After I got the turn buckles in and the barn was fairly pulled back together again, I started modifying the actual timber framing inside, the mortise and tenon joints. That was interesting. I had to lower the beams that are now the walkway’s balcony railing–they were originally up at about chin-height on me. It’s held together with wooden pegs, so I had to take the sledge hammer and beat the pegs out. A bunch of local guys I’ve known forever–Tim Kinney, Dan Johnson, Oz–were here helping. Theoretically you would pick up the whole beam off the tenon, but that’s not what I did. I wanted to make a connecting catwalk between the two sides, and so you needed a door frame made, because originally that beam went the whole width of the barn. So you mark a plumb line and take the chainsaw and cut it off. And those guys were standing around sayin’ to me: “What, are you out of your fuckin’ mind? You can’t just start cuttin’ this timber framing apart.” Meaning that it’s integral to the barn. Well…I had to. If I was gonna proceed at all.
So I chainsawed it off for the door frame. But then I had to cut down the vertical beam to change the height of the handrail, and then fashion a new tenon and fit it into the old mortise, drop the old handrail back down to the lower vertical, and finally drill holes and pound the pegs back through. I even used the same pegs, for the most part. I did that on both sides (of the railing) and then out of the salvaged timber from the barn additions, built the door frame. So that was a major undertaking, because I wasn’t quite sure what was gonna happen when I started cutting up the actual structural timbers of this barn.
But it worked. Next I had to frame up for sheetrock and insulation. The exterior hemlock barn boards were still on the barn, so I started filling in between all the timber framing with regular 2 X 4 framing. Only I forgot that this wasn’t “regular.” On a regular stick-built house, wherever there’ll be windows and doors, you put in headers to bear the weight. On this building I didn’t have to do that extra stuff. It took me a while to get used to that fact. The original timber framing has been holding up this barn since the day it was built.
So I just pushed the 2 X 4 fill-in framing against the inside surface of the exterior barn board. Once that was done I could start peeling off those exterior barn boards. Next I put OSB board all over the whole thing, then took the barn siding, flipped the boards over, wire-brushed them, and screwed them back onto the OSB board that was now forming the skin of the barn.
Hemlock is very high in tannin, and what I can tell you is: I’ve never had splinters that got so infected so fast. Within two hours the little place where they went in was all red and puffy. And the boards are very splintery. I surely dug hundreds and hundreds of slivers of hemlock out of my hands.
I think whatever it is that makes them hurt like crazy is also what makes it last forever.