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OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ???

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Jim in NY

12-29-2010 17:55:32




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I've built a few pole barns for neighbors around my place and I'm always looking for an easier and faster way to square up them up. Used the 2,4,6 etc. method for awhile -- though accurate it seems as though it takes awhile to get everything diagonally correct. Any of you wise folks know of a quick way to do this ? Most of the pole structures I build for folks are 24 X 32; don't think that part matters to much, just information. Perhaps there are some good but not so expensive tool(s) that will make my part time work easier and faster for everyone concerned ? Read somewheres once where a person just laid bricks out and the squared them and drilled the holes at their points ???? Thanks Gents for any and all help. Jim

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jason the red

12-31-2010 19:33:24




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
Everbody has there own ways of doing things. Some better than others, but at the end of the day they will all get the job done. I like to establish one straight line first. This establishes the direction the building will be oriented. From this straight line, you can then use the pythagorean theorem (3,4,5) to establish
a square. I spray marking paint the total distance of the first side, drive a stake into the ground where the corner post will go and using a 100 foot tape mark 40 feet on the first side. Next leaving the tape attached to the stake, swing around 90 degrees from that mark, and strike a large arc at 30 feet. Finally, drive a second stake at the 40 foot mark, attach your tape to that stake and mark a 50 foot arc, intersecting the 30 foot arc. If you pull a string and paint through that intersection from your first stake, you have two perfectly square painted lines. From that first stake you can then layout your pole locations.

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Fort67

12-30-2010 17:51:34




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
Everyone is right. I found something easier. Put in your first post. Just make sure you set it where you want it. Then with some stakes or marking paint measure your length and width. Measure your diagonals until your corners are close. Mark your corners and dig your holes. Give your self some room in your hole so you can adjust for final check. This is as simple as it gets. I've done garages, lean to, and prefab buildings this way and never been off more than 1/4". The last one I just finished ended up being a 1/16"out. Most new houses I work around are not that close by no means.

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Terry G

12-30-2010 17:38:16




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
The 3,4,5 method is only as good as using a framing square that has sides 3 long and 4 long. Better than a 6" square but not as good as a 24' x 32' square. As others have said the best way is to figure the hypotenuse of the whole building, which is 40 on a 24 x 32. Then I prefer to lay it out the way MSD explained. Hard to get much closer than that.

Terry G



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PJH

12-30-2010 10:40:30




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
I'm old fashioned - I like batter boards. They take a little longer to set up, but they give both alignment and grade at the same time. Plus, you can take the stringline down and excavate without losing your grade/alignment control, then put it back up for the construction. All done by one man, if necessary.

I use the total diagonal measurement calculation like the posters below.

"A" squared + "B" squared = "C" squared

I also use a water level like described below.

A one man job, if necessary.

Paul

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IOWA NORTHEAST

12-30-2010 10:28:18




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
I do construction for a living, and I often get involved after some farmer or handyman has started.

Dave Sherburne NY has the ONLY WAY as far as any contractor does it. With a calculator it is so simple to find the square root. This formula is a everyday thing--length of rafters, length of steel on a roof with out using a ladder. Then you want to put the steel on the roof so it is square, need to know the length of stair lumber, and the list goes on and on, and on.

I only carry the math to a 1/16 th of a inch, because if a building is off 1/16, it doesn't make much of big deal.

You can use the rebar, pipe, if you are building a fence, but for a building, you have to put up batten boards. The eye ball method does not work period, and if you are off square, the last shingle on a roof has to be trimed---way to much wasted time, and very costly.

The problem usualy is that the first attempt to square is after the cement truck is ordered, or the neighbors and buddies are at the job site.

Do the squaaring right--no room for guessing.

A old boss I had one time would always ask (while holding the tape) What number do you need, and sure enough we always had it right the first attempt. Then we would struggle for the complete job trying to fit things in a off square building. We all told him, we would come out free of any cost and square the site on a Sunday, rather than fight the complete project.

Many folks have learned square root, but have problems with fractions in our older age. It is very simple with a calculator when doing the sqare root thing.

Those that use the 3, 4, & 5 should also explain that you can double all three numbers, or multiply them times any number, as long as you do it for all three.

Any new man on the job site must know the square root issue before he puts his apron on the first day, they will use it the rest of their lives more than likley.

A pocket calculator is less than five dollars with a square root key, and more important than a hammer to a carpender.

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PJH

12-30-2010 10:49:34




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to IOWA NORTHEAST, 12-30-2010 10:28:18  
Good post IowaNE.

One of my favorite dirty tricks is to hold the dumb end of the tape while checking the diagonals on a completed foundation. The first one will come out perfect, and the smart end guy is grinning from ear to ear. Then when we check the other diagonal, I'll cut one foot. The reactions from the smart end are priceless!

Paul



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IOWA NORTHEAST

12-31-2010 09:36:54




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to PJH, 12-30-2010 10:49:34  
I had a coworker that always though that was funny to do that. I have a zero tolerance to any type of horse play at the job site.

I got a look out of the corner of my eye, as he held the tape, and to notify the rest of the workers something was going down..... So I said ---right on when I read the tape measure.

I then called the building contractor, and gave him the thumbs up. My coworker came over to the pickup, and tried to break the news to me that the building was off, because he had held the tape wrong. I played him like a fiddle for telling me the building was not correct, and I drove away to the lumber yard.

We did a layout in a hog farrowing house once, where the measurment was a real freaking odd measurment. We had the farmers hired man hold the dumb dumb end of the 100 ft tape. Nothing was coming out correct, so we went bacvkwards with our math on the tape. When we got to the dumb dumb end, we noticed the mistake. The hired man said---OH you want me to hold it righ ON the red mark?

That line has been repeated so many times in the last thirty years we all are sick of it.

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PJH

12-31-2010 22:20:32




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to IOWA NORTHEAST, 12-31-2010 09:36:54  
You'da been ticked off every day, working with the bunch I worked with. . .

We did good work, and we had fun doing it.

Paul



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j heitkemper

12-30-2010 18:12:59




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to PJH, 12-30-2010 10:49:34  
I have done that as a trouble making kid too, building farm buildings during hi school yrs , Then in , 1973 laying out a 150 x28hog House pit We used 2 -100 ft tapes for truing ftrs. THEN THe wall people come along and Poured walls EXACTLY 1 ft OUT of Sqaure, Since it WAS a Worn OUT JOKE Brother Thought I was Messing With him because it seemed to fit fine on Ftrs , Checked and rechecked , He was CERTAIN SOMEONE was Cutting a Ft,and was giving me the dickens for pulling the tape , I WAS DOING EVERYTHING RITEAnd Claimed Innocence , Flagged down the Cocrete man going to Town and We all Checked and Rechecked and realized" SHES out of SQUARE" AND STILL IS TO THIS DAY ,, easy to do holding 2 tapes! , Was not a Problem to build Just Changed the Overhang on ALL Ends to accomadate TRUE METAL ,, walls were no problem ..For about 5 yrs after that I framed houses with another guy ,, We Had to help hide alot of sins That were poured by that guy ..I don't think He ever had to Redo a single One ,,Great GUY ,Hard Worker, Good TO everyone and all HIS HELP and never got rich off customers , POURED MILLIONS of TONS of CONCRETE .. And HE STRIVED TO DO GOOD WORK,, But all balers don't tie perfect all the Time either

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Jim in NY

12-30-2010 16:58:26




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to PJH, 12-30-2010 10:49:34  
Shame on you PJH.



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GordoSD

12-30-2010 10:26:51




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
Don't you 3-4-5? That make a right triangle. SO mark out your 24 feet end, go down the length 18 ft and mark your string. Then tape out 30 feet for the hypotenuse. (side opposite the corner). 10th grade Trig.

Gordo



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Ichabod

12-30-2010 10:10:36




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
Try the water level below. The plain hose type changes every time you move one end. You can move the working end of this one without changing the whole setup.



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jdemaris

12-30-2010 05:58:57




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
I don't think anything beats just measuring corner to opposite corner. Two simple measurements and when equal, it's square. All it takes is a tape measure.

To get level lines ON the poles once installed, nothing beats a 50 or 100 foot long water level made from a garden hose. Works great, low tech, and cheap. Just take a garden hose and attach a foot of clear plastic tubing on each end.



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Dave Sherburne NY

12-30-2010 05:20:51




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
Prawn farmer has it, It's pretty easy to figure that diagonal measurement if you have a hand held calculator A x A _____ _plus B x B _____ equals C squared (the diagonal)



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gun guru

12-30-2010 04:29:23




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
I have built several decks over the years.

I have used the 6-8-10 right triangle method. 6 squared + 8 squared = 10 squared. 36+ 64= 100

As far as squaring up a pole shed for plumb of the posts. Which I have never built one before, I would use a long straight edge level and measure each pole to each other for plumb and equal distance between each. I have always wondered how hard it would be to keep the posts true while building the shed. If it were me I know that the posts would move out of true vertical for me.

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MarkB_MI

12-30-2010 04:54:22




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to gun guru, 12-30-2010 04:29:23  
Keeping the poles plumb and even is a matter of constantly checking and rechecking. Once you get the skirt boards nailed to the posts, they'll pretty much stay put. The headers will lock them in from side-to-side, but they can still sway in and out. So you need to watch the position of the trusses on the headers and shift the headers in and out as you hang the trusses.

One of the most frustrating things is that most posts are neither straight nor parallel. Most have a slight taper that will drive you nuts if you don't realize it. They all have a little twist that can really throw your girts out of whack. Sometimes you have to shim or trim the post to keep the wall square. Really bad posts go back to the lumberyard.

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MarkB_MI

12-30-2010 03:57:24




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
Like the shrimper says. Start with 3-4-5 right triangles, then measure your diagonals and adjust your sides until the diagonals are within an inch of each other.

I assume you put your stakes several feet away from the building so you can check the position of your posts as you drill the holes and set your posts.

Rather than use a single stake for your lines, drive two stakes on either side of the line and nail a board to the stakes. That way you can adjust your strings without pulling up the stakes.

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MSD

12-29-2010 19:42:29




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
I have a calculator for construction items. Just put the length in as the rise, the width in as the run and hit diagonal and there is the correct square. Last house we are working on has 17 corners to it. Used the calculator to locate all the squares for each corner. Example: 35 ft. width 47 ft. length =58 ft-7 1/4 in. diagonal. Your 24x32 is 40 ft. even. Easiest way is with 2 tapes. Measure and mark 24 ft. Take the second tape to one starting point and go diagonally 40 ft while pulling the second tape 32 ft. from the other point. Where the 32 and 40 meet is where your 3rd corner is. Now measure from that point and the point where you measured the diagonal from and you have the 4th corner set.

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prawnfarmer

12-29-2010 18:41:56




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
Always used 3-4-5 to get the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle. 3x3 =9 4x4=16 9+16=25 Sq. root of 25 = 5
Gets you pretty close and then takes 2 tapes diagonally to prove things up.



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prawnfarmer

12-29-2010 18:53:58




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to prawnfarmer, 12-29-2010 18:41:56  
maybe better way to explain how I've always done it:
24x32 barn
24x24=576 (wide)
32x32=1024 (long)
576+1024=1600
sq. root of 1600 = 40'0" diagonal (hypotenuse)
Make sure tapes are good and taut so they don't follow ground contour and throw your measurement off



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philip doolittle

12-29-2010 18:35:30




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
Its pretty easy if you have some string. Locate the approx. 4 corners and put in a temporary post or better a piece of pipe or rebar firmly in the ground. Then take your string diaagonally from corner to opposite corner and make a mark on the string. Now do the opposite diaagonal corners and relocate the post half of the distance from end to the mark on the string. Relocate that corner post and redo the 1st diagonal measurement the same way. Then check the sides to the desired dimensions of your bldg and move to correct both length and width. Keep doing this until BOTH DIAGONALS ARE THE SAME LENGTH. When both diagonals are the same length your bldg will be perfectly square. Takes a little time but works well. Good luck

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Jim in Ma.

12-29-2010 18:25:57




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 Re: OT ? Best way to set/square up posts/pole barn frame ??? in reply to Jim in NY, 12-29-2010 17:55:32  
My Dad had a square he made out of 1/2" plywood about 4" wide. It looks like a huge carpenter's square. Would something like that work?



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