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I'm planning to build a pole barn soon. I've done a pole building before but it was a lot smaller than the one I'm planning now. The one
I'm planning is overall 24 feet X 42feet. It has a main section of 18 x 24 & two side sheds measuring 12'x24.

My question is, I don't have a rotary laser level to help in getting all the holes to the same depth, or to assist me in getting the poles set at the same height. Pole height is critical because I have to notch the poles to carry the top band lumber. I really don't want to try to notch poles after they are installed. That would mean working with power saws while on a ladder. As far as squaring the building, I've got that under control. Just need an idea or two on how to adjust pole height. I'm trying to stay at + /- 1/4 inch. on pole height & the notching I need to do. Thanks. :banghead:
 

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I "imagine" you are planning on at least 3'-0" depth of poles?
If that sounds about right, lay out your 4 main corners first, dig your posthole 3 foot deep, take a 4"X4"X8' cut half in two, set them in the holes, run a string-line across the top, and hang a line-level on the string.
Once you establish the 4 main postholes are at the depth you want and the bubble on the line level is where it's supposed to be, you can work outwards from there, transferring the line and line-level to the other post holes you plan on.
It doesn't matter from that point if the poles you plan to use are 10 foot tall, 12 foot tall, or however tall. As long as the poles are all the exact same length you will hit your target of +- 1/4".
Hope this helps? Good luck, and stay safe. :bigthumb:
 

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Maddog, Almost sounds like an insurmountable task.
 

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I think psrumors is on the money as far as hole depth.

I would like to tag on a question as it is related to setting posts. Which is better, dumping quickcrete in the hole and adding water, or mixing and then filling the hole. I had planned on renting a concrete mixer and doing the latter, but every time I'm talking it over, I get different opinions.
 

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I think psrumors is on the money as far as hole depth.

I would like to tag on a question as it is related to setting posts. Which is better, dumping quickcrete in the hole and adding water, or mixing and then filling the hole. I had planned on renting a concrete mixer and doing the latter, but every time I'm talking it over, I get different opinions.
Maybe a new thread with your question?
 

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I would do the vertical cuts with the pole out of the ground. I'd calculate how far to cut and cut about one inch more. Even if that means dropping the pole into the hole, marking it and pulling it out to make the cut.
The horizontal cut I would do with the pole set. I would do as much as possible (install wall grits, corner bracing, etc) before making the horizontal cuts.

If you insist on doing all the cutting before setting the poles, cut about 6-8 inches lower than required. Then after the poles are set, cut individual blocks to correct size for each pole to set on your notch to make it the correct height for your truss carriers. You could even use the scraps cut from each pole. I would attach with Spax bolts.
 

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I've had Morton Buildings put up two pole buildings. They dumped one sack of concrete mix into the hole before setting the pole, then added 3 more and filled with dirt/clay up to the surface. All the poles had a piece of rebar run through and sticking out about 3 inches near the bottom which got covered by the sack of quickcrete.
 

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Somehow I can't imagine notchin the poles before setting them. Personally, it is enough to get them plumb and square let alone trying to set the level too. As was earlier suggested, leave them long and cut them after they are set. However you do it though keep us "posted".


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Discussion Starter #12
I "imagine" you are planning on at least 3'-0" depth of poles?
If that sounds about right, lay out your 4 main corners first, dig your posthole 3 foot deep, take a 4"X4"X8' cut half in two, set them in the holes, run a string-line across the top, and hang a line-level on the string.
Once you establish the 4 main postholes are at the depth you want and the bubble on the line level is where it's supposed to be, you can work outwards from there, transferring the line and line-level to the other post holes you plan on.
It doesn't matter from that point if the poles you plan to use are 10 foot tall, 12 foot tall, or however tall. As long as the poles are all the exact same length you will hit your target of +- 1/4".
Hope this helps? Good luck, and stay safe. :bigthumb:
I like it. My post holes will be running between 3' & 3 1/2' deep. I'm not comfortable with those line levels but I guess they work OK. I might hang three of them along the string line. It may be overkill, but I will feel good about it. Thanks!
:bigthumb:
 

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Just be sure to use one of those 4 main posts as a "benchmark" when working outward from the main building, if you plan on extending some shelter wings onto the main building, in order to maintain the same elevation you are aiming for.
 

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The way Morton does it now, since they are using a Permacolumn type thing, is there is a threaded leveling foot installed on the bottom of the column. They adjust them til they are level, then pour concrete in to lock it all down and create a footing.
 

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The way Morton does it now, since they are using a Permacolumn type thing, is there is a threaded leveling foot installed on the bottom of the column. They adjust them til they are level, then pour concrete in to lock it all down and create a footing.
They get all the treated post sections set in the ground, then they use a laser to mark the posts to one level point and drive a spike in part way, then they have a jig they slide over the post and cut each of the three pieces to the final exact same elevation. When they set the upper segments of the poles everything is perfectly level. It's quite slick to watch, unfortunately I wasn't there when they did it on this building. I watched it when I had my first building erected over 20 years ago.

Hope I explained it well enough.

Dave B.
 

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I have been making a living working mostly by myself for quite some time. When I have a project the size and time duration of the one you are talking about I start out building a set of saw horses tall enough to help with all high jobs for the duration. The last barn I built was oak post and beam (not a pole barn) but I built a set of 8' horses 4' long with cross bars (steps) at a comfortable interval from the ground up. You can set planks at any height needed for a variety of tasks from your cutting all the poles the same height ( I am pretty fussy and would want this as close to perfect as I could get it, you can also focus on setting good poles instead of the height) to attaching siding or painting when you are all done. I like to cut all my eave plunge cuts on the rafter tails after the rafters are up so I get a straight line irrespective of the straightness of the top of the wall as well. Frequently you will end up with planks at several heights to make it easier to do thinks like attach siding at your purlins or hold a variety of hand tools. They have to be made with personal safety and longevity in mind but if you have a set they will make your life a lot easier. Three horses will get about 28-30' of coverage down a side , and if you plank and stock them well you can do a whole side worth of task without ever coming down.
The set I made for the oak barn the home owner still uses for painting and maintainence projects around his property. They can always be shortened or if nothing else works tossed in the fire while you are drinking that celebratory beer at the party when your new barn is done. Be safe!
 

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Manomet,

I'd love to see some photos of your work. A neighbor down the street just rebuilt an old farm house. They demo'd most of the original structure and added a large "L" shaped two story post and beam addition and attached garage. I watched the framing go up when I could. They had a couple of guys come in who lived out of a travel trailer on the property for a couple of months. Nothing was pre-fabricated. Everything was done onsite. It came out very nice. Slow going but definitely unique.

Frank
 
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