ROULEAU, Sask. – When Daryl Tiessen decided to build a shop, he wanted to be able to drive his combine in without taking the header off.
“We’d gone through 1996, with a foot of snow on Oct. 1. There were days when it was -12, I’d drop the header off outside and put the combine in the shop to plug it in, just to make sure it would start,” said Tiessen, who farms near Rouleau.
“I thought if I’m going to build this shop and it’s going to be heated, I’ll have it so I can run the combine right inside. And for different projects, it doesn’t limit you.”
The shop is 40 feet wide, so the door ended up being 37 feet, which is as wide as it could get in the existing building.
“With a 30 foot header on the combine, it’s just great.”
While a big door is handy, Tiessen also installed a smaller door on the side of the shop.
“I didn’t want to have to open that big door in the wintertime, just to get a half ton or tractor in and lose all the heat out of the shop. I thought we’d have another door closer to the workbench,” he said.
“It really is handy. This fall, the hydro splines went out on the combine and I was able to tow the combine into the shop, then drive the tractor out the side door.
“We use the side door most of the time, although the other door opens just as easily. If it’s a decent day out, especially in the spring, you can open both doors. It’s really nice when you sweep the floor in the direction the wind is blowing and it keeps the dirt ahead.”
Both doors open up to a 15 foot height. Tiessen used two-by-four steel tubing, with one-eighth inch wall to frame the doors, then added four inches of styrofoam between the frame for insulation.
Hinges are made with one-inch pins that fit through one-inch inside diameter pipe. Tarpco, a local tarp manufacturer, provided heavy tarp material that Tiessen used to windproof the hinges.
“When we were attaching the steel to the outside of the door, we first attached this tarp material because I wanted to have an airtight seal. That material, where it hinges, keeps it airtight when it’s closed,” he said.
“The door is in two pieces, with two by four tubing on the frame and uprights in between. The windows are actually skylights, so they’re tempered glass. I haven’t broken one yet.”
To provide a weathertight seal along the bottom of the door, Tiessen took a piece of 12-inch baler belting, formed it around the bottom and used self-tapping screws to hold it on.
“It makes kind of a cup, with a void in the middle, so if there’s a rock or any obstruction, it can give. I trussed the bottom with two by two tubing, above the windows and at the top section, and the door doesn’t move at all.”
A big door is heavy. To lift and lower, Tiessen designed a drive system that uses a transport tie-down strap.
“As it rolls up, the spool gets bigger. When you most need the power is when it first lifts and at that point the spool is the smallest, so it has more torque. As it wraps it up, it speeds it up. Near the top it’s going nearly twice as fast as at the bottom,” he said.
“Both motors are 3/4 horse electric, with a significant reduction onto the gearbox that turns the lift.”
A D hook on the end of the transport strap is attached to two 3/8 inch cables that go over a pulley system, come down and attach to the bottom of the door.
“Each door only has two 3/8 cables, but it’s aircraft cable and it’s good for 10,000 pounds. The big door weighs about 2,000 pounds, so it’s never been a problem.”
The outside of the doors is covered with steel sheeting, with plans to eventually cover the insides as well.
One of the design features that Tiessen hadn’t paid much attention to ended up working in his favour.
“I had been to another farmer’s place with similar doors and the one complaint he had was that because they made a perfect V when fully up, rain would shed off the top door, hit the bottom door and come back into the building,” he said.
“I made both doors the same size, but the top is hinged on the outside and the bottom is hinged on the inside. So there’s four inches of difference when you fully open the door. The bottom door ends up flat, while the top door has a 2-12 pitch on it, so it sheds water right off. The other door can’t catch it. I can sound like it was designed that way, but I was just lucky.”