Progress Report 16 – 30×48′ Pole Barn build


Making some HUGE progress. More final grading, framing the walls, and (more) electricity! Check this post out for lots of pictures and some stuff I screwed up along the way.

Finally back to working on the shop. Now that it is starting to get cold outside I am motivated seal this thing up before it gets too cold!

Some yard and dirt work

Finishing up some stuff around the yard to start with. The rocks in the ditch below are leftover concrete washout from the driveway and other concrete pours that I didn’t know what to do with. I thought it turned out pretty good.

Steps to building a pole barn
Used the rest of the concrete washout/leftovers from the driveway pour to fill in the ditch I had dug with the mini excavator.
Gertrude and I were pretty proud of ourselves (it was HOT)
Steps to building a pole barn
Turned out pretty good considering I was able to use leftover materials that would have otherwise gotten trashed.
It was somewhat labor intensive breaking them up into smaller pieces with a sledge hammer though.

MORE fill dirt

I am getting so close to being done with final grade. The east side is done and graveled. Here we are bringing in dirt for the west side to flatten out the grade a little. It was A LOT of work and really could use another 2-3 yards (saving that part for ‘another day’).

Steps to building a pole barn
Dirt delivery!
The new truck pulls it like its no big deal.
Steps to building a pole barn
Before shot.
Steps to building a pole barn
During
This actually took about a week. I got 1/3 of the trailer unloaded then it rained for a couple of days and I had to wait for it to dry out so I could finish. One shovel scoop at a time!
Steps to building a pole barn
After finishing up, watering it in with a sprinkler, then running over it the next day with the riding lawn mower a bunch of times. I got it packed down pretty good.
The spot with the orange posts are where the septic tank lid is.

The slope is still a bit more than I would like before seeding, so I will likely grab another trailer load here in the next couple of weeks.

Fixing an oopsie

Steps to building a pole barn
Fixing my oopsie. This was the very first wall I had framed in a long time ago. I didn’t cut the studs to the correct height so I needed to scab in some boards at the top to screw the sheetrock to. Not hiding my mistakes here. I made mistakes and you will too when doing any big project. Don’t worry about it too much.

“A true tradesman knows how to fix his mistakes”

– an old timer welding guy told me this when I was about 18

Getting ready for framing!

What a mess…

Steps to building a pole barn
Shop 1/2 full of junk.
Moved 1/3 to the basement, 1/3 to the attached garage, and the last 1/3 I will show you how I made it mobile so I can move it around at will.
Steps to building a pole barn
First load of $$$ er, I mean wood.
Steps to building a pole barn
offloaded onto a heavy duty furniture dolly. This turned out to be a great idea for moving the wood closer to the workspace or out of the way at will.
Steps to building a pole barn
First of many!
Steps to building a pole barn
One wall up in place!
I found I could do 2 walls a night by myself working about 2-3 hours. All of it is screwed together.

Tip: When buying screws, don’t be cheap. I bought the ‘premium’ 3″ 9 gauge screws that have the self drilling tip. They are more expensive but I almost never have boards split on me when using them.

Steps to building a pole barn
Gertrude helping…
Steps to building a pole barn
Second load!
This time I was too lazy to hook up the trailer. Turns out I can load 12’ers with the middle row folded and they only hang out a couple of feet.
Steps to building a pole barn
Started foaming the first couple of walls. This is to seal up any gaps to keep air leaks/bug entry to a minimum.
Steps to building a pole barn
More progress.

How to make filing cabinets mobile in a shop without casters!

My filing cabinets were cheap (most of them were either free or <$20 on FB Marketplace). It would be a waste to put expensive caster wheels on my cheap cabinets. Since I have a narrow pallet jack (Traded a mini fridge and some other junk for it) I can finally execute on my grand plan!

Steps to building a pole barn
Got a couple weather treated 4×4’s and cut them to match the depth of each file cabinet. Most were 18″ deep but some were different. Put the file cabinet on top of them.
Ground contact ‘weather treated’ might be overkill but I figured since it will be touching the shop floor and might get water or salt water runoff from vehicles that it was cheap insurance in the long run.
Steps to building a pole barn
Remove the bottom drawer. Drill some 1/8″ pilot holes then screw in some 3″ deck screws with 1/4″ fender washers on each side.
Steps to building a pole barn
Bam! Now I have mobile filing “tool” cabinets for like 5$ each.

Now that those are out of the way, back to framing

Steps to building a pole barn
One section at a time… I had it down to a science at this point with some pre-cut templates to mark off of.
My buddy John came over this night and we knocked out almost 5 walls but stopped due to me needing to frame the windows.
Steps to building a pole barn
Nobody’s gonna know… They’re gonna know.


This is a friendly reminder to double check the length of your boards when you get them from the hardware store.
We cut the above studs using our standard template, built a wall, went to throw it up, and it didn’t fit. Turns out our boards were 1/2″ longer from the factory so I partially disassembled and trimmed them all. Well, one of the boards was from the previous batch that were correct and was now 1/2″ too short. Filled it back in with the cutoff from the ones that were too long. Nobody’s gonna know.

Steps to building a pole barn
Framed around the windows using scrap 2×6’s. I am 99% sure I probably did this wrong but it isn’t a structural wall so I don’t think I need a header at the top. If inspections calls me out on it then I will change it but I am pretty sure it won’t matter. Send it!
Steps to building a pole barn
Piecing things together.
Steps to building a pole barn
Another wall completed.
Steps to building a pole barn
Since all of my stuff is mobile now, I was able to put it all in a pile pretty quickly. Figured it would be easy to put a tarp over to keep the dust off if needed.
My plan is working perfectly Muhahahahahahahaha…
Steps to building a pole barn
I was watching some random youtube videos and got some ideas to try different blocking between the studs for just these two. Not sure if it will help, but it was definitely more work.
Steps to building a pole barn
Foamed around all of the windows. Cheap insurance at only $5 or so a can.

Electrical!

Had the electricians come back over and add outlets to the rest of the shop now that I have it all framed up. There is basically an outlet per post all the way around plus I also had them wire in another 220v that will work for my welder but is intended to eventually supply a 2 post lift.

Steps to building a pole barn
Got wired in for some LED puck lights in the soffit. I took the day off work and did as much grunt work as I could for the electricians to keep the bill down a little.
Steps to building a pole barn
I drilled giant holes in the tin for a light on each side. This one pained me to do, I measured these no less than 5 times 😀

That is all for now! I have a final rough in electrical inspection scheduled for next week, then I can start insulating and finish up some small framing details. It has been an exhausting couple of weeks but also satisfying and rewarding. I know WAY more about framing than I ever did. Once you unravel some of the mysteries, most of this stuff isn’t too big of a deal. Gotta teach yourself to be a youtube and google expert, most of the answers are out there and relatively easy to find.

Thanks for coming along with me on this journey! Still lots more to come.

Now YOU, go outside and work on something!

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