Hand-Hewn Log Dairy Barn - Part 6

Rise of the Shear Legs

Well the walls are five logs high now, and we need to put a 24-foot header across the top of the window and door openings. The 24-foot logs are bigger than we want to lift above our heads, so we need to figure out how to go about getting the header logs into position on the wall.

And Uncle Peter is ready with a solution for us. Shear legs! With these, and a block and tackle unit with a 5 to 1 ratio that Uncle Peter brought with him, we hope to lift these heavy logs and use them to set the rafters!


The shear legs are made of two 18-foot poles found in our wood lot. They are lashed together near the top so they kinda look like a teepee. The other end is spread about 8 feet apart with a 2x4 bolted on either side of the legs and then to each other.


You can see a couple 2x4s coming off the bottom in the above photo. These are a kick stop so we can place it in exactly the right position and still have the bottom braced as we are pulling from the top.


Getting it into position to lift the first log.


With the first log in position, we took a congratulatory break, and consultation session before proceeding.


The log has to hang nearly level when lifted so it doesn't slip out of the choker and fall. There are also tag lines tied at each end of the beam to allow directional control of the ends in placing the beams.


Next beam readied for lifting into place.


And it's in place on the north end of the barn.


The header on the south end of the barn is in place here.


The east side log is up and . . .


The crew stopped for a photo of the momentous occasion.


A store of resources, plus labor, equals stock. Here are the rest of the beams soon to be part of the barn. Next post coming soon!