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Retrofit Custom-Built Door Lifts First – Then Swings In

When he remodeled one of his barns in 2005, Michigan farmer Mark Schnell took out a hayloft, tore down a silo, and put up a 15×22-foot door he built himself.  

“This building was originally set up for cattle. I wanted to be able to lift only the lower portion of the door to keep the barn more enclosed during our winters. Now, our combine and farm machinery are in there,” says Schnell. He credits a friend, Pat Bishop, for his help with the remodel. 

The door’s design does work well for storing equipment, too, since the lifted bottom portion creates higher clearance. 

“The drill turns and catches the shaft, which powers the door. When I’m finished, I put the drill up in a cupboard in case any children come into the barn. That way, they can’t raise or lower the door,” he says.   

MATERIALS: used silo winch, cable, door springs, 2×2s, sheet metal

TOOLS: Welder, grinding wheel, tape measure 

More About Mark Schnell

Michigan farmer: Along with father Larry and son Keith, Mark Schnell grows corn, soybeans, and wheat near New Lothrop in east-central Michigan. The one-time dairy operation sold its cattle in 2012.     

Off-farm work: Schnell is also a commercial construction worker. His wife, Marjorie, does the accounting for a nearby implement dealership as well as their farm. 

Family: Another son, Patrick, and his wife, Samantha, live in Georgia.

Free time: The Schnells enjoy relaxing at their cabin where they practice fly fishing.


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