12 ideas for barns and buildings

  • Clean gutters safely

    This use-from-the-ground gutter cleaner is made of a 12-foot-long piece of 2x2-inch wooden pole with two pieces of 1x2-inch wood cut to fit the spout. Willard Pearson angled the handle so he can walk about 4 or 5 feet away from the base of his Dawson, Minnesota, home. He reports that he cleans out the eaves easily – and avoids the risk of falling.

  • Floor grate

    At John Klein’s farm in Redfield, South Dakota, they built removable grates out of 1-inch strap iron and put them in holes cut out of the cement in front of every shop and barn door. He points out that the holes could, of course, be made in the pouring stage, as well. So now the dirt falls through when they scrape their shoes, which saves a lot of time and sweeping.

  • Shop door handles

    The 5-inch horizontal handles that came with his 17-foot-high machine shed doors were just inadequate, says W. Donald Ray of Monmouth, Illinois. He pointed out to the vendor just how hard the doors were to open and suggested adding a second original handle above the first, then bolting bars onto them with U-bolts to make long, vertical handles. Now the doors pull open easily, and the handles look good, too, he reports.

  • Bucket leveler

    While painting his shed’s tin roofing, Kendall Isley, Haw River, North Carolina, needed a way to lift the paint bucket and then keep it level. He put together two 2x6s cut at an angle with rubber matting on the bottom of the boards to prevent slippage and spills. A 90-weight grease barrel with the bottom cut out holds the paint can. And by adding two chains on top, he’s able to pick it up.

  • Paint can holder

    If you use an aluminum ladder for painting, good news: There is probably a paint can holder right in your kitchen. Donald Rolf of Shenandoah, Iowa, grew tired of holding the heavy can. So he got a long-handled 8-inch cooking pot, stuck it in the end of one of the rungs on the ladder, and put the paint can in the pot. Of course, this will work all up and down the ladder and on either side.

  • Chip can paint brush holder

    Keep an empty potato chip can (that’s rinsed out) handy when using latex paint, advises Jill Murtagh of central Illinois. If you get interrupted while working, put your roller in the can and fill it with water. Then when you return, use the handle to remove the roller and squeeze out excess water by rolling it against an empty roller pan.

  • Metal roofing

    This helpful harness came about when Keith Henry had new metal roofing to install on the barn at his Jefferson, Ohio, farm. He made it from a 42-inch-long 1.25x3-inch wood strip. A worker on the ground attaches the metal roofing to the harness using a drill with a screw socket, then hooks the quick-release clip to the harness. He says it works best with two people on the roof to pull it up.

  • Hay trolley storage system

    Maury Bunn installed a hay trolley across his 60-foot-wide hay mow and cut a hole through the floor. A four-wheeler with a tilt box on the rear rack pulls a bale sled to a drive-through storage shed where it’s protected from the weather he gets in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Old snowmobile skis make the runners for the sled.

  • Pail trolley

    When it was time to tear down an old shed on Devin Middendorf’s Sauk Centre, Minnesota, farm, he saved the door tracks. Then he rebolted them on the floor joists in the stanchion barn along with two trolley wheels held together by a pipe. Pails holding towels and wash water hang by hooks on strings from the wheels.

  • No stray voltage

    To stop his bulk tank and its compressor’s stray voltage from going down the pipeline during milking and affecting the cows, Tom Heck cut 3 inches of stainless steel line going into the tank. An 8-inch length of milk hose slides over both ends of the cut line, and four hose clamps fasten it securely. He reports that the cows on his Bloomer, Wisconsin, farm are doing much better.

  • Wheels on ladder

    Instead of having to carry his extension ladder, Harry Zuhone can now push or pull it. He mounted two wheels from a discarded push mower on the top of the ladder. That modification also lets him glide the ladder smoothly up the side of any building on his Charleston, Illinois, farm.

  • Salt-fill upgrade

    By adding a salt-fill tube at his home Kendallville, Indiana, Roger Longyear saves his back and he can even take delivery when he’s not home. He fastened an 8x5-inch adapter for heating pipe to 4-inch plastic pipe with elbows. It runs from an area above the salt tank right down to the water softener. He says an 8-inch cap on the adapter keeps foreign items out.

Here are 12 practical ideas for your barns and buildings, straight from All Around the Farm.

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