Progress Report 17 – 30×48′ Pole Barn build


Death by 1,000 details. We have reached the point where I am doing a lot but it doesn’t look like much. Check out the progress for updates on framing, dirt work, and finishing up a couple of projects.

Finishing touches on one of my first CNC plasma cut signs

This thing has been sitting for over a month now waiting for me to finish it. Seems like adulting gets in the way of my hobbies too often. I actually had a situation a couple of weeks ago where the heater (blend door) on the Wife’s explorer and the heater on the house broke on the same weekend, luckily I was able to obtain parts and fix both of them myself. Life happens, and it is totally ok.

Steps to building a pole barn
Finally got around to buying some paint and spraying a couple of the signs I had cut out.

The cool thing about projects in the shop is that as long as you don’t sell them, no matter if it is a week or a year, they are right there waiting for you when you get back around to it. The same can’t be said for the people in your life, so be sure to spend your time wisely.

Steps to building a pole barn
Turned out pretty good. First one goes to the Wife’s laundry room since she approved the CNC plasma purchase 😀

Note for future reference, don’t wipe these things down with rags after sanding them. They still have sharp edges that ‘grab’ the cloth fibers. I spent a good half hour picking towel fibers from the inside of the letters after painting because the paint was dark enough that you could really see them.

Cutting in electrical boxes for exterior lighting

In my prior post, I had cut some 1.5″ holes at the front of the shop for outside lights. Turns out those weren’t going to work with the lights we bought, so I took the plunge and properly cut and recessed some electrical boxes. These solutions aren’t usually too difficult, they just take a bit to figure out since I am figuring most of this out as I go.

Steps to building a pole barn
My small-ish round holes didn’t work out. Since exterior lights have a large base and don’t fit up against a round box, I couldn’t (didn’t want to) use them that way. So instead I had to recess metal boxes for the lights into the tin. They turned out pretty good.

These cutters were a lifesaver while cutting these electrical box holes. Make sure to get the ‘offset’ ones if you are going to be cutting inside of panels like this. The blades are at an angle instead of straight so the handles aren’t hitting the worksurface. I believe red is left cut, green is right cut, and yellow is straight cut. It does matter which one you use and leaves a lot cleaner cut when you use the right one.

Steps to building a pole barn
Earlier in the week, I had semi-impulsively bought an impact rated right angle driver. Glad I did because on the west side there wasn’t enough room to screw in a board to mount the above mentioned electrical box to since the door was right next to it.

Cutting a large hole for the bathroom exhaust fan

There was no way for me to put a ceiling exhaust fan in the bathroom without either cutting large holes in the rafters or routing the tube somewhere that would be in the way in the future. So I decided to just bite the bullet and run it through the side wall. Turned out pretty simple, hope it works well.

Steps to building a pole barn
Cut back a space in the foam on the outside wall of the bathroom. Need to make an outlet vent hole for an exhaust fan.
Steps to building a pole barn
Then very nervously I measured and drilled a pilot hole. Since there is Solex insulation inside the tin I couldn’t see where the ribs were but I was able to press on it and feel for the middle from the inside.
Steps to building a pole barn
Here is a cool tool that made this job super easy. Instead of buying a boatload of expensive hole saws, this one tool can cut many different sizes of holes in sheetmetal from 2″ all the way up to 12″. It is slick.
Steps to building a pole barn
Worked perfectly.
Steps to building a pole barn
Vent cap installed
Steps to building a pole barn
All done from the outside. Looks pretty normal / inconspicuous.

More dirt…

I tend to go through phases where I get tired of something and need to work on something else. We had some beautiful weather despite it being November and it was a great time for me to knock out some more dirt work.

Steps to building a pole barn
2 yards more dirt…
Steps to building a pole barn
luckily I could get it in position close enough that I could push / scoop most of it off. A 5 gallon bucket works surprisingly well for scooping out pulverized top soil.
Steps to building a pole barn
Better. I’m going to let this dirt settle in then see how I feel about how it looks slope wise.
Steps to building a pole barn
I started digging a trench for these tubes with a pickaxe to get them flush with the ground so I could bury them but quickly lost motivation. I also have plans to T into one of them to add the gutter on the far right. I want to get erosion problems down past the house. That block wall behind the fire pit is getting the dirt washed out from behind it and is slowly leaning over.

I still need to finish up trenching for my drainage tubes but lost motivation on that one and it is cold now. I’ll get to it some day 🙂

Finishing framing on the last large wall section

Finally about done with most of the framing. From here on out, it will be all smaller details filling in framing spots and fixing oopsies that I haven’t realized I made yet 😉 .

Steps to building a pole barn
Finishing up the last large chunk of wall framing around the window.
Steps to building a pole barn
In hindsight, I totally did this wrong. I just divided the wall up so they were even sections which ended up being about 12″ on center. In hindsight this was dumb because now I am going to have to either cram in or cut down all of my insulation. Guess I will cross that bridge when I get there…

Finishing up framing on the ceiling

At either end of the shop, the last truss is on the outside of the posts. That means I have nowhere to screw the tin for my ceiling. To make it extra complicated, the trusses at the front are scissor trusses to make room for the garage door tracks, so there are angles involved. Here is my attempt at getting this figured out.

Steps to building a pole barn
Dragging home some 16′ lumber to work on finishing up the framing around the ceiling. I think this might have been the first time the roof rack has ever been used on this truck.
Steps to building a pole barn
Using some speed clamps to hold the first 2×6 up. I had to notch the vertical board on the right (it is just marked in the pic) so the board could sit directly on the post.
Steps to building a pole barn
Once I got the first one mostly screwed in, I threw up the second one and clamped it into place overlapping the first one.
Steps to building a pole barn
It wasn’t without some minor difficulties though. Due to the routing of the electrical conduit for the solar, I had to do some sawzall notching for it to fit. It will be getting some more reinforcement later.
Steps to building a pole barn
I’m not good enough with math to calculate the lengths/angles and cut these on the floor before putting them up. So I am trying a trick I learned on instagram.
Steps to building a pole barn
Marked a vertical line where the two boards met in the middle using a square and a level.
Steps to building a pole barn
Cut straight down the line with my sawzall, then I was able to screw the second board in place.
Steps to building a pole barn
BAM! Almost looks like I knew what I was doing. No math required.
Steps to building a pole barn
Here is a look at it from further away so you can tell where I was working.

Framing for the ceiling on the rear wall

Same situation at the rear of the shop. The last truss is on the outside of the posts, so I have nothing to screw to on the inside. First I had to put a board up to mimic having a truss member on the inside, then I realized that I also needed to mimic the 2×12 header that is on the sidewalls if I want everything to match all the way around.

Steps to building a pole barn
Doing the same thing at the rear of the shop, but this time no scissor trusses are involved, it is flat all the way across.
Steps to building a pole barn
Trying to show the distance off the post. Also put two vertical stringers up from the 12′ walls I framed earlier.
Steps to building a pole barn
After thinking about it for a while, that board would give me something to screw the ceiling panel to but not the wall panel. therefore I had to build a whole section out. Before is on the right and after is on the left.
Steps to building a pole barn
Here is the framing done. I am trying to match the sidewalls here with this framing, but am not using a super expensive 2×12 to do it like the header that is across the side walls.

The main walls will be 3 horizontal rows of sheetrock which makes up the 12′ tall part that I framed with 2×4’s. Since I wanted the walls ON the posts without stringers (to save 3″ of shop width) I now have a bump out where the header is on the sidewalls. My plan at the moment for the last foot up to the ceiling is to make everything from the bottom of the headers up out of steel. I will have a bunch of 1′ long pieces cut to go around the top then steel liner as normal on the ceiling. Hope that makes sense, it will be unique for sure.

Steps to building a pole barn
Looking at it from further away.

That’s all for now. I got city approval on electrical rough in but will still need a ‘final rough’ inspection before I cover anything up with sheetrock or steel. I worked my butt off for a couple of weeks straight and kind of burnt myself out so I am on a bit of a hiatus at the moment. Stay tuned though, I am going to get this sucker knocked out eventually.

Now YOU, go outside and work on something.

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