How to Laminate Posts for a Pole Barn

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Thick wooden posts can be built up by laminating smaller pieces of lumber with glue.
Thick wooden posts can be built up by laminating smaller pieces of lumber with glue. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A pole barn is made with a frame composed entirely of dimensional lumber. These kinds of barns rely on sturdy posts to hold up the rest of the frame. While smaller barns can be built using 4-by-4 posts, multistory barns may require bigger posts that are often difficult to find as a solid wood member. Fortunately, the glue lamination process allows you to build up nearly any size post from smaller, readily available lumber.

Things You'll Need

  • 8 southern yellow pine boards, 8 inches wide, 1 inch deep and 10 feet long
  • 1 gallon premium wood glue
  • Roller brush with 4 replaceable rollers
  • Roller paint pan with 4 disposable liners
  • 20 C clamps with 8-inch wide jaws

Apply a layer of glue to one of the 8-inch-wide faces of one of the boards. Apply the glue with a roller and a paint pan with a disposable liner.

Place another board against this glued side so the two boards align perfectly on all four sides.

Place the two boards on edge. Apply a C clamp over the center of the two boards and tighten. Working from the center out, apply nine more clamps, spaced a foot apart, and tighten them fully.

Turn the boards over and apply 10 more clamps; each clamp should align between two clamps on the other side. Tighten the clamps.

Wipe off any excess glue that has squeezed out between the boards. Allow the glue to set for at least an hour, and then remove the clamps.

Using a fresh roller cover and paint pan liner, apply a layer of glue to the two exposed 8-inch-wide faces of the glued-together boards.

Place two more boards against the glued faces, align them and clamp as previously. Allow the glue to set for at least an hour.

Continue to add two boards at a time to the outside faces of the post until you have glued all eight boards together. After adding the final pair of boards, allow the post to remain tightly clamped for at least 24 hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • This procedure produces an 10-foot-long, 8-by-8 laminated post. By using different sizes of lumber, you can build the post to any dimension you require.
  • Southern yellow pine is a popular wood species for barn posts because it can absorb a lot of preservative stain or other sealers.
  • You may need to resaw the ends of the post if the boards are not all exactly the same length.
  • It is important that the boards be clamped firmly along their entire length so they will bond together without gaps which can structurally weaken the post.
  • One-inch is the maximum recommended thickness for the boards in a laminated post; this helps to minimize any flaws in any given board and maximizes the amount of hardened glue in the post.

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