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JackSprats Mom
May. 16, 2011, 05:18 PM
So I am building a two stall (mini) barn and have reached the point where I need to put in the metal grills in the front window. Hubby suggested using copper for the metal as its MUCH cheaper, I haven't ever heard of anyone using it???

It seems aluminium is the norm?

Trying to keep the expenses down but only want to build it once ;)

Calvincrowe
May. 16, 2011, 05:28 PM
As in, you are drilling holes and inserting tubing to make your own grilled fronts?

I thought copper tubing had gone up dramatically in price..but that may be just me remembering incorrectly.

How bendable is the copper? I know some folks use rebar (I think it looks ugly, but that's just me) in their stall grills. Copper will eventually get verdigris on it (turn green), but I suppose you could polish it regularly to maintain the pretty color?

Aluminum is nice--no rust or aging issues, easy to cut and strong for the weight.

I priced making my own, vs. buying prefab fronts...and went with prefabs.

HPFarmette
May. 16, 2011, 06:09 PM
I used conduit. It's pretty strong. I would never use copper. It's expensive! It will discolor. I would picture my horses licking it. Who knows if it's not toxic....

bludejavu
May. 16, 2011, 08:05 PM
Copper is highly desirable amongst thieves these days. Your husband might want to consider something less desirable.

JB
May. 16, 2011, 08:33 PM
Copper is a SOFT metal.

Use metal electrical conduit. It's not that expensive, especially for just 2 stalls.

shakeytails
May. 16, 2011, 10:31 PM
Use 3/4" PVC, schedule 80. I saw it used in a barn that was at least 20 years old and asked the owner about it- she had replaced just a few bars in those 20 years.

DH built a barn last year for someone on a very tight budget. The bars were made of PVC (electrical, and thus has UV protection). None have needed to be replaced thus far, and believe me, the owners aren't "easy" on anything. They even made feed holes using "T" fittings. So far no hoof or teeth damage. I hadn't thought of it, but one of the owners commented that if a horse did kick through the bars, the PVC would have enough give so that foot would come right back out with little or no damage to the horse. PVC also looks surprising nice (keep the lettering to the inside of the stall) and cleans very easily with soap and water if need be.

In case you're worried about shattering, don't. Before he ran the PVC idea by them, I broke several pieces of the stuff with different methods to see if it would shatter into anything sharp. It didn't, and in short lengths like 3-4' for stall bars it's extremely hard to break at all.

All metal electrical conduit will eventually rust or corrode, and the thin wall EMT will bend fairly easily from a horse pushing on it.

Here's a picture (http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2528469690058351122sAdrpq) for you.

JB
May. 16, 2011, 11:13 PM
My metal conduit has been up for 7 years now - no rust or corrosion. Perhaps there are different types? I'd have to look at the stamping on mine again to see exactly what it is.

shakeytails
May. 16, 2011, 11:21 PM
Hey JB, probably a lot depends on your climate and also your horsekeeping, as in salt or ammonia will cause quicker corrosion, especially the ends where the pipe has been cut. Where I've seen rust/corrosion is on barns quite a bit older than yours, and probably not as well maintained.

2DogsFarm
May. 17, 2011, 07:50 AM
Agree with JB, bluedejavu & HPFarmette:
Copper is too soft, expensive & attractive to thieves.
Go with aluminum.

The PVC looks interesting.
Wish I could replace my powdercoat with that.
I have a haydunker & his spillage has caused rusting by his feed opening (where his water bucket hangs).

JB
May. 17, 2011, 10:09 AM
Very true, I'd imagine issues are quite different if you live on the coast somewhere :)

fefedog
May. 17, 2011, 10:31 AM
we have used rebar just measure distance for holes on frame so they are of equal distance ,put slight hole in bottom of frame where rebar is to rest and when slid threw wholes you can cap the top so ends will nit stick out the top with board.

SmartAlex
May. 17, 2011, 10:36 AM
My mother's stall bars are aluminum conduit. They've been in for over 20 years and are rust free.

BUT: If a horse kicks them or pushes on them they will bend. If you do not put angle iron on the wood edge, the beavers will chew between the bars until they fall out. We've replaced them here and there over the years which is easy enough to do.

IMO any kind of conduit is a cheap stop-gap choice and if I were building my own barn, I would save the expense and work and go for actual stall grills.

Rabtfarm
May. 17, 2011, 10:40 AM
Around here the copper is so expensive that the druggies are breaking into homes and stealing the plumbing pipes for the metal recycle price of over $3.00 per pound.
I like the PVC pipe idea, and there is a hi-lo temp pipe at Lowe's now that I used to build my stall watering plumbing...yes it has frozen a few times over the winter; no, it has not broken/shattered/burst in 2 winters.
If you drill higher than you drill lower in your perimeter frame, you can insert the pipe into the frame by lifting up, then dropping into the bottom hole. No caps, flush fit top and bottom.

Sparky Boy
May. 17, 2011, 01:16 PM
This conduit idea sounds much cheaper than prefab stall fronts.

What size conduit do you use for bars? I'm trying to picture what size board you'd need to drill holes in, top and bottom to keep them in place? That's a LOT of holes to drill though ;) Is a drill press necessary or can you use a regular drill?

I'm sure there's a trick to keeping it vertical, so your bars don't look like this......I/////////////I

TrotTrotPumpkn
May. 17, 2011, 03:46 PM
Use 3/4" PVC, schedule 80. I saw it used in a barn that was at least 20 years old and asked the owner about it- she had replaced just a few bars in those 20 years.

DH built a barn last year for someone on a very tight budget. The bars were made of PVC (electrical, and thus has UV protection). None have needed to be replaced thus far, and believe me, the owners aren't "easy" on anything. They even made feed holes using "T" fittings. So far no hoof or teeth damage. I hadn't thought of it, but one of the owners commented that if a horse did kick through the bars, the PVC would have enough give so that foot would come right back out with little or no damage to the horse. PVC also looks surprising nice (keep the lettering to the inside of the stall) and cleans very easily with soap and water if need be.

In case you're worried about shattering, don't. Before he ran the PVC idea by them, I broke several pieces of the stuff with different methods to see if it would shatter into anything sharp. It didn't, and in short lengths like 3-4' for stall bars it's extremely hard to break at all.

All metal electrical conduit will eventually rust or corrode, and the thin wall EMT will bend fairly easily from a horse pushing on it.

Here's a picture (http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2528469690058351122sAdrpq) for you.

That is just fascinating to me for some reason. I would have never thought to use that. Where did you get it? Did you totally build those stalls from scratch? Will you come build some for me please? lol

JB
May. 17, 2011, 03:53 PM
We used 2x4 boards for the bars, cut to the exact length for each stall. We clamped 2 of those together and used a drill press to drill through both. The bottom 2x4 sits on the stall ledge and the top board has a full 2x4 on top of it, all keeping the pipes contained and making for easy replacement if necessary.

Sparky Boy
May. 17, 2011, 04:01 PM
We used 2x4 boards for the bars, cut to the exact length for each stall. We clamped 2 of those together and used a drill press to drill through both. The bottom 2x4 sits on the stall ledge and the top board has a full 2x4 on top of it, all keeping the pipes contained and making for easy replacement if necessary.

So I need to make friends with someone who owns a drill press huh ;)

Would you need to use pressure treated for the boards you put the holes in? The bottom board might see a lot of slobber.

shakeytails
May. 17, 2011, 07:24 PM
That is just fascinating to me for some reason. I would have never thought to use that. Where did you get it? Did you totally build those stalls from scratch? Will you come build some for me please? lol

Yeah, they were pretty much built from scratch- the original barn had 4 stalls, and DH just saved the dividers. The old fronts were quite old, and had bent and rusted EMT conduit for grills.

Anyway, I never would have thought of PVC either if I hadn't seen it in another barn and asked about it. You can get it at Lowes or Home Depot, but we got it at an electrical supply house because it was a lot cheaper. This was a budget build, so DH planned the bar length to get 3 pieces from one 10' stick, minus the bell end, to minimize cost. Because he used common pine to drill the holes for the pipe (and horses think pine is mighty tasty), we went to our local welding supply place and got 20' sticks of lightweight angle iron (cut to length and painted with rustoleum) to deter chewing on the bottom edge. He didn't use a drill press to drill holes, but it would have made things quicker and easier!

TrotTrotPumpkn
May. 18, 2011, 11:12 AM
Ack! Of course I live in a bitterly cold climate. But the barn is insulated...

JackSprats Mom
May. 18, 2011, 12:56 PM
Thanks SO much guys, great idea's! Will have DH read the thread this weekend :yes:

Trevelyan96
May. 18, 2011, 02:06 PM
I used conduit. It's pretty strong. I would never use copper. It's expensive! It will discolor. I would picture my horses licking it. Who knows if it's not toxic....

We also used conduit. Much more affordable, lighter, easier to handle, and looks much nicer than rebar.

JB
May. 18, 2011, 02:11 PM
I forgot again to check exactly what our conduit is, but here's a picture (http://equestriangardener.homestead.com/files/BarnBuilding/StallGrill.jpg)

shakeytails
May. 18, 2011, 10:28 PM
Ack! Of course I live in a bitterly cold climate. But the barn is insulated...

Stick a piece in the freezer (make sure it's sch. 80 PVC), then slam it with a sledgehammer or wedge it in something to break it- that'll tell you if it'll shatter in extreme cold or not.

pintosrock
May. 19, 2011, 01:46 PM
We didn't want to have to cut conduit, so we used ballusters (the stuff for along steps/railings). Pre-cut to 36", aluminum. We only installed them about an month ago, but all looks good so far! Ours are in the interior of the barn, between stalls.

shakeytails
May. 19, 2011, 02:18 PM
We didn't want to have to cut conduit, so we used ballusters (the stuff for along steps/railings). Pre-cut to 36", aluminum. We only installed them about an month ago, but all looks good so far! Ours are in the interior of the barn, between stalls.

Yikes! I wouldn't have wanted to write that check!