MrEarl

My BUICK SALES and SERVICE GARAGE

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FINALLY getting around to sharing the build of a long time dream with y'all, my Buick Sales and Service Garage. The build started about two years after I retired and I had completed about half of the honeydew list that just seemed to keep getting longer. I have always had a thing for old Buick dealerships, especially those of the 50's but more especially the very early one's of the 20's and 30's.

 

Many early car dealers came from the ranks of men involved in the horse related trades such as carriage sales, livery stable operators and blacksmiths. These merchants and tradesmen often engaged in automobile sales and services as sidelines and eventually turned their operations into full scale auto sales and service businesses. Many of the early dealerships also served as a gas station and garage. The materials used on the fronts of the early buildings were usually wood lap, vertical board and batten or metal siding. Later buildings were more of a masonry type construction.


My build is basically a 40X40X12 ft pole barn with a lap siding stepped false front that was typical on 1920-30's era car dealership/service garages. There will also be a 12 x 20 metal clad interior wall welding shed on the back.  The building will be used to house and work on my collection of '54's, the '38 and the '79 wagon. I initially considered building a 40-50's art deco style building but since my wife and I have spent the last 30 years building our Victorian farm house style home, barns and gardens, we decided to stay with that general theme. Here's our home, the old Buick Barn and the cobblestone well house.

 

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Before jumping into telling about and showing the actual work that has been going on over the last few couple years, let me try and set the mood for the build with some old photos of buildings of the period.

Here is what I first considered, but totally not in the style of the rest of our buildings.

 

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These represent more the spirit or feel of what we like. And here is a video that I think might help capture and set the mood. I'll be sharing a few of my favorite tunes through out this build so if you want, click on it then come back here and read on ...... or ignore it.

 

 

 

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And my most liked and the one I used as a basis for the front false facade of my build.

 

 

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And here is a graph paper sketch of my planned build. That’s all the designing or plans I will work from. The same way I have built the other two barns. I did do a full rendering of the house though as Rita didn't trust that I could get it all right by sketching on a paper bag.   I would like to see it drawn up with some of the fancy on line design programs but gave a couple a shot and saw right quick that by the time I figured out how to use them I could have the building built. I will probably sketch up some interior renderings for layout of a couple of walls and work- stations but nothing fancy. I’ll share those as I do them.

 

The sketch is roughly 1in/5ft. I made a change to the height from what is shown there. I decided after drawing to go with a 5/12 pitch roof so I could have a decent amount of vaulted ceiling in the garage part. The wall height is 12 ft but the front 12 ft of the inside will be office area with a flat ceiling. This sketch is drawn to a 4/12 pitch so the height of the building will be increased about 20 inches. I don't think that will upset the width to height ratio/scale of the looks of the building that much. Scale is one of the most important factors in building and landscaping.  I'll just adjust each step accordingly. The front will have what I call a brow of 5 ft supported by L shaped brackets

 

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And here is the site before start of clearing and grading. You can see the small orchard, a chicken coupe and a lot of the old emu/goat/Buick parts sheds that will get demolished to make way for the build. I've drawn in the footprint of the new 40X40. (nts) My dream is to have the field out in front of it covered in Buick's some day, not necessarily mine mind ya, but maybe a big BCA Forum Party.

 

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And then the site after grading with silt fence and temporary grassing started. 

 

 

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Let me go ahead and get this out of the way. The county does not require inspections for agricultural buildings such as pole barns etc. The only inspection that will be required will be an electrical prior to service being installed. So that is why I am able to begin the build and plan/design as I go. I designed and drew up the house and the barns. We had the house framed up, wired, plumbed and the masonry chimney built but my wife and I did the porches, most of the siding and interior (except sheet rock, I DONT DO SHEETROCK!!!). There is a lot of salvaged heart pine, architectural pieces etc inside the house that I spent years pulling out of old houses. I singlehandedly built the other two barns and other farm buildings, but all that was when we were a few years younger. I will be 68 soon and have slowed down just a bit, but I think I still have what it takes to do this one. Have found that balance is one of the first things to go so may not be skipping along rafters and floor joists like I use to.

 

Here is the view from the back porch. And some pictures of some fencing, sheds and outbuildings that had to come down.

 

 

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I really hated to see the ol chicken coop go but got kinda tired of black snakes eating the eggs and raccoon and foxes helping themselves to the hens.

 

 

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These sheds started life as emu sheds then when they flew south were used for breeder South African Boer and New Zealand Kiko meat goats. Goats were fairly profitable, the emu, not so much.

 

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Best way I could figure to get the shed roofs on the trailer was to sacrifice the posts by incorporating hinges in them so they could be lowered gingerly down on the trailer. Well maybe not so gingerly after all. I was so shook up after it hit the trailer like a ton of bricks I forgot to take a picture of it on the trailer as proof that it did work.

 

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The OSHA Safety inspector was on hand to insure no one got maimed or killed.

 

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After the fencing and sheds were down, we piled the rest of the posts and debris into a big pile and had a celebratory bonfire. Celebrating all the past work that had gone into the farming of emu, goats and chickens and the future work of building the BS&S Garage. Out with the old, in with the new... hopefully the next bonfire will be the scraps left over from the new build.

 

And what a hot fire it was...

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All that was left of all the years of work were ashes. The pins and string line were a foot below grade of the planned building elevation. Calculated it would take about 35 tandem loads of fill. We will see...

 

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Time for another song. Ol' Guy Clark,  may he rest in peace, one of the greatest song writers of all time.  Stuff That Works     

 

 

 

 

After cleaning up all the fencing and sheds it was time to start grading. Called on a retired grading contractor friend who still had his two main machines, a Cat 953 loader and a small Kumatsu dozer. He also has an old laser with a receiver mounted to his blade and could easily get grade to within a quarter to half inch. I had already shot a rough topo with my old World War ll Gurley transit I have had for over 40 years. There was about 4.5 ft difference in elevation from one end of the site to the other. So I knew that it was going to take roughly 450 cubic yards of fill ie about 40 tandem loads of good Georgia red clay.

Had to move a couple pieces of old iron out of the way before grading began.

 

 

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THEN is was time to start with cutting off and saving the top soil and then the sloping of the top bank then the fill.

 

 

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My ol Gurley gun, the transit I learned surveying on... I became an instrument man within about 2 weeks of being hired and cuttin line. My boss said I was the fastest learner on the instrument he had ever had. I told him  "Beats the hell out of cuttin briars" 

 

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We had 3 trucks running and installed the fill in 6 inch lifts all the way up. After each lift the dozer operator would simply lower the grade rod another 6 inches and level off to that. The clay was beautiful and had just the right amount of moisture to get good compaction. Each layer was rolled by loaded tandems weighing about 40K. The fill went in great with never any pumping.

 

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The big old twin Post Oak will be off the back of the garage. The first day Rita and I went out to start the lay out, we used it to orient the whole building and grounds. Can't have an old garage without a shade tree out back.  Care was taken through out the grading not to harm a root or limb of it. 

 

 

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The building itself nor the back concrete pad is within the drip line of the tree but there will be some car traffic over the roots. To make the grade of the drive work with the elevation of the garage I had 3 tandem loads of #4 stone (3-4 inch) brought in and spread to about 24 inched deep within the drip line to allow "some" air and water to the roots and prevent compaction from being driven over. As I didn't want the clay fill to act as a dam below the stone, I laid some 8 inch drainage pipe and made an aggregate drainage line down the hill to help drain the stone.

 

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After all was said and done, it took 58 loads of fill plus some from a bank in a nearby pasture I decided to cut down some in order to save on cost of fill. The difference from the originally calculated 40 loads came in when I decided to run the building pad level on out to 8 ft vs the originally planned 4 and to make the slope 3/1 vs 2/1. I plan to relocate my orchard of  apple, pear and plum trees on the slopes. (No peaches, too much spraying involved)

The finished grade and top soil piles and views from the house.

 

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You can see my old friend Hawkeye, the red tail hawk, flying over checking to make sure we were on grade.

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And with that.. Break Time! Chili is on the stove.  Hope y'all are enjoying the read.

 

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Can’t wait for the next posting!  I’m glad you took the time to show the inspirational pics.  I wonder how many people that go through this process take the time and make the effort to search their soul for a personal design.  I fear that what we really want hardly or poorly competes with economics and “standard packages”.  It takes lot of courage to start a project like this.

 

You didn’t mention utilities yet but it’s something you had to figure out early.  I had a Woody Guthrie moment or two reading and listening.

 

It’s real stuff!

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Lamar, I got tired just reading all about what you have done so far.  You know I told you about the Reno Buick Company being reborn.  I got a great start on restoring my 25 year old shop building.  I am going to follow your lead here and post photos next Spring of what I am doing up here in Doo Dah.  I have heard and read about that Red Georgia dirt - I can say that I've seen it now.  Good luck to you on this project and be careful.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from us to you all.

 

Terry and Barbara Wiegand

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Love your work Mr Earl and looking forward to the next instalment.

 

Are you going to have a customer waiting lounge like this at our local Perth Western Australia GM dealer circa 1929.

 

I can see your visitors sucking on Gin and Tonic and a pith helmet would be a nice touch.

 

Maybe some overhead belt drive machinery to manufacture those broken parts you don't have on the spare parts shelf ( not Buick of course - that would be Chev or Oldsmobile or probably Vauxhall which were handled by GM in Australia ).

 

And a little test for you Mr Earl - can you identify the car ( make, year and model ) driving out of the IN door of the second photo?

 

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Edited by 50jetback (see edit history)
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17 hours ago, JoelsBuicks said:

Can’t wait for the next posting!  I’m glad you took the time to show the inspirational pics.  I wonder how many people that go through this process take the time and make the effort to search their soul for a personal design.  I fear that what we really want hardly or poorly competes with economics and “standard packages”.  It takes lot of courage to start a project like this.

 

You didn’t mention utilities yet but it’s something you had to figure out early.  I had a Woody Guthrie moment or two reading and listening.

 

It’s real stuff!

 

Thanks Joel!!  Glad you're following. Appreciate your appreciation of my "personal design". 

 

Re" utilities. It will have it's own metered electrical and limited running water and gray water drainage. There will be an outhouse out back....way out back, next to the lilac bush. :D

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17 hours ago, Terry Wiegand said:

Lamar, I got tired just reading all about what you have done so far.  You know I told you about the Reno Buick Company being reborn.  I got a great start on restoring my 25 year old shop building.  I am going to follow your lead here and post photos next Spring of what I am doing up here in Doo Dah.  I have heard and read about that Red Georgia dirt - I can say that I've seen it now.  Good luck to you on this project and be careful.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from us to you all.

 

Terry and Barbara Wiegand

 

Thanks Terry and Barbara, Knowing what I know about what you have  been doing lately, I'm not falling for your getting tired just reading. An old house and garage such as yours will keep you mobile and going, no question.  Look forward to seeing your Reno Buick Co posts. Take a hint from me, post as you go, it gets difficult pulling it all up like I am doing.

Hope you and Barb have a very Merry Christmas!!!

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10 hours ago, 50jetback said:

Love your work Mr Earl and looking forward to the next instalment.

 

Are you going to have a customer waiting lounge like this at our local Perth Western Australia GM dealer circa 1929.

 

I can see your visitors sucking on Gin and Tonic and a pith helmet would be a nice touch.

 

Maybe some overhead belt drive machinery to manufacture those broken parts you don't have on the spare parts shelf ( not Buick of course - that would be Chev or Oldsmobile or probably Vauxhall which were handled by GM in Australia ).

 

And a little test for you Mr Earl - can you identify the car ( make, year and model ) driving out of the IN door of the second photo?

 

Thanks for following Stuart.  Will most certainly have a lounge with refreshments. I did consider an overhead belt driven fan system but will likely settle for ceiling fans.

 

'bout the best answer I can give on the car coming out the IN door is      Buick     ?

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Did somebody mention Woody Guthrie?  Have to be sorta careful what I pick of his multitude of songs, some a bit political ya know.  An old Leadbelly song done a few years later by Woody. And I bet some of you thought The Animals wrote it.

 

 

This Cedar was in the middle of the planned new roadway so had to go. Worth a shot at saving...  Throughout my construction career  my philosophy in digging up and trying to save trees has always been that "yea, diggin through the roots of a tree or filling a few inches over the roots of a tree "might" kill it, but I'm pretty sure a chain saw through the trunk of it, pretty much surely will!"

 

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Some bad news to report about this one, two years later, it didn't make. :( 

 

 

 

 

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another from Guy.... one of his more popular...

 

 

 

After the initial grading was done, it set into raining and believe me, one does not want to try and bore holes in red Georgia clay. Sticks to the hole diggers and shovels and is slippy er than owl excrement. Plus if you try and pack it, it just moves and pumps. So I took advantage of the time and cool weather to continue acquiring materials. I have used materials salvaged from old houses to build our house as well as our other 2 barns. So I went to looking for some old buildings for this build and found one old feed mill that was fixing to be demolished and a couple of chicken houses already in the process of being. I was first to get in on the chicken houses so got first pick of all the tin and lumber. These houses were built 30 or so years ago and had lots of good solid yellow pine 2x4, 2x6, 2x8 and 2x10's and 2x12's in them. Most of it is straighter than new lumber if you order and have it delivered today. Some of it had signs of powder post beetle and the rafters had carpenter bee tunnels in the two feet of exposed but it is still structurally sound enough for what I plan to use it for. You have to look at it closely and cull and select for different uses. Much of it will be used for facing of the interior walls. There was a slough of short 6-8 ft long 2x6's that I will use for that. The longer 6's will be used for wall studs and the 10's for truss carriers and interior second floor beams and joists. I typically paid $1 each for the 4's and 6's and their lengths vary from 6-16 ft, and $3 for the 10's and 12's and their lengths vary from 12 to 18 ft. BUT, don't think it comes easy. There is a LOT of time spent pulling the boards and tin, pulling nails and stacking and restacking and restacking and restacking the boards. And did I mention there is a lot of time spent restacking the boards!!! And no matter how well you try and plan the stacks, the boards you need are always on the BOTTOM.

Here is the old feed mill.

 

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And a double barrel corn shucker I uncovered in it. I have a single but have never even seen a double.

 

 

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The first chicken house I hit, got mainly corrugated tin off the sides and some beautiful patina tin off the roof.

 

 

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Also got 5-6 of these large fans at $10 each. As you can see this house had a neat air circulation system built in. The fans on either side of the house were turned off and on at different times of the day depending on where the sun was and which side of the house was shaded. I seriously considered using the system on my build but figured it would also suck in flies and mosquitoes.

 

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The Tools of Destruction,  I absolutely love a mattock. SOOO many uses around the farm and a great demolition tool

 

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I ground the head of this cutter down both on the sides and the top arch so it would fit perfectly in the bottom of the corrugation and left hardly a mark on the tin.

 

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Isn't this some beautifully patinaed tin. 23 ft long. It will be used on the vaulted part of my ceiling.

 

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Some of the lumber I got out of this house V

 

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See what I mean about stackin. The board you need is always on the bottom. You use sticks in between and ensure there is space between each piece so it can breath and stay dry. As I stacked it I was spraying it down with a chlorox and water mix, put a fan on it for a couple weeks straight and dried it good before zipping it up.

 

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A huge undertaking for sure!!!

 

Looks like you are getting there with the prep and materials, and it looks like it will be a GREAT Buick Garage when complete! I am guessing you have made more progress and doing catch-up posting as you said, can’t wait to see what it turns out like.

 

Is the desk pictured in this shot the one you mentioned would be in your “Garage Office” in your "1954 BUICK HEADQUARTERS" thread?

 

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Are you going to restore it to gray or match the Buick Engine Green tool box?

 

Your project looks great, that's for sure!

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Thanks Randall, yes definitely playing catch up and rather enjoying looking back at what has been done. I often hear myself saying "I did that!!??  Glad to see someone paying enough attention to detail to spot that old tanker desk amongst my junk.  That is one I pulled out of an old building many years ago. The top is toast and would be a tough restoration so my plans for it are to sit a piece of .25 steel plate and use it in the garage area of my shop. I have a couple more pretty nice ones that I will use in the office area, or at least one and probably sell the other. I'll see if I have pictures of them.

a Big Thanks for following!!!

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7 minutes ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Lamar, you da man!   I like the idea of a forum Buick party. 

 

  Ben

 

He he, me too. Maybe I should set a date for it thus giving me a goal for completion. How 'bout late April 2040. LOL JK,  we'll see...

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Forgot to mention, also decided to move a few pieces of old Buick iron (parts cars) whilst the loader was here. I had had the opportunity to get some free fill hauled in a couple years prior to this point, so had the grading guy level and compact it and make room for these cars which had been all in the way for years.

 

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Here's the 2nd house I pulled tin and lumber from.

Once all the inside insulation and tin is off and the side bracing is knocked down, it is a simple matter of either hooking a cable to the center center beams and pulling it over with a pick up truck or the we did this one was with 4 guys just started pushing and shaking on it and once gravity takes over it comes down like dominoes. The old pine posts were not treated other than having been dipped in tar before putting up so they typically just break off at the ground. Easy pickin once it is on the ground. And by the way, the houses were cleaned out of all the chicken litter years ago. And to answer the question before it is asked, no the BS&SG isn't going to smell like a chicken house when finished. (at least I hope not  :huh::D   A I said earlier, I spray it all down with a Clorox and wate mix and will also spray for powder post and they will have had plenty of time to air out so lets hope not. ;)

 

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Here is a neat tool the guy I bought the material from made popping the purlin's up off the rafters. I usually use a mattock but this works even better.

 

 

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Here are the rafters. Typically not many nails to deal with in them as I just cut the ends off above the birds mouth and at the other end and still end up with a good 13 ft board. There are staples on the bottom of the rafters from the insulation but I typically just hammer them in flush.

 

 

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The 2x4x12 purlins were of course full of nails though. Rafters were set on 3 ft centers so 2 nails ever 3 ft. For best production, just lay them down, nails all lined up and hammer them from one side

 

 

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turn them over and pull from the other side....

 

 

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some nice clean $1 2x4's

 

 

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After about 6 hours, nice load of 4,6 and 10x's

 

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and the next days haul of 14 ft 6's

 

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A pile of the 4x6 rough cut posts. I'll use them to build work tables and shelves.

 

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The tin I will use on the exterior sides. I will use new tin on the roof.

 

 

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I passed on this pile as it is a bit too rusty

 

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Short 6's that I will use on the interior walls

 

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Tha's pretty much it for the salvage part for structural lumber. (Wait til you see what I found for interior walls). Will be posting the actual start of the BUILD next.

Hope you enjoyed MrEarls way of acquiring building materials  :)

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, GARY F said:

Great video and I love the old pictures. I enjoy all your build projects.

 

 

Thanks for the comment Gary.  Glad you're following.

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What a great combination of ability, resourcefulness, passion, and smarts!  When I read about stacking and restacking, it reminded me of a stack of bricks I have that I have used for a couple of different projects.  Right now they are restacked again behind my shed :huh:

 

Carry on there fella!  I’ll be reading!

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Oh Lord, don't bring up bricks, it makes my fingers cramp up.  I have cleaned mortar off literally thousands of old brick (a hatchet is a great tool for that) and stacked, moved and restacked for several projects around Buick Gardens.  I still have a big stack that I will probably never use.  Thanks for the kind words Billy,  and thanks for following.

 

 

 

 

At one point when I saw the ground was going to be too wet for a couple weeks to start boring holes for the poles, and I had traded my old 96 Buick hauler in for a newer  '03 model and couldn't wait to take a road trip, the wife and I took a very enjoyable ride from Athens GA through Gadsden AL up to Savannah, TN and back down to Vicksburg MS  to pick up some CL and eBay purchases made for the new build.

 

Need some music to go along with the ride... Rita's heart throb... Steve Earle.

 

 

 


First stop was Gadsden AL. These lights were installed along the streets of Gadsden back in the early 40's and removed in the mid 80's. I scored 2 of them and the gentleman had 7 more left. Should fit the period of my build.

 

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Then on to Savannah TN where I picked up this sign I have been talking to the seller about for a couple years now. He finally accepted my offer and it will probably be hung under the front canopy of the BS&SG. The front was originally dark blue, same as the back but years of it being used to block a front door to a corn crib in the hills of TN tooks it's tole on the paint and now it has a beautiful rust patina. I like rust.....

 

 

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When leaving Savannah TN we happened to get on the Natchez Trace Parkway http://www.nps.gov/natr/planyourvisit/parkway-maps.htm and stayed on it all the way to Jackson MS. Some of the most serene and peaceful roadway we have ever been on. Speed limit only 50 MPH which probably contributed to the fact that we probably only met less than 20 oncoming vehicles all the way down. So if you ever need to go south from TN to southern MS or Louisiana and not in a hurry but could use a break from the interstates, I'd highly recommend the route. Oh and a good place to eat around Savannah is the Hagey's Catfish Hotel has some awesome cat fish and frog legs. http://catfishhotel.com/

 

Last stop was down in Vicksburg where we picked up this 322 Nailhead out of a 54 Roadmaster. Main reason for purchase was the AC parts, the 5 blade fan and high output double pulley generator. 

 

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And check out what was in the beautiful garage of the gentleman I bought the engine from. Also check out those gorgeous doors. You can bet that image stuck in my mind.

 

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and the view of the Yazoo from his back door

 

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Along the way we also spotted a couple of nice old buildings. This on Hwy 22 at the MS/TN line. I assume it was a Texaco?

 

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One day after getting back from the road trip, I was sitting on my tractor looking out at the graded building site and started wondering do I know just what the hell I'm about to do,  and this song came to mind

 

 

 

 

Oh Lord, grant me vision....
and he did....... it's going to turn out great 

 

Now Lord, grant me speed!!!

 

So lets get on with the build. After a long wet winter helped to even more compact the fill, I was eager to get some poles in the ground. Had a hell of a time finding treated bottom laminated poles down south and Carter Lumber in Winder GA special ordered me some from up north. 10 16 footers and 3 18 footers.

 

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Finally time to pull out the ol' Gurley gun and plumb bob and start the layout.

 

 

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BUT NOOOO, the weather man says it's going to rain for 3-4 days meaning 3-4 more for it to dry out enough to bore holes. Get out the plastic and cover the ground hoping to keep it somewhat dry.

 

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It worked. Finally time to crank up the ol '74 Ford 2000 diesel and auger equipped with new cutter blades and start boring. Man that fill was like virgin ground.

 

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With only a 12 inch augered hole, better use a 2x6 with torpedo level to make sure the whole is centered where the pole will be.

 

 

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Bring the 4.5 ft hole up to 4 ft with a little wet Sacrete mix footing.

 

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One of the best tricks I came up with was to use the 2x6 in the hole at the end of the pole being lifted up to make it a smooth lift up. After walking the pole up and dropping into the hole, plumb it and center it on the marks on the string, then pour in a bag of dry Sacrete and juke and tamp it, add water, let it setup, then add red clay in 3-4 inch lifts and juke and pack it all the way up.

 

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I decided not to use any metal rebar anchors or notches cut in the 6x's to anchor the poles. If a tornado wants to take the barn, what the hell do I need a bunch of splintered poles left stickin out of the ground for

 

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Ahhhm the engineered trusses have arrived.

 

 

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Let's add some cradles to the carrier beams to catch and hold the trusses. Hillbilly hurricane straps

 

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Get the north end poles up
Hmmmmm, sure would be easier to grade dump and grade the stone if these braces weren't in way...
 

 

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Braces moved 3-4 inches of stone spread

 

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Stay tuned, here comes the roof...

 

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Wow Lamar, I thought I had the most labor intensive way to get lumber but demo takes the cake.  That’s young men’s work but there’s not many other options to get the look you’re looking to get.  I have heard that the treated wood poles last longer when not encased in concrete; you must have heard the same thing.  I have to

ask about what kind of help you have?   It’s tough to run a rod and transit by yourself but you could probably do it.

 

I really enjoy seeing the useful materials get a new lease on life.  That we’ll-patina’d tin probably has nearly a century left in it and that old wood will face a much less severe service.  It’s easy to see that the same spirit that commits time and labor to repurpose materials also gives a cedar tree a second chance and makes room for old donor Buicks to continue their roles.

 

One last thing, I swear I see a Georgia peach tree in the foreground of a pic.  Thanks for sharing this.

 

 

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Lamar,

 

The more I see of your efforts, the more impressed I am of your talent, your planning, your skill, your dedication. You've been monitoring our website, sharing advice, sharing your parts and methodology, and now in addition to your beautiful and amazing home, pond, landscaping, and garage, this project really caps it all - especially with the re-purposing of salvageable materials which are both great for the job, and also add to the look and feel of the entire property. You and Rita are a credit to yourselves, as well as to the hobby in general - just wanted to let you know how much Dale and I appreciate it. 

 

Wishing you, as well as all our Buick community, the very best for Christmas, and good health for the coming year.

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