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Author Topic: Pole-barn / equipment shelter advice  (Read 1989 times)


  • Joined Apr 2012
  • Moray
Pole-barn / equipment shelter advice
« on: February 28, 2019, 05:53:03 pm »

  I want to put up a small (3x 4.8mx3.6m bays about 2.5m-3m roof-height) equipment shelter to keep my tractor, digger and other stuff under, out of the rain etc.

  I'm planning a simple eight vertical pole structure, tied together at the top with joists and then joists on top of that, front to back, some exterior board of some sort on top of that and then metal roof panels on top of that - I'll worry about the sides another day.

  A 33kV power line crosses my land and all the poles were replaced a while ago - I managed to keep hold of the old poles - they're a mix of 9m, 7m and 5m lengths.  The thing is, though, they're enormous diameter - some are about 50cm and some are about 40cm.

  Would I be better off splitting them into quarters or halves?  If so, how would I do that without a saw-mill on site?!

  If anybody's done anything like this before, I'd welcome your advice,

Thanks :)


  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Pole-barn / equipment shelter advice
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2019, 04:20:37 am »
I built my sheep a field shelter using similar although a smaller structure: 6 poles, some simple cross members and then tin sheets on a pent roof and the sides leaving one half-side open as doorway.

I don't see any benefit to timber sheeting the roof under tin. If you need insulation under it then investigate insulated sheeting.

If you cut across one of those poles you'll see that the tar impregnation doesn't really make it to the middle so splitting them isn't such a good move unless you treat the exposed. As for spitting r cutting the poles longways.. the chances of having straight enough grain to get away with wedges.... I wouldn't bother and handsawing it would be a job for a younger man. A chainsaw sounds easy but controlling that from running off would be a mare.. definately a case of a new perfectly sharpened chain so it doesn't have any bias on it's cut and take it slow and then a  lot of dressing the cuts - more work than benefit.

I have a full-size dutch barn here and park some of my tack under that but weather from the sides gets to more than halfway so you really would need some side cladding to achieve your goal.

Rupert the bear

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Pole-barn / equipment shelter advice
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2019, 10:03:10 am »
don't split the poles for reasons above as you need the strength of an entire pole and before cutting them inspect the area to be cut carefully , there maybe an earth wire running the length of the pole , sometime this can be well embedded and hard to see.  On the upside the earth wire is worth recovering as they (up here anyway) are copper
I know you have your own idea of size but  3x 4.8mx3.6m , have a wee think , best to make it bigger now than regretting it later .


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Pole-barn / equipment shelter advice
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2019, 12:08:38 am »
When making the joints at the top  do as much as work possible on the ground . A chalk line and a plumbob  will allow you to get both ends of the poles in the same plane once you locate the center of each end of the poles .

 Buy your own auger or  get a short carpenters one made up to give you abut 20 inches in length for the 19 mm zinc plated steel studding that you use to bold them together and use big construction washers  under each nut . For your upper most rails  make a shallow  cut in each one so it sits on the rail underneath it and make a shallow hollow in its uppermost face before you use the auger to make the fixing hole done so the nut & washer are not going to stick proud  in the sheeting you use to cover the shed
  It's also well worth using stainless steel banding strapping to tie the roof to the uprights .. dong it as you go not trying to do it at the end of the job .

 My pal has purchased  a roll of the fine lorry netting  , sat down and hand sewed  a double hollow hem for the top so he could insert  a length of 30 blue alkathene waterpupe to hang it from the roof back front & sides .

Giving a foot or more extra length  to make a similar hem on the bottom, again using the water pipe to weigh down the netting so  it is about 2 inches too long when resting on the floor . He's used 6 mm stainless studding washers & nuts  to make pinch bolts drilled  through bottom weight .
 Each net " drop down " net  is about 8 foot wide   and he's overlapped them by about six inches .  getting things in & out is done by either slipping in between th drop down or for bigger things  rolling he netting up to the required height and slipping a long thin reusable cable tie  through the netting & round the pipe to hold it in place
 It's been in use for 5 years or more is good to get out of biting winds & tends to be quite dry inside .  It has stood up to all manner of weathers .. though he did have to knock the netting on a couple of occasions when the netting was choked with snow .

If you can't locate a long auger or  have difficulty in getting a 20 mm one 150 mm long ..( Sandvik electricians wood auger bit ) it extended PM me & I'll turn up a sleeve for 8 mm threaded rod and turn  down the small auger shank to thread it as well . All you'll need to do is stud lock it together using blue or green stud lock

 Obviousy you'll have to send me the electricians auger  to get it threaded unless you have some facility for doing it at your end  .

Notice I say auger not spade put

 Big tip..

Only use a decently powered electric drill and driil slowly other wise you'll like as not heat up th tars in the wood and choke the cutter & hole every time you try to make the hole .  Have a bean tin of diesel handy to stand the tarred up auger in for a few min so you can wipe it off with a strong rag
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting


  • Joined Apr 2012
  • Moray
Re: Pole-barn / equipment shelter advice
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 10:51:03 am »
Hello all,

  I'm very sorry I didn't reply to your very helpful posts earlier in the year - I forgot my log-in details and then other things took over before I got around to sorting it out, so appologies for that.

  Everything you say is very helpful - having now dug the poles out ofthe undergrowth, I can see that my original size estimates were based on just the "fat" ends of them and they're all a far more manageable roughly 30cm diameter, although they are a mix of 9m, 7m and 5m long, still.

  I want to make a start on this before winter moves in and I think getting the poles in the ground will be a positive first move.  I've considered the idea of drilling holes with a tractor-mounted auger, but I think my ground is just to full of rocks for this to work.  My other idea is to dig out holes with my 180 digger, stand the poles up in them and then back-fill the holes with rocks and concrete, but the digger bucket is pretty big (610mm / 24" wide?) and the holes it leaves are also, therefore, quite big - it would need a lot of back-filling and concrete for each pole.

  Any thoughts from wiser heads would be appreciate as to the best plan of action,

Thanks :)


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Pole-barn / equipment shelter advice
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2019, 05:18:58 pm »
Have you noticed that on the poles there is a horizontal bar cut in the pole just beneaththe place where th length is indicated .
 That mark should be ten foot from the bottom of the pole . If the poles are good at the bottom it's handy to use them as the levling height and also  to cut & notch all the tops of  poles as to how they will be when it's all erected and bore the holes at ground level too .

 If you can dig the hole as wide as the bucket,  you'll need to have the hole about 5 feet deep
Use sighting pegs and strung builders lines to get exact line up of the holes and draw on a plan where the pole body will be  ..which side of the line .

Then it's not too difficult to dig the holes with the all important corners of the holes  all in the same place relative to the poles and dig the back wall and one adjacent wall  vertical at the dead centre of the hole so that when you put the pole up it can lean against two solid walls in a corner.

It might be useful to make three simple T sighting stick to align all holes to a known depth too .  One placed either end of the row of poles run and use the third to adjust the depth of the holes so if you cut them to the right length all the tops of the poles will be at the same height.

 If you have a six foot level remember the poles are tapered so you won't be able to get  true vertical unless you  tape a thin adjuster block of wood on the spirit  level at the top end to compensate for the taper .     
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting


  • Joined Apr 2012
  • Moray
Re: Pole-barn / equipment shelter advice
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2019, 07:52:14 am »
Hi Cloddopper,

  thanks very much for all your advice - I really appreciate it.

  I'd noticed the horizontal line on the poles, but didn't realise that was what it signified.

  Although the poles are all 5m+ long, I don't want to build a barn that tall - if I cut them down to 3m + the length in the ground, do you think I'd get away with a depth less than 5'?  I only ask because, even with my digger, about 1m is as deep as I can go before the ground's so hard, I'm just lifting the digger off the ground rather than digging any deeper!


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Pole-barn / equipment shelter advice
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2019, 10:23:23 pm »
The rough rule of thumb is 6 " below for every foot above for poles & gate posts
 I'd be tempted to dig as deep as you can keep the holes to say 2x 2 foot square and use rubble mixed in concrete to back fill the holes as you need to keep it anchored in strong winds . 

 A thought that cheaper perhaps ?
 Can you get hold of a light road hammer & suitable genny to bust the holes deeper to say four feet ?
  I ( My wife driving ) used the boom of our hired  digger & ropes to lift a medium weight  road hammer with spike & spade  in & about the many holes as I dug down five feet into goodness knows how many feet of compacted rubble ( old land fill site part of the rubble road way  )
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting


  • Joined Apr 2012
  • Moray
Re: Pole-barn / equipment shelter advice
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2019, 04:00:49 pm »
Thanks for that - that's helpful to know.

Tying a road-hammer to the digger boom sounds like a right old laugh!

I'm looking at getting a narrower (12") bucket, which should help...

Thanks :)


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