Barn News

Well, It Was Empty…

Recent weeks have found me working feverishly to prepare a place in The Barn for the remaining shop accoutrements from the house in Maryland, primarily with the laying of a plywood-on-sleepers floor in the lowest-level north bay of The Barn, and most recently with the construction of an insulated wall between that bay and the remainder of the lowest level.  This space, essentially a below-grade walk-out room, has the advantage of remaining above freezing all by itself except in the most extreme and extended cold snaps.  While working out there earlier this month, with consistent outside temps in the teens and twenties the interior temperature back in the deepest corners remained in the upper thirties and lower 40s.


Last Saturday morning several of my woodworking/conservation friends, Anthony, John, Fred, Eric, Tom, Hugh, and Bill, converged on the house in Maryland to move and load several tons of machines onto the rental truck waiting in the driveway.


I could have probably handled the machines and foundry stuff out in the little barn in Maryland myself, but getting them out of the house — they were in the basement and needed to be muscled up the narrow stairs, down the ramp, and across the yard — was clearly beyond me.  It is indeed frustrating how merely sitting in place for three decades had increased the weight of all this stuff.


Special thanks goes to JohnR for coming a day early and helping get everything set up.

The weather report all week had been foreboding for Saturday; snow, sleet, and freezing rain.  Much to everyone’s delight dawn that morning revealed only a light overcast, which held until just moments after our work was completed several hours later when the freezing rain began.

With a double 2×10 ramp laid on the basement stairs up the the deck level, another ramp down from there to the ground level, and a 75-feet long runway of 1/2″ plywood on the ground, we had a “clean” shot to the truck.  Everything was strapped to dollies, and thanks to the genius of FredG bringing his portable winch — I gotta get me one of them! — big heavy loads were creeping out of the basement in no time.

In about two hours we had everything to be removed from the basement and loaded on the truck, and another hour emptied those things we were getting from the little barn.  We concluded with a festive meal of Mrs. Don’s home-made turkey soup.


Sunday morning we pulled into the driveway at The Barn, where the weather was considerably colder with several inches of snow on the ground.  My pal Tony, a local contractor who keeps an eye on the place when we are not there and harvests venison when the time is right, had arranged for a snow plow to clear the path.  Still, the 10%+ incline up the driveway to The Barn was a challenge we overcame with four wheelbarrow loads of gravel on top of the ice.  In less than an hour Darren and Rick had everything out of the truck and into the formerly empty bay.


Meanwhile Tony was completing the installation of an amazing little wood stove he had salvaged from one of his renovation jobs.  As we were finishing unloading the truck he was firing up the stove, and it is a simply superb addition to the facility infrastructure.  It will heat the lower space and then radiate up to my shop above.  The stovepipe runs through that space right next to my sharpening station, and between the grills in the floor and the stove pipe, the space warms quickly and remains that way, helped by the R43 polyisocyanate foam insulation panels surrounding the envelope.


Later that evening I was shuffling all the space’s contents to make sure I could move around, there is still much to do, and the stove kept the place t-shirt warm.  Magnifique.