Farmtek Clearspan “Buildings”

DSC01634.JPGWe bought one of those temporary ‘tent” garage things from Farmtek to store hay in. This was pretty much an act of desperation because we weren’t here to do anything else. We finally got it assembled today and a hay drop is scheduled for Sunday.

DSC01520.JPGIn our particular circumstances I have to give it a mixed review. It’s a 14 by 28 tent basically. Including truck freight from Iowa it cost us right on $1000. It took two people (Lisa and I or Jeremy and I) about 20 hours to assemble. Experience could have saved a few hours of that, but not too many. The basic scheme is to assemble the pipe skeleton, secure all the joints with self drilling screws, and then wrap the tent cloth over it. It’s pretty straightforward but there are a couple of gotchas: first, you’re supposed to put together several of the subassemblies on a flat surface. Clearly they tested these directions in Iowa, not New England. If I had a flat surface that big it would the be concrete floor of a barn and I wouldn’t need the tent. Second, a noticeable fraction of those screws just won’t bite for some reason: you could sit there all afternoon with your drill (power screwdriver) spinning and nothing would happen. Fortunately they send extras and you can just discard the losers. Alternatively, a pilot hole works.

When you’ve finished, you have a really good kite: I’d estimate a 40 to 50 mile an hour gust will send the thing off to Oz. Farmtek recommends attaching it to big chunks of concrete set below the frost line, or failing that, they’ll sell you 6 auger type anchors which are also to be set below frost. Neither sounds very likely in Marlow. We build a wooden platform, strapped the tent to it and then piled on two tons of hay. So far all has been well.

All that done, it works fine: the hay is dry, and we can keep the trash can of sheep pellets out there too. So why the mixed review? For most people I’d say this is a good way to go: You get everything except a roll of ductape in the box, you couldn’t buy alternative materials for less, and as long as you don’t set those concrete blobs in the ground you can explain to the tax assessor that it’s just a tent and thus personal rather than real property.

We’re a special case however. We own a sawmill, a tractor, and we have hundreds of pine trees of all sizes cluttering our future pastures. We’d still need a few hundred dollars in materials. mostly metal roof panels and some hinges, but with 30+ person hours of labor committed to the tent, and $600 or so in avoidable expense, I’d say that next time we’ll just invest an extra Saturday and build it out of wood, on either skids or blocks. Wooden buildings only go to Oz in a real tornado, which are pretty darn rare around here, and the tax assessors from Nashua assess everything based on how well it would drop into an upscale development.

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3 Comments

  1. Snerdguy
    Posted October 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    How is your FarmTek fabric garage holding up? I have a similar structure from a different manufacturer. I can tell you that you may need more than just a platform to hold it down if you get a sixty or seventy mph wind gust like we did earlier this year. I had anchored my building by boring post holes in the ground a setting the anchors in concrete. It didn’t fly away. But, it sure got bent awfully bad and some of the support welds broke.

    So, I repaired the building. Only this time, I planted some pressure treated four by fours in the ground at the corners. They stick up about four feet on the inside of the structure and I tied the frame them. It doesn’t bend in the wind any more. Now, my brother wants to buy a very big FarmTek structure to store his combine and tractors in. I hope the thing has a sturdy frame.

  2. Posted October 25, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Good to know was looking to see how well this would hold up thanks for the review.

  3. Frank
    Posted October 10, 2009 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    It’s holding up pretty well. We bought some clear plastic that we put over in the spring to serve as an ad-hoc greenhouse. This isn’t holding up so well, but the original dark green stuff seems pretty much as good as new. We haven’t had any kite issues either.

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