Joe and Heather Conder asked me if I would build them a post-and-beam horse barn on their new property in The Farms at Cottesmore. I was honored and flattered and accepted the job beginning in the fall of 2013. The design was finalized at 120 ft. long and 36 ft. wide. With consideration for the very large horses (Belgians) that Heather owned, the ceiling was scheduled at 12 ft. high. The local saw mill supplied all the timbers. Joe requested that the rough cut appearance remain. Every member has wooden connections, mortise or tennon or both and those connections are secured with 1 in. red oak pins. Here are some pictures of the process.

This is how the barn looks in the summer of 2014.

I built an addition to my existing shop to accomodate the 24 ft. long beams and and an overhead I-beam rail to move them in and out as I worked on them.


   Joe purchased a skid-steer that he knew he would need on the farm and graciously allowed us to use it as much as we liked. It was a tremendous help!


This is the tennon on the end of a rafter. It is 4 in. high, 13 in. long and 2 in. thick. It fit into a corresponding mortise on the tie-beam 12 ft. off the floor.

We cut dovetails in the rafters to securely hold the roof beams (having the corresponding tennon) that streched the 12 ft. between rafters.

This was the first of many test fittings done in my back yard. I made all the pieces in my shop and then moved them over to the job site to assemble them. The fit had to be right.

Some of the timbers waiting to be made into barn parts. There were many, many more.

This is the laying out of the timbers in their location on the concrete footers. Yet to be attached are the diagonal braces.

With the help of that wonderful skid-steer and an extension jig I had made, we are lifting the first section into place.

First of many sections up. Two men, one machine. The height of the tie beam can now be seen for the challenge it will be. I stand 6 ft. tall.

First bent up, plumbed and braced off.

Oak pins (and two hidden timber screws) keep the tie beam together.

Progress was slow but steady. Here I am drilling a hole through the exterior girt and brace prior to inserting an oak pin.

Once the entire perimeter was installed and secured, I installed the queen posts. The collar tie, which spans between the rafters, rests on these posts.

The rectangular hole on the uppermost beam is the mortise that will receive tennon on the end of the rafter (pictured at the beginning).

We needed a crane to lift the rafter assemblies into place.

4 sets of hands were needed to ensure that the 4 tennons fit into the 4 mortises at the same time. The rafter tennon is clearly visable in this photo.

With the last rafter in place, there was now room to build the trusses that would span 36 ft.

Trusses like the one laying on the floor will span the complete width of the barn. All the pieces on the ground at the right will become trusses.

All of the pieces (14) of the truss had to fit together simultaneously. Some of the members weighed more than 300 lbs.

With the trusses assembled and pinned we were ready to get the crane back and lift them into place. Also pictured is the last rafter assembly for the end wall.

Lifting the 1800 lb. truss.

The trusses were stabilized by some brave souls.

Roof beams were then placed in the dovetails cut in the rafters.

Some pieces required fine adjustments.

An ageless look.

Rafter extensions were added and roof beams set into each dovetail.

We made 3 cupolas and had the crane set them in place.

The barn was now ready for the roofers.

Soon we will enclose the barn, define the stalls, and build the tack room.