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MILLERSBURG -- Soooooo. What do you know about vertical purlins? How about forebays? Or struts? Or hewing to camber? Or maybe scarf or reverse assembly joints?
If you had been among the 110 people who took part Friday, April 28, in the 18th annual Friends of Ohio Barns tour to destinations along the remote and winding roads of Holmes County, those terms and many others would be commonplace in your lexicon.
In addition to coming from throughout Ohio, those on the tour came from as far away as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana and North Carolina, all of them hungry for knowledge about the barns of Holmes County, wanting to know about construction features and techniques, the ethnicities from which their designs derived, unusual or unique details and tips on how to care for them.
Leading that discussion was renowned timber framer and barn expert Rudy Christian of Burbank, who at each of the six barns the tour stopped and took the lead in spotlighting minute details of the structures, telling why they were there, how they were created and what they added to the integrity of the structure.
The tour, traveling via two motorcoaches, stopped at the Shreiner Barn at the new Holmes County Fairgrounds, at the Pennsylvania German barn restored by Loren and Barbara Lang, the Holmes County Home barn painted with the Ohio Bicentennial Logo, as well as the very early 19th century Kurtz stone barn outside of Benton, the Sam Erb Barn and Claude Ruston Baker's eye-popping Legends of Music Barn.
Those traveling the farthest were Shane McConnel and his son, Stone, from Otto, N.C.
Shane, who dismantles barns in western Ohio and Indiana for reconstruction, said he always comes to the Friends of Ohio Barns tours and conferences "because I learn so much. Every time I come I always learn something new about building and joinery techniques and it helps me in my dismantling and restoration efforts. It's always a good group and lot of fun."
Dave and Donna Anderson of Wooster were taking the day away from their own historic farm and barn just west of Wooster to see what they could learn as well. The Andersons listened in rapt attention as Christian talked about such techniques as scribe ruled construction, double-canted purlins and teasel tenons.
Donna Anderson said they thought the 1875 Lang barn, with it numerous unique features and elaborate architectural details was, by itself, worth coming on the tour.
Barb Beck of Lexington, who tried out a swing suspended from the rafters of the Lang Barn, said she and her husband are barn aficionados, live in a barn home and always come to the Friends of Ohio Barns conferences.
Loren and Barb Lang accepted a plaque from Friends of Ohio Barns recognizing the tremendous amount of work and money they put into their showplace barn. Barb Lang quipped, "And does that (award) come with a check?"
Laura Saeger of Burbank, one of the founders of Friends of Ohio Barns, said she was thrilled with the turnout for the three-day conference, which opened Thursday with a workshop at the historic Jonas Stutzman farm near Walnut Creek and closes today with a barn seminar held at the Barn at Flying Ridge Hunt Club.
Reporter Paul Locher can be reached at 330-682-2055, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.