Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 150, February 2018Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
The Down to Earth Woodworker
By Steven D. Johnson
Racine, Wisconsin

This Month's Column:

• Not Strictly "Woodworking" Part 4 - Wrapping Up the Barn Project
Festool HKC 55 and FSK Guide Rail – Long Term Review

Not Strictly "Woodworking" Part 4 - Wrapping Up the Barn Project

Figure 1 - Done enough... some trim pieces are starting to go up in preparation
for the western red cedar siding, but this is mostly all cosmetic now.
The barn is done… well, done enough. The tool lock-up section has windows and doors, so now I can leave the tools I am using out at the barn, saving me countless trips back and forth to the shop. There are a couple of lights installed, and a few electrical outlets. The electrical cable isn't yet buried, but that will have to wait until the ground is not frozen solid. The exterior siding and much of the trim is also not yet installed, but with the housewrap in place, siding, too, can wait until spring. I still putter a bit on the barn most days, but with sub-human temperatures, I don't get much done. I would much rather be working in my warm comfortable shop.

Even while in my shop my mind often wanders to the things I can eventually transfer permanently out to the barn. Certain "mechanical" tools can go, work supports better suited to a job site than a workshop, things like framing nailers, a portable air compressor, and boxes of nails, bolts, and other hardware that will never find their way into a piece of furniture will also find a new home. The oil filter wrenches and other tools I use to maintain my tractor will be in the barn. I may even move some of my lumber out there, just to clear up a bit more space. Every cubic inch counts in a small shop!

Figure 2 - This tool chest worked out pretty well as a temporary stand for my Kapex. In the
background, you can see some of my tractor implements parked safely out of the weather.
I spent a fine day recently moving the implements and attachments for my tractor into the barn. I haven't parked the tractor in the barn yet, simply to leave myself some room to work, but getting the three-point hitch post hole digger, the backhoe attachment, the mid-mount mower deck, and the front end loader bucket into the barn was a great feeling. And yes, even with all that, there is still room for the tractor… I checked.

With a temporary power line now run to the barn, I started to use my Festool Kapex for some cutting duties. I don't have the Festool Kapex Mobile Miter Station, but placing the miter saw atop a tool chest worked out pretty well.

Figure 3 - Inside the tool lock-up section, the carsiding is reasonably good looking
and sturdy. This style of window trim would typically be called "Craftsman Style."
After considerable "to'ing and fro'ing" I decided to cover the walls inside the small lock-up section of the barn with carsiding. Carsiding is tongue and groove boards in nominal dimensions of 6, 8, or 10 inches wide, with a deep v-notch at the juncture between pieces. It gets its name from its use, which was originally as a covering for railroad car walls. It can be made from pine, spruce, cedar, or other materials and is very popular these days as an interior wall covering and ceiling treatment. I chose 8-inch spruce because it was locally available, reasonable in price, and the quality looked pretty good. I am using the Festool HKC 55 EB Circular Saw and Festool Guide Rail to cut the boards to length and the Festool Carvex Jigsaw (Cordless PSBC 420) to make cutouts for electrical outlets, switches, and around windows and doors. This is pleasant "cutting and fitting" work, very relaxing. I'm probably about 70% complete with the interior siding as of the time I am writing this.

You might wonder why I am still using the HKC 55 and FSB Guide Rail for cutting the carsiding after going through the trouble of setting up my Kapex… well, the answer is simple. All the carsiding is stacked in a lumber pile 20 yards from the barn, and it is easier to take the saw to the lumber than to take the lumber to the saw. I'm using the Kapex for the smaller trim pieces.

At some point I need to pause working on the carsiding inside and get the soffit installed under the eaves. Even though the "lock-up" section of the barn is fully enclosed, there is still (purposefully) a small space between the rafter blocking and the roof decking, and a bird managed to find his way into the enclosed section of the barn and got himself trapped. Fortunately, I found him and unlocked the door to let him out before he expired. I have decided to use cedar shiplap boards for the soffits… more cutting and fitting… but working up on a ladder in the wind with temps in the single digits has dampened my enthusiasm. But I will get it done… soon. In the meantime, I check frequently for curious birds.

Figure 4 - Still need to extend the door jambs and trim out the doors,
but all in due time!
Once the carsiding was cut and fit around the windows, I decided to go ahead and apply interior window trim before finishing the siding. There is no need for the trim to be extravagant or fancy… it is a barn, after all… but the trim provides another layer of air seal and gives everything a more finished look. I had plenty of one-by poplar stock, and used that to trim the windows in a Craftsman style. This is a fairly simple trim but looks nice when done. First I ripped all that poplar to the appropriate width on the SawStop Tablesaw in my shop, then carried it to the barn and cut all the pieces to length with the Kapex. The window sills are fairly deep because I like to "set" things on the sills. I used the Festool Carvex Jigsaw (Cordless PSBC 420) to make the cutouts to wrap the sill around the interior walls. I made the top header pieces in the shop one rainy evening and installed them the next day. Stainless steel finishing nails were used to attach all the window trim pieces. Someday I might even paint or stain it, but I'm not in a rush.

There are still a few feet of interior carsiding to go, but only one last cutout needed for a switched outlet high up on one wall that powers an LED shoplight. Another solid day of work should wrap up that portion of the project. I plan to put some shelves up on one wall that extends up 14-feet high. These ladder-accessible shelves will be used to hold stuff that is only rarely used, but that I need/want to keep.

Figure 5 - Cedar 1 X stock is starting to go up for exterior corner trim. In front of the Kapex
is a small stack of cedar siding, hopefully enough to get the "house-visible" section of the
barn covered.
Years ago, I had a sign in my office at work that said, "When I have a little money, I buy books. If there is any left over, I buy food and clothing." Well, the reality is that when I have a little money I buy wood, and if there is any left over, I buy other stuff. I had a little extra cash last week, so I bought some cedar one-by stock for the trim on the corners around the exterior of the barn and a small stack of cedar bevel siding. The siding will be cut to fit snugly between the corner trim boards. Just adding these corners to the barn dressed it up a fair bit and renewed my anxiousness to get the siding done. Alas, cedar siding is very… very… expensive right now, so I can only buy a small amount at a time. Hopefully I can get the most visible bit of Tyvek covered soon. In the meantime, I am willing myself to love the look of bright white Tyvek.

Figure 6 - I have no intention of covering the inside walls of the barn... it is a BARN after all!
But I couldn't resist using some cut-off scraps to cover this little section
--- a perfect place for a fire extinguisher.
The carsiding is only going to be used inside the tool lock-up section of the barn, but I simply cannot waste good scrap cut-off pieces, so I did cover one little small wall inside the barn and mounted my fire extinguisher. That's a safety precaution you definitely want to have when you build a barn this far from a water supply!

So, that's it. There is not much more to report on my barn building exercise, except this… if you ever decide to tackle a project like this on your own, you can do it! Your woodworking expertise will carry you through, and your intelligence will help you figure out how to do things by yourself that really require two or more people. And you will have a lot of pride and accomplishment when you are done!

One last note… I've mentioned the Festool HKC 55 EB and Guide Rail combo throughout this little series on building my barn, and after almost half-a-year of using it, I felt it was time to give you a long-term report on the saw, its pros and cons, subtleties and nuances, and whether or not it has a place in your tool arsenal. So please click on to page 2 to read the full report.

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Steven Johnson is retired from an almost 30-year career selling medical equipment and supplies, and now enjoys improving his shop, his skills, and his designs on a full time basis (although he says home improvement projects and furniture building have been hobbies for most of his adult life). Steven can be reached directly via email at sjohnson@downtoearthwoodworking.com

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