Help on using natural cut trees (poles) for building a shed

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Old 02-08-07, 10:01 AM
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Exclamation Help on using natural cut trees (poles) for building a shed

I want to build a wood shed for storing firewood, about 10 cords, with straight sections of cut trees from my propery to build the shed, but I have a few questions. Most of the trees on my lot are ash, red oak, beech or birch. I want to build the shed at the lowest cost, with most materials from my land. I am interested on ideas other than plywood for roof and siding.

1. Which type of tree and size would work best for using as poles and cross pieces?

1. Can I leave the bark on the poles?

2. Do I need to age or cure the poles? If so, how long?

3. Should I treat the poles with a preservative? If so, what kind?

4. Are there simple "tongue and groove" methods of attaching poles to each other? Other methods of attaching poles together? What is best?

5. Frost line in my area is 42" depth, will I need to bury my poles deeper?

6. Can I use rocks and gravel for my foundations instead of concrete? If so, any methods?

7. We get alot of snow in this area, what should be the pitch of the roof?

Any ideas or plans would help. All help in any of these areas will be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 02-08-07, 12:20 PM
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Help on using natural cut trees (poles) for building a shed

Why build a shed for storing firewood? If that is my understanding, you need very little sophistication. The more you worry, the higher the cost and the more materials you will have to buy.

If you need detailed instructions you have two choices"

1. Go over to Mass and get some from Norm - it will be a work of art.

2. Look around for neighbors that have similar needs and see what they thought they needed and how they did it.

All you really need is some sort of a simple lean-to with no sides. What you need to do is keep the snow and rain off the top of the wood piles and open sides to permit air circulation for drying. You do not need something for human occupancy and sides will encourage more critters than open circulation.

Since you apparently have an excess or wood and want keep the cost down, do not use preservatives. Bury the posts as deep as necessary for stability, since there is no need to be below the frost line. There is no need for a concrete or rock foundation.

The methods of attachment will depend on your skills and available equipment.

Dick
 
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Old 02-08-07, 07:55 PM
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Smile Norm in mass would over do it

If Norm was doing it he would be dovetailing the firewood instead of just splitting it. Thanks for the advise on setting the poles. I know my ATV will be parked under the shed until it is full of firewood. I would like to have some style to it overall instead of a tarp for a roof. I'll be getting critters anyway, that I can deal with. Should I be stripping bark off the logs? Notching logs for placement? I know from past experience that people and trademen have a hundred little secrets and hints to do the job so the shed will last at least a few years. I'm fairly handy and have a good assortment of tools but my "A" type personality and the Yankee in me wants to do it right.
 
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Old 02-09-07, 07:30 AM
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Don't use these species for Poles

I would not recommend any of these woods species for poles as they will not hold up for direct earth contact.

On the other hand, if you have some locust on your property they will last 100 years longer than the dirt they are put in!!!!

The effort you put into trying to make up all the connecting between poles (round logs) and other rough cut lumber may be more trouble than it is worth unless you have a lot of spare time.

Price this project out using PT posts and other standard framing lumber and then decide if the rustic approach is worth the cost in time you will spend adapting everything.

P.S. This shed will have to be about 80 feet long since a cord is 4 feet wide X 4 feet high X 8 feet long and you plan on storing 10 cords. I wouldn't stack the wood over 4 feet high because it is a pain to reach much higher especially if you have to reach to the back of the 4 foot depth.
 

Last edited by sgtgerryf; 02-09-07 at 07:37 AM. Reason: Added potential length dimension
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Old 02-09-07, 09:36 AM
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Pole Shed

Stripping the bark will aid in reducing insect damage.

Use six inch diameter or larger for posts.

Since the poles will be tapered, decide which side you need to be straight and plumb(approximately). You can join two pole ends together using a half lap joint.(not sure of the terminology here). Notching two poles where they cross will make a fairly decent joint. You can probably do most of this with your chain saw, but be safe! You will need large nails for this as the poles are thicker than 2x lumber. Splitting the poles, trimming to get even thickness, and turning the flat side up will give a more even surface for the roof.

Drying poles before using will reduce bending from weight, but will harden the wood and make driving nails more difficult.

Good luck. Be safe and stay warm!
 

Last edited by Wirepuller38; 02-09-07 at 09:38 AM. Reason: Addition
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Old 02-10-07, 07:57 AM
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Red face Pole shed poles

I realize that locust poles would be great but that is more of a southern speices of wood. I'm restricted to the speices that I have on my land. When I lived in Kentucky, every farmer used locust posts for fence lines. Great wood. But.... Thanks for the advice on the pole diameter. Do I strip the bark?? I figured that the shed would be approximately 24' long X 8' deep X 8' high. I could stack the wood 7' high. This is pretty typical for the area.

Thanks for the advice on notching the lumber and splitting the rails for the roof. I will be using green lumber, the sap is down in the trees right now (winter). I was considering rough slab lumber from a local saw mill for semi-open sides and maybe the roof (with tar paper over the top).
 

Last edited by WaterboyNH; 02-10-07 at 07:59 AM. Reason: more content
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Old 02-10-07, 09:39 AM
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None of those wood types are going to last long directly buried into the ground.... maybe pitch or tar on the parts that will be in contact with the ground. I perfer using concrete piers and bolting to them.

As far as the roof, 5/12 would probably be the best.
 
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Old 02-10-07, 11:58 AM
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Bark

Yes, I would strip the bark.
 
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Old 02-12-07, 09:49 PM
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Red face Found some straight standing red oak..

I found some straight dead standing red oak that has 20' straight sections, 10" tapering to 8", with no rot and no bark that I thought could make some good columns. With a concrete piling and good soaking in wood perservative and a coat of tar and bolting them onto to the pilings I think it could work well for the columns. Would you set the pilings below the frost line of 42"? Could I use granite instead of concrete? I have tons of granite "cannon balls" all over the place.
The cross pieces could or would be green timber. Do you think that would work well or should I stick to all aged timbers? Spring is around the corner and I have to decide if I should cut the green wood now. The suggestion of tongue and groove with bolts seams to be a good idea. Any other suggestions? As I said before, I may use slab lumber from a local mill for the roof and semi-open sides. Am I on the right track?
 
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Old 02-13-07, 01:21 AM
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Here's an easy way to work small stuff into your design:

http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&p=42299&cat=1,180,42288,45539

Mount on drill. Largest makes tenons 2" diameter x 4-1/4" long.
 
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Old 02-13-07, 05:50 AM
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Green Wood

Remember that if you use green poles for horizontal members such as wall stringers or rafters, these green poles will bend more easily than dried poles when weight is applied.
 
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