Sunday, July 20, 2008

Progress Report

Well the base supports, floor joists and floor have been installed. The entire structure sits 10 feet off of the ground.
All the corners were braced with a section of 4" x 4" post. There are 3/4" carriage bolts with split washer, washer and nut on each. there are two bolts per side. Where the supports contacted the tree, 3/4" x 6" lag screws were used. I tried to put at least two in everywhere that contacted the tree to alleviate any cantalever.
We have had several bad wind storm and nothing moved. Lots of creaks and moans from the tree/supports, but no damage.

Once the entire base support system was installed, I began spacing out the floor joists using standard joist hangers rated for treated lumber. The base support systems is mainly constructed with 2" x 6" boards, but there are two 2" x 12" supports next to the tree. All of the floor joists were treated 2" x 6" lumber. Rated 10d nails were used to attach the joist hangers and the joists. Oh, and I did add some 2" x 6" diagonal supports to the 4" x 4" posts. It was impossible to bury the posts due to the amount of roots around the tree, but the posts are set on concrete pads to disperse some of the weight.

Once all of the floor joists were in place, 3/4" plywood decking was used for the floor base. This will be covered at a later time with something a little more decrative and functional.
Of course my girls had to try out the floor with me!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Tree House

Well, it started as an idea before our children were even born. Like any young boy, I had always wanted a treehouse and as a father I wanted that dream for my children. Five years ago we started talking about building a tree house, but lacked the space and trees for the project. A year ago, we purchased a new home on an acre of ground. There were several mature trees and my children reminded me of the treehouse idea. About a weeks ago I scrounged up some of my scrap wood and began constructing a rudimentary frame for the structure on one of three large maply trees in a triangular pattern in the back yard. After getting some of the lumber up, I realized that I had a definite safety concern with using these old 2"x4"s. I quickly scraped this idea deconstructed the frame and went to Menards for some treated 4"x4" posts and 2"x6" lumber. As of yesterday, May 31, 2008, I have three sides of the main supports up. I used 7/16"x6" lag screws to attach the the first 2"x12" support in place and attached the 2"x6" frame rails to the 4"x4" supports with 7/16"x6" carriage bolts. I still have to put the last two pieces of framing onto the tree and connect with the rest of the framing. Everything should move fairly smoothly after this as I can get the floor down and have a firm platform on which to work.

At this point, it appears that the bsae floor plan will consist of a 10' x 10' "L" shaped area with a small front porch and nook. Once the floor is down, I will be able to visualize it better. The front porch will have 2 exit points with a 4"x"4 roof support on the corner. I will probably keep the porch secured until I can finish the rest of the plans. I am thinking of two smaller tree houses on the adjacent trees with a cable walkway running between them. The entire "village" will be in a triangle shape. One of the other houses will probably be nothing more than a look out tower.

Pictures of the construction process will be forth coming.