Wildcat Creek Brick Company

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Next day snow

Its amazing that these pics are one day later than the red barn roof pics I just posted.

We got about 11" of fresh snow.

With warmer temps its almost completely melted now. Just in time for more work on my barn this weekend.

Red roof barn

Last weekend I finally got the chance to begin installing the metal roof onto my barn!

I have never done this before. I had always used fiberglass or alsphalt shingles. With a bit of online research and advice from others that had done it before, I got the hang of it.

The weather took a turn colder the next day, so Im waiting for this weekend to get back on the roof to get more done.  Got a long way to go. What do you thing of it so far? I like the look of it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Maiden voyage across my bridge.

Everything went perfect. I drove my tractor, all 8000 lbs of it, across my bridge today. There was no signs of trouble at all. I had set up a crude measurement gauge under the bridge. I wanted to se if I could detect and measure any sag in the bridge as I placed a load onto the deck. If there was any, I couldnt tell. It showed no signs of any downward movement as I drove the tractor across.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bridge construction update for November 2012

     Here are a few photos of my recent work on the bridge across hurricane creek. I am backfilling the concrete abutment with fill dirt from the nearby hillside.
     It has been awhile since I posted any updates. Some other bridge info for you, the deck is made from pressure treated 4x6 12 ft timbers. That has been the single most expensive part of construction for me. Each board cost around $18 and there are 65 of them!
The underlying bridge beams are from trees I had cut down in the woods over the summer. Averaging 12" in diameter and over 40 ft long. They were a real handfull for three of us to drag across into place.


The old dozer is my Allis Chalmers HD5. Built sometime in the 1950s. It has served me well over the years. I hope to one day give it a much deserved restoration.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A clamp kiln firing.

Here is a link to a video I made of my clamp kiln firing last summer.


This firing took place last summer at the canal park in Delphi, Indiana.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Roof raising on my barn tower

A few weeks ago I was able to lift the roof to my barn tower.  With the assistance of my two sons Will and Dan. I am not wild about high places and came up with the solution to constructing the tower roof in place was to hoist it up with my jib crane.

Here is a series of photos that show the lifting of the tower roof.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My barn construction progress update for 3/1/12

A quick photo update of my barn construction progress for 3/1/12. The first trusses are set.

Maple Syrup

This past weekend William and I boiled down 30+ gallons of maple sap over a wood fire. The day was cool and breezy, but the fire kept us warm. Early on we decided to put a lid over the large boiling pot of sap in order to prevent smoke and ashes from ruining the taste of our syrup. It took us about 7 hrs to reduce by boiling the sap down to about 4 gallons of sweet water.

We finished boiling the sap indoors over the stovetop. The final result was about 3 and 1/2 quarts of very tasty 100% homemade maple syrup. YUM!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Maple syrup and barn progress.

The weather has been very good for february here in Indiana. Because of that I have made some good progress on barn construction. With the help of my two sons, I have began erecting the roof framing. This excites me, to see the barn start to look like a barn.

We have took on another project this year. My eldest son William, my dad, and I will be collecting and boiling down sugar maple sap to try our hand at homemade maple syrup.

We have tapped 5 trees so far and will be tapping at least that many more soon. With the warm 45'F days and freezing nights, the sap is flowing pretty well.

For any of you that havn't heard of where maple syrup comes from, heres a simple web definition for you.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, although it can also be made from other maple species such as the bigleaf maple. In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter; the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in the spring. Maple trees can be tapped by boring holes into their trunks and collecting the exuded sap. The sap is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup."

I will post updates when we have collected enough maple sap to boil down into syrup. Ive been told it takes about 35 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. So thats gonna take a bit of time.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Barn construction update 1/10/12

Heres a photo of the barn build so far. Its dimensions are 24' x 24'. Till now I have had it pretty good this winter with the warm weather. But as of today winter and cold is back.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

High water

Heavy rains last week put the bridge to its first real test of its foundation. Several inches of rain pushed the water level of the creek up to within a few feet of the bottom cord of steel. All went well. No damage or undermining found. Very happy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bridge construction update, temporary deck.

Here are a couple photos that show that i have installed a narrow wooden deck on the bridge. With the weather getting cooler and winter on the way, I wont have time to cut and prepare all of the heavy timbers for the full deck. That will have to be done next summer. So, until then, to get use out of all my hard work so far, I went for a temporary decking for my 4 wheel ATV.

This will be a big help during the heavy spring rains and high water. Crossing the creek in high water has been near impossible since my old bridge was washed out.

Next year I hope to redeck it for heavy traffic, like the big truck in the background.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Visit to a nearby treasure. Colonial Brick kilns at Cayuga.

Driving home to Indiana from Denver, Colorado over the weekend with my wife, my sister and her daughter, I made a short visit to a brickworks in Cayuga, Indiana. Id known about it being in my state for over a year. But never had found time to make the trip to see it.

The 10 or so beehive downdraught kilns are operated by Colonial Brick Co. and still are coal fired to this day. They specialize in recreating old and out of date brick for important historical restorations all over the country.

The sights and smells of the smoke here is a powerful step back in time. If I lived closer, id work for free on the side, just to learn better some of the old ways they made and fired the brick.

I really want to build my next brick kiln like one of these scaled down for my needs. Maybe next year.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bridge in location

Finished moving bridge over the piers yesterday. Now waiting for the rain to let up so I can jack it up and level it out. Then its time to anchor it in place and work on the decking.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bridge on the move

Today was a good day. The bridge is now resting on its concrete piers. It was manual labor with a ratcheting chain winch and two comelongs. I used the dozer as a fixed anchor point only. The move and positioning of the trusses was too delicate for brute diesel power.

I spent all day on the move, inch by inch it crept outward over the abyss. Help arrived in the afternoon when my son returned home from school and lend me a hand to finish the work. Im greatful for his help. Im blessed with two near adult sons that I lean on from time to time.

The work is far from done, as now I have to finish the positioning and anchor the bridge in place. Then its putting in the beams and deck.