|Sawyer: Richard Schwab
Location: Solon, Iowa
Equipment: LT40 HD
|Project Dimensions: 80’ X 120’, 8,200 sq ft
50% of lumber cut on the mill: 18,000 BF
$90,000+ on lumber
Wood Species Used:
White & red oak, black oak, eastern red cedar, black walnut, black cherry, white pine
GRAND CHAMPION - Celebrating Barns
One of the most common responses from people when they see Richard Schwab’s double round barn is, “Wow!” Situated on 90 acres just southwest of Solon, Iowa, the “Celebration Barn” is the centerpiece of Richard’s property which also features a canopy of trees, a lovely pond, an open-air amphitheater, and a serene stone path. Richard and his wife, Katherine, purchased the property in 1984. That same year a tornado came through and downed some trees and left him with “some really nice logs” so he decided to haul them to a sawmill and use the lumber for building. “I built three rectangular barns,” explained Richard. His property took on even more character when he added a pond in 1988 and then his first round barn in 1989. Eventually, he bought an LT40 Hydraulic to turn other downed trees into useful lumber for projects.
Richard has been building barns for more than 20 years and the Celebration Barn “is the culmination and combination of my experience and the requests I have received to create functional beauty in the form of a barn.” The Celebration Barn is used to host wedding receptions, holiday parties, charity events, and other celebrations. It offers the comfort and conveniences of geothermal heating and air conditioning, 13 restrooms, a dance floor, caterer’s kitchen, large fireplace, and even two large 75 bulb chandeliers. It is 8,200 square feet, measures 80’ x 120’ on the inside and is 50 feet tall to the top of the cupola, and also boasts a large covered porch area. It is supported by 24 laminated beams which come together at the top center of
the barn at a steel thrust ring.
Once inside, you come face-to-face with the beauty of wood. From floor to ceiling, the inside features white, red and black oak, eastern red cedar, black walnut, and black cherry. He also used white pine for the framing and porch sheeting. A total of 18,000 board feet was sawn on his Wood-Mizer to complete the barn which Richard aptly describes as having “a majestic sense of
spaciousness and rustic elegance.”
For Richard, barns are a labor of love. “I love building them, even more finishing them, and even more using them with others who appreciate their beauty,” shared Richard. Richard spent ten months planning and six months building the Celebration Barn. To him, this project “honors the long and important history of barns in our country in a form that can be enjoyed in contemporary America.”