I picked up the steel lally columns on July 30. They weigh about 90 pounds each and cost about a dollar a pound. Here is one leaning on a saw horse for slight modification. The top and bottom plates were cut and drilled as requested:
The anchor bolts in the concrete piers were not exactly vertical. The plates fit over the top of the bolts but started to bind against the bolts as the columns were lowered onto the concrete base. I used a hacksaw and round file to widen some of the holes in the 3/8" plate. Here is a close-up of column 1 flat on the pier after I enlarged one of the holes:
Column 1, straight and vertical, ready to bolt down:
August 1. Both columns bolted down:
Looks great by eye. I checked with a straight 16' 2x6 and level:
Is it level?
I also measured the distances from the top of each long wall to the columns. The column tops are very, very close to the center line of the building which means I should be able cut all the joists (and rafters) to the same pattern.
The beam is built in place, on the post and columns. Here is the first board, a 13 foot 2x12, nailed to the south wall to keep it upright. I built a simple frame to keep the heavy board from slipping off the column:
Next, a shorter board, 8 feet 8 inches, is nailed to the long board:
4 boards nailed in. The one sticking out is another 8'8" board:
August 2. We finished the beam this morning, 26 feet long, level and plumb. My boys helped me lift the heavy lumber and nail the 250 nails into the beam. The beam stops here to allow for the high ceiling for the first auto bay: