How to Build Corn Cribs
Farmers use corn cribs to store harvested corn that is still on the cob. The "crib" nomenclature comes from the open sides of the structure that allow the corn to continue to dry while in storage. While these were common on farms in years past, most corn is now shelled from the cob during harvest and stored in grain bins. However, farmers who harvest corn still on the cob can build a crib using standard carpentry tools.
Stake out the building site. Drive a stake into each corner of the planned corn crib and stretch a carpenter's string between each stake. Orient the building so the long side faces prevailing winds to aid in drying the corn.
Dig out the sod at the corners and place cement blocks at the corners. Level the blocks, using a string level, so all are on the same horizontal level at least 4 inches above the ground. Multiple blocks at each corner may be necessary.
Build a floor frame of 2-by-6-inch treated lumber. Build a box of the exterior frame by nailing together the 2-by 6-inch boards with two 16d box nails at each corner. Place floor joists, also 2-by-6-inch treated boards, every 16 inches between the two long sides of the floor frame. Nail the joists in place with two 16d box nails on each end.
Cover the floor joists with exterior grade 1/2-inch plywood nailed in place with cement coated 8d nails.
Build walls with 2-by-4-inch 8-foot-long studs. Build an exterior frame of 2-by-4-inch lumber the same length as the sides of the building and 8 feet tall. Place 2-by-4-inch boards between the exterior frame every 16 inches. Build the wall frames for all four sides but include a door opening in one of the short walls. Nail the wall segments to the floor with 16d common nails.
Build the roof of the corn crib. Build a two foot tall extension above one of the long side walls of the corn crib out of 2-by-4-inch lumber. Build an exterior frame of the boards with studs every 16 inches. Nail in place with 16d box nails. Place 2-by-6-inch rafters every 16 inches from the high wall to the low wall creating a sloped roof. Cover the roof with corrugated steel roofing.
Side the corn crib. Use 1-by-2-inch or 1-by-4-inch boards placed horizontally around the building. Leave a 1-inch air space between each board.
Build a door to fit the door opening left in Step 5. Use 2-by-4-inch boards to build a frame. Cover it with the same sliding material as the walls.
Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.