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Teardown & Upcycle: Reclaiming barn board with a Tacoma

Mar 29, 2017

Toyota Tacoma Pulling Down Barn

What started as a straightforward question about where a friend sourced his barn board from, soon turned into a serious test of the power of his Tacoma.

“A buddy of mine is a barn board supplier, so one day I asked him where he gets it from. He told me he demolishes old barns and salvages the wood from them,” Sebastian says.

“When barns get too old and unstable or they are not in use anymore they can become hazardous, so farmers call him to remove them. He strips the boards off of the barn and then pulls the skeleton down with his truck.”

Immediately Sebastian wanted to try putting his Tacoma to the test on a barn.

“I had to tell him anything his truck could do, so could mine, only probably better!” he says.

“We got into the old truck debate of whose truck was more powerful. It was all fun between friends, but he teased that my midsize Tacoma with a V6 engine wouldn’t do a job he considered better suited to his full-size V8. I was more than confident so we put a friendly $20 on it.”

The gauntlet had been thrown down and one fall afternoon Sebastian got the opportunity to show what his truck could do.

Rather than simply hooking up the truck and stepping on the gas, Sebastian had to prepare the barn. Due to buildings around the barn, this meant destabilizing the structure in a way that ensured it would fall away from the nearby silos.

The age of the barn meant it was a complicated process in identifying which barn beams could be weakened without collapsing it prematurely.

Inside of Barn Before Teardown by Toyota Tacoma

“When the barn was built all of the posts were holding an equal amount of weight but over time rot had set in and powder post beetles had eaten through much of the wood weakening the structure.”

“We were going around inspecting each one of those beams because if 75 percent of the beams were already weakened and we cut the other 25 percent that were left we could risk the barn collapsing in an unpredictable direction.”

Inspecting the beams also meant finding places to attach the ropes that wouldn’t just break off from the rest of the barn once the truck started pulling.

Once the set up was finally complete, it was time to put the Tacoma to the test.

“I’ll be honest, my friend had his truck waiting on the side, joking that he didn’t  think my Tacoma could do it. I told him ‘Save your gas, you’re going to be surprised when you see what kind of power this truck can generate!’”.

The positioning of the barn made the challenge even more unusual. Rather than pulling the barn on a relatively flat piece of land, this one would need to happen with the Tacoma driving uphill.

“I switched the truck from two-wheel drive into 4-low and I immediately felt the tires dig in and after a few strong pulls the barn came down with no problem. Feeling the beastliness of the Tacoma bucking back and forth as it tugged on the barn was absolutely amazing, it was a thing of beauty.”

The Tacoma rose to what Sebastian says wasn’t just a challenge for his truck, but a challenge for him and his vehicle working together.

“Without a question, it’s the toughest task I’ve ever put the truck through and probably the toughest driving task that I’ve ever put myself through,” he says.

"Because I was driving uphill, there were moments where the two back tires were coming off the ground as the ropes between the truck and barn snapped tight. Allowing the truck to do its work, but at the same time maintaining control, was difficult - but so much fun!”

Sebastian Loading up The Tacoma with Barn board

Of course, this test of strength wasn’t without a purpose. There was a practical motive that started the conversation in the first place: Sourcing barn board.

Once the barn was down, Sebastian loaded up his truck and set to reusing the wood in his day job.

“There are quite a few families who I’ve built for that now have barn board that I salvaged from that barn and worked into their home design. I love that that old barn from 1911, has been upcycled and given new life in homes around Toronto.”

As a Tacoma owner, he was proud to tell them exactly how they got their barn board.