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Sandstone barn build with reclaimed timber

Having an Impact
Having an Impact

This rustic barn was built with hand-dressed sandstone blocks and recycled timber to house a vintage ute.





The project


During lockdown in 2020 I decided to build a home for a 1938 Ford ute I own. I am a signwriter and had never attempted stonemasory before. Apart from the roof capping it is all my own work.




The whole thing was sort of inspired by this photo I took in 1984. It's of a 1938 Willys ute in the barn at the top of our street. I used to climb over the fence and play in it.


I eventually bought it for $500 and restored it with my Dad. For some stupid reason we sold it, and 35 years later I still regretted letting it go. 


The week after my Dad passed I spotted this ’38 Ford Flathead ute for sale.




My wife told me to build a carport for it, so I took her advice (sort of) and built the barn. The car was the inspiration for the build style of the barn: old timber and rust.


I tracked down some cheap sandstone from a guy who was digging out under his house a few suburbs away and got started.


Nearly all of it was made with recycled materials, but all the sand, cement, reo, nails, bolts and screws were from Bunnings.




Slab preparation.




First blocks.




Taking shape.




Rafters are up.




Looking good.




Getting there.




Old fence palings for the roof.




The blocks were sawn out of a solid shelf of sandstone under a house. We used a petrol saw to cut a grid to a depth of about 200mm, then busted out the blocks with a pry bar. 


Some of the blocks broke out with a decent face but 80 per cent of them needed to be shaped or at least dressed to look traditional. Some took 20 minutes or so – probably 1000 blows – to give them that hand-hewn look. I used a fossicker's hammer with a chisel-shaped point to chip away so that there were no sawn edges visible.




It was very time-consuming and not something I would have attempted without the luxury of time that Covid lockdown gave us.


I also carved a stone with the date of the build.




I drew the date on with a pencil, then I roughly drilled along the centre line of each stroke with a 6mm masonry drill. This gave me something to chip towards.


Then it was just a matter of using a small, flat cold chisel, going around chipping from the pencil line in towards the centre, creating the "V" shape as I went. 




To be totally honest I was blown away by how easy it was. It only took about 20 minutes per letter, which is a bit long – but when you know it's going to last 200 years it's nothing, right?




If you look closely you can see the 2020 block in the wall.




Almost there.






The overhead light is from an old Ukrainian motorcycle. I bought it online.


I'm happy with the overall feel of the barn but I'm not sure if I want the car in here now. I think the place would be better as a hangout, man-cave sort of thing.




After much thought, the car was bought home.


More backyard studio projects 


Bunnings Workshop member jjebw converted a shed into a comfortable and spacious sewing studio with French doors, a changing area and separate storage.




Workshop member TheSaltyreefer built a large 6m x 9m studio for his fiancee to work from home in, with regular video updates of the build as it progressed.




The DIYgals received plenty of plaudits for their backyard studio project.




Let us know if you need a hand with your own backyard building project – we're here to help.


Kind of a Big Deal

ONG I love this , it’s amazing @Ghostwriter 🤩 

Home Improvement Guru


Seriously jealous! That is a unbelievable job and you have done it justice. The stone work and then the rafters really came together! Ive never tried shaping sandstone (Tried chiseling concrete but usually to break it up) But wish I knew someone who was digging it up now! Did you end up using it as a hangout room? I never use a garage as a place to store a car lol 



Having an Impact



Hi Dave, Thanks for that,,, as I said, it was so simple to carve that '2020', seems like the lighter the stone colour, the softer the stone and that's right thru the spectrum from white to purple, (which it is like steel). Just find a decent whitish, block shaped stone and have a play, I only used a 6mm masonry drill and a cold chisel. You could use a large flat screwdriver. roughly drill the centre of the letter strokes and chip towards the holes, Then holding the chisel straight up-right I tapped in the bottom of the "V" groove to help centre it and give a bit more definition.

   I sit in there occasionally but not much.  It's a sunny spot for a coffee but it would be a bit noisey for the neighbours (for beers)  Cause it will probably never be totally finished. I'm always looking at what I could do here and there which can be tiring. I don't want to sit and dwell on it in anyway. I even feel weird showing people. I wanted it to look like a pioneer built it. That allows you to be a lot less perfect and not care too much. I just want it to feel like it's always been there and I can add to it when ever, or not at all. lol. Cheers mate. Brad 

Home Improvement Guru


Thank you for your explanation. I do like your resoning on having it at that in between stage. I have a few projects like that before but really like your description.

I find I hang out in the area where the project is and then once it gets to a point or its finished then it gets "filed" away and I dont use it. Silly I know as the effort thats gone into it. I do daydream when I see the past projects tho. :smile:



Cultivating a Following

Stunning barn and beautiful spot for it @Ghostwriter. The sandstone really makes it, and all of the individual features and personal touches tell a story. I especially love the date stamp on the stone block. Great job mate, your dad would have loved it. Definitely great idea to keep it as a man cave, just build another one for the ute!

Having an Impact

Hey Minty, Thanks for your interest and kind words, all the best with you D.I.Y. ing,,, I've pretty much based my life around it, the satisfaction and reward is worth all the efforts. Brad

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