boarding that they had hoped to reuse.  Most of the boards were so rotten and thin that there was barely enough to cover the roof.

The homeowners had piles of the original boarding that they had hoped to reuse. Most of the boards were so rotten and thin that there was barely enough to cover the roof.
One of the damaged rafters was recut to serve as the transome girt.

One of the damaged rafters was recut to serve as the transome girt.
Since we finished this project the family has begun to paint their barn.  One coat down....

Since we finished this project the family has begun to paint their barn. One coat down….
   


Back to the top