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  1. #1
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default Best machine for barn/house building?

    I'm slowly warming up to the idea of developing our little homestead in SC, and need some equipment. Since I'll be working alone a lot, I figure I'll need a piece of machinery to stand walls up, hoist trusses, and otherwise help out with the project. What would be the best thing to get, if I could only buy one machine? I was looking at some big Lull off-road forklifts at an auction the other day. One of those certainly would help. Or should a just stick with an all-around tractor with a front loader, and add a gin pole to it for a sky hook? Or maybe a truck crane? I'd like to buy something used, get the heavy lifting done, and then hopefully sell it for what I have in it, or close to it. Something like a tractor I'd keep for farm chores. Construction is officially dead and buried here in FL, so there are some great bargains to be had. I can fix nearly anything, so as long as there isn't a busted rod or blown tranny, I can fix any other stuff.

  2. #2
    Super Member /pine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Re: Best machine for barn/house building?

    setting roof trusses with a crane by yourself is going to be practically impossible...not entirely but practically...

    raising walls can be accomplished single handedly if you employ some logic and build them in managable sections...lots of "ups and downs" on step ladders etc...

    personally, I would find a tractor that you could continue to use after the construction is complete and get some more hands for the hard stuff...
    Slash Pine
    blunt and succinct yet sincere I don't suffer fools and the immortal words of Popeye..."I yam what I yam"

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Coachella Ca.
    2016 Kubota 4060

    Default Re: Best machine for barn/house building?

    There is only one piece of equipment that is the victorinox of tractors and that's a skid steer.

    There hundreds of attachments that can help you build, grade, lift, dig, trench, etc.etc.

    A traditional tractor can be converted to use some skid steer attachments but for hydraulic power and lifting capabilities a skid steer can not be beat.

    I first went the traditional tractor route until I needed more lifting power, and less tire flats. I went with a track loader, Flats are gone, lifting power had doubles. On a typical day I switch between a half dozen attachments on an hourly basis. from assorted buckets, to a trencher, to forks, then the back hoe, and finally the crane.

    Look at these few attachments. Pay attention to the truss lifter and the HIGH RISE fork attachments.

    Sheyenne Tooling & Manufacturing

    Sheyenne Tooling & Manufacturing

    The only thing a skid steer does not do is plow fields, other than that there are hundreds of things the skid steer does that a tractor can not, one is turning on a dime and in tight areas that is a blessing.

  4. #4
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default Re: Best machine for barn/house building?

    I expect I'll have some help when it comes to things like setting trusses, but likely not enough to do it all by hand labor. When I did my old house, we had six youngish men, and got the trusses on the roof and set in 4 hours.

    I'm prepared to use wall jacks when raising walls; I've used them before, but it would be quicker (and more fun) to hoist 'em with a machine.

    A skid steer would be a handy thing to have around the place. A pretty nice one went for $3000 on craigs- running and fully functional. I should have bought it, but I'm not quite ready yet. Those skid steer attachments look handy, especially the tele-boom and forks.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Raspy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Northern Nevada
    NH TC29DA Bolens G14 Ram Cummins Jeep Rubicon

    Default Re: Best machine for barn/house building?

    A tractor with FEL and backhoe is one thing you pretty much can't build without. All the trenching and foundation work, moving building materials around and handing things up to the roof, etc. But a Skytrak is needed to lift trusses up high on rough surfaces.

    For setting all my posts I built an A frame for the bucket with a hook at the top. It was two 9' pieces of of 1 1/4 inch pipe and a chain to guy it to the top of the bucket.

    Bucket forks continue to be very useful too.

    I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member alchemysa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    South Australia
    Kubota B1550HSD

    Default Re: Best machine for barn/house building?

    I went through a similar process not long ago. An ordinary tractor with a backhoe and 4in1 front bucket and fork attachments will do most things you need. A used full sized tractor with these attachments will do MUCH more than a CUT and probably cost no more - or maybe even less.


  7. #7
    Gold Member firedog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Southeast Texas
    FarmTrac 300DTC

    Default Re: Best machine for barn/house building?

    While the skid steer may have advantages over the tractor/front end loader for building /lifting; look at your long term needs. 5 or 10 years from now what will you be doing; mowing, cutting?? A tractor with FEL may not be as efficient but still workable.
    I have never had a skid steer so I can't say good or bad, but my tractor has sure helped with a lot of stuff.

    Plus, nobody ever sang "she thinks my skid steers sexy".

    Farmtrac 300DTC w/FEL, BB, 5' RC, 6' rake, bucket grapple & forks,
    20+5 GN deckover, 09' Dodge 2500 4X4

  8. #8
    Elite Member CurlyDave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Grants Pass, OR
    JD TLB 110

    Default Re: Best machine for barn/house building?

    If you have even "reasonable" access to the building site, every truss manufacturer I have ever used had their own crane and would set the trusses for you for a very reasonable price.

    Don't even think about making your own trusses. Manufactured ones can be bought for less than the cost of the wood in homemade ones, and come with an engineer's stamp.

    Setting trusses is the last of your worries.

    A skid steer is nice, but consider a backhoe, which can do most everything the skid steer does and can also dig trenches, which is not a strong suit of the SS.
    40 Acres on a hill - fantastic view. JD 110 TLB, 4-n-1, 12" bucket, 18" bucket, Addington thumb, rock bucket (doubles as root grapple)

    Not only do we not understand the universe, if someone explained it to us, we would not know what he was talking about.

    Isaac Asimov

  9. #9
    Super Member crazyal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Northern Vermont
    Kubota, Case, Deere

    Default Re: Best machine for barn/house building?

    A few years back I went through kind of a similar decision. I bought land in the hills of Vermont, rocky wooded land. Since I had to clear the lot a skid steer really didn't have enough uses to justify the cost. I ended up going with a full sized back hoe over a track hoe. A back hoe had both a large FEL to move things while the digging force of the BH was just a lot more than a small tractor. I found that a small dozer was also needed. Between the two I was able to clear the land of rocks and stumps, build a road, dig the hole for the cellar, and with a set of clamp on forks and a $50 manual lift from a government liquidation site I was able to use the FEL as a mobile lift for heights up to 16 feet.

    When I bought my equipment there was a flood of slightly newer used equipment on the market. I was able to get a full size BH for less than a smaller equal year tractor with a BH was selling for. I was going to sell the BH after the house was finished and use the money for a tractor but have found that I'm better off keeping it.

    I just used it to dig into a bank to level the ground for a garage and then stand the walls up. I plan on using it with the forks and staging to lift the trusses to a height that will be easy to reach from the top of the walls. I'll also use it to lift the plywood and other supplies for the roofing.

    Down by you it could be very different but for me I'm guessing I saved $30k to $50k in savings over having someone else do the work or rental costs. Not once have I ever wished I choose differently.
    Kubota L4240,Case 580K backhoe, Case 450 Dozer, Deere X500

  10. #10
    Super Member sodamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Big Island, HI
    Kioti CK30HST, Case DX35

    Default Re: Best machine for barn/house building?

    Couldn't have built my house without my tractor and attachments. It paid for itself. Next to my wife, the best helper I've ever had.
    Please visit: Vacation Hawaii

    CK30HST, FEL w/ATI Tach all, Toothbar, Pallet forks, BH, Hydraulic Offset Flail, Brush Hog, Box Blade, PHD, Tiller, Landscape Rake, Boom pole w/extension&winch, Quick hitch, TuffTop Canopy
    Case DX35 w/LX116 "bobtach" Loader,

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