Arched Rafters

A few years ago some friends of Brad’s had taken down an old arched barn on their property. The barn was a classic Gothic arch shaped barn, similar this picture of the Goodrich-Ramus Barn in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

Wikipedia has a nice article about the Goodrich-Ramus Barn. I suspect that history of the barn here in Pennsylvania is very similar. "The barn was built in 1942 from materials made by Rilco (Rock Island Lumber Company), a subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser located in Albert Lea, Minnesota. The company had a number of premanufactured barn patterns available from a catalog. This method of barn construction became popular in the late 1930s. The roof has a Gothic arch shape formed from laminated timber rafters. The glued, laminated timber rafters had been developed in Europe and introduced to the United States in 1934. The United States Department of Agriculture issued a technical bulletin in 1939 on the use of these rafters, and Rilco was founded in Saint Paul, Minnesota that same year. Rilco’s marketing literature at the time promoted the rafters as being “factory-fabricated and engineered”, and the rafters were shipped predrilled and ready for assembly with all hardware included."

Transporting the rafters with our small truck presented it’s own small challenge. The truck has been a work-horse around the farm. After constructing a rack to hold the rafters secure, we got as many rafters as we could back to the shop.

Over the past few years, Brad has managed to find several uses for the rafters. A Rafter Bed, a few versions of a Rafter Bench, a Rafter Table, and even putting them back to use in a building that we affectionately call The Toaster.

Rafter Bed

The Rafter Bed, shown here at our 2005 Studio Open House. The spindles on this bed are tool handles.

Rafter Bench Version One

This Rafter Bench used found metal parts for legs and recycled pitchforks in the back support.

Rafter Dining Table

The Rafter Dining Table used a recycled steel plate set into a frame from arched rafters.

The Toaster

In the summer of 2006, we used some of the rafters to create a movable storage shed.


The Toaster is built on large skids. We can move it into position with the tractor. We use is mostly for wood storage and sawdust storage.

Rafter Bench


In late 2006 and 2007 Brad began making this version of the Rafter Bench.
We just made one more this year that can be seen here.