WooHoo! Finally!

Our Last Two Dairy Barn Rafters!

It's been a long two years in the making, but I'm beginning to dare hope that my new hand-hewn log dairy barn might actually come into existence.


This is the last length of log that needs to be hewn down and then split, to make two rafters.


I told them I wanted a posed picture:)


It's surprising how fast they can knock the juggles off (that's what those knobby looking cutouts on the tree are called). It only took them 10 minutes.


Another amazing thing is they can actually chop that fast while following a chalk line, which tells them where to cut to, and no further. That bit of blue line you can see on the clump of snow is the chalk line.


After the juggle chopping, the broad axe is sharpened for use on the beam.


It's astonishing that something that large and monstrous looking can be honed and and then expertly wielded into cutting a pencil line. If you look close you can see the pencil line along side the ax head and right underneath the blade near the bottom of the log.


Another view of how straight the edge is being cut here.


A look at the face of the log after the broad-axe work. Smooth, with the characteristic axe marks on it.


Once the log is shaped into a basic square shape, this particular one was large enough to split into two rafters.


Took three wedges, a maul, and an ax to split this beam in half.


Oh yes, and back to the infamous chalk line, the crack has to stay along it. There is only about a half inch tolerance on either side of the line,seen right in the center here.


Some take a little more persuasion then others to give it up. This one needed a little leverage from a peevee in the hands of CW!


Finally, SUCCESS!!!


Another tool, called an adze, is used to really smooth up the edges and give the rafters a fine finish.


The chalk line is back in play as the men use the adze and follow it down the edge of the beam. I was told that ideally one should be splitting that line in half with the adze!


With these paper thin shavings doesn't look like that would be too hard!

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We finally got the "Beast" resurrected, or as the rest of the male dominated household affectionately call it, "The Dodge," and were able to haul the last four rafters to our shop where the lumber is being stored dry, awaiting assembly.


There are 16 of these rafters, all made the same way, that will make up the roof of our hand-hewn dairy barn.

Hope you enjoyed the tour! We'll have updates as things progress this year.