Some of the upright beams had split lengthwise, vertically, especially the beams in the back were in bad shape. So I had U-shaped plates built, and bolted those around the vertical splits. Then I went up to State Line Steel, near Bradford, and had long steel rods, threaded on one end with an eyelet on the other, manufactured to my specifications. Then, through the top horizontal beams in each bay, I ran a steel rod from each side, with big washers and nuts on the ends of the threaded rod, and the eyelets meeting in the middle. Next I got big turn buckles and hooked the rods together on the turn buckle, and started cranking those to suck the building back together.
You could hear the whole building creaking; you could feel it shuddering and shaking. You’d get enough tension on it and something would settle into place in all the beam work. I tried to do it fairly slowly although eventually it came down to putting a steel flat bar through the turn buckle and pounding on it with a sledge hammer to tighten it. I went and did each one a little bit at a time–I didn’t just tighten one turn buckle all the way. Worked on ’em gradually, back and forth, back and forth. This was all up on ladders.
When I had them all tightened up about as well as I could and sucked back together (and I kept checking with a 6 foot level, trying to get ’em plumb, both sides of the barn), I thought, well, I’ll give this just a couple more whacks with the sledgehammer, get a little more tightness. And wouldn’t you know, I got too much tension on it, stripped all the threads on the turn buckle and let all the tension off of that end all at once. And you could just feel the whole building jerk. Scared the hell outta me ’cause I thought: oh man, this could just come flyin’ apart. So then I had to start that whole process over. But I did it again, and it worked. I was a little more judicious. Didn’t just keep bangin’ on it.