For the past two blog posts, Alway Homes has had the pleasure of interviewing John Robinson, professional ‘Barn Buster’. His job brings the consumer the beautiful and very authentic barn wood so coveted in newer homes. It is all about Reclaim, Reuse, Recycle.

Our interview continues below. To read the the rest, click on PART I or PART II.


Alway Homes loves to use authentic barn wood. But we realize, it isn’t as easy to come by as simply driving up to the lumber mill and putting in an order. It is back-breaking work!

Q. What were one or two of your most harrowing experiences?

A. Well, one time I was parked a little too close, and the entire building fell sideways and landed less than an inch away from my truck. Another time we were pulling up some thick flooring planks in a barn and upon lifting one end of a board, we were suddenly looking down the wrong end of a family of 5 skunks! There was also a number of nails thru the boot, and a lot of cuts, scrapes, and splinters, but all in all — thank God — there were no major injuries.

Q. Any other animals you’ve met while taking down a barn?
A. On the last barn that we took down we removed some siding planks to discover a massive, multi-layered honeycomb built into the wall. From the looks of it, the hive had been there for many years, and was still quite productive. It was about 1.5′ wide and nearly 4′ long, with 3 layers of honeycomb. Unfortunately, with it being the middle of winter, and the barn being in a remote location, the bees in the comb all expired rather quickly, but not before they stung each one of us at least twice!


Q. What did you enjoy most about Barn Busting?
The entire experience was fun, but for me personally, the part that I enjoyed the most was 2-fold. First, there was the excitement of the first day actually working on the barn…going thru and discovering all the “treasures” that a hundred-year-old building has to offer was always a lot of fun. Equally enjoyable was the end product. To see old forgotten lumber transformed into incredible creations and incorporated into amazing homes like the ones my inlaws and Jess builds. I love the look on a person’s face as they run their hand over the surface of one of the fireplace mantels that I make… to see the wood tell its history and to know that it has been preserved to live another century’s… THAT is by far my favorite part of this business. I am very glad to have had the experience of “Barn Busting” and I am 100% behind anyone who genuinely wants to see this kind of business continue legitimately. It is not only a potentially lucrative business opportunity, but it is also a much-needed method of preserving our nation’s history.

Thanks, John. We couldn’t agree more.


Alway Homes