Friday, May 18, 2007

Structural Engineering 101

For the most part, i've been impressed with how The Boys put the barn together, especially considering the tools they were likely working with back in the day. But check out the support structure for the hayloft of the barn. They ran 4X4 floor joist across the 15' span of the building, then put up these railroad rails lengthwise to support the floor joists down the center. Looks good, except notice that the rails are supported at the entry end of the barn by a single 4X6 header over the doorway. After taking off the exterior siding, I could see the header was rotted partway through...not good. In their defense, they did run two lengths of threaded rod from the header up the the top plate for extra support, but if the header had continued to rot, the (very heavy) rails would have eventually collapsed.
My plan to remove the two 600 lb rails is to cut them into manageable (like 3 foot) lengths with a portable bandsaw so they can be lifted out and carried away in pieces. The second photos shows the bracing I put up under one rail to hold it in place while it is being cut down....

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