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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Treehouse Build

So last Fall my wife and I bought a new house. My son (5 at the time) was very upset about the move and about leaving his backyard playset, so... I promised him I would build him a Treehouse with a playset attached!

Well, not being one to do anything half-assed, I embarked on a monumental effort to build a treehouse in the backyard.

When we moved in, there were several dead trees that needed to be taken down. I had them leave 15 of an 18 diameter oak tree standing. My plan was to tie this tree back to a 2 diameter oak in the center of the backyard. You can see the pink line I used to layout my lines in this picture:

My idea is to build a treehouse around the large, 2 diameter oak and create a bridge, with swings below, from the spike over to the treehouse.





Once I got started on the construction of the treehouse, I recruited a friend from the old neighborhood to help me with securing the long boards that would span the 2 trees. The span is 19 from center of the large oak to center of the 18 spike. A 20 long pressure treated 2X10 cost $30 each and is only structurally sound to 15, plus I wanted to gain a 4 cantilever, so I need to buy two 24 long 2X10s for $75 each! In this picture you can see the two, 2X10-24 (dark) boards lag bolted to the trees. To get the structural support I needed to span the 19 between the trees, I also needed to sister a pair of 2X10-20s (light) to the boards. I used two 8 lag bolts to secure the 2X10s on each side of the trees, for a total of 8, 8 lag bolts. I needed to predrill through the boards and into the trees before I could sink the lag bolts firmly into the trees.



After we got the primary supports installed and leveled, I trimmed out the ends for more support and aesthetics.


Last edited by Tims65; 06-04-2011 at 11:57 PM.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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Once the main supports were in place, I started to set the floor joist. All of the literature I was able to find said that 2X6 floor joist would be sufficient, but I like overkill, so Im using 2X8 pressure treated lumber for my floor joist. First I cut eight, 2X8s to length, then installed hurricane clips to hold them in place as I set them. Each hurricane clip requires 18 nails, and I needed 2 clips for each joist, so by the end of the day Sunday I could barely swing a hammer.







I had to use my car jack to level the platform, once I had it built.


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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Once I had the supports and platform in place I started decking the bridge and the platform.





One of the most time consuming parts was cutting each board around the tree. I needed to leave 1.5" of space for growth of the trunk.


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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Once I had the deck in place, I set out to build a trap door that a rope ladder would pass through.



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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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I framed each wall on the deck and then hoisted it into place.





Once I got the framed walls onto the platform, I tied them off and screwed them in place.

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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 12:12 AM
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And the father of the year award goes to...

Nice job. If I ever have a son, I will never show him anything like this, because his dad would not be able to do this. Shame on you to for making me inadequate to a possible future son.


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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 04:04 AM
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wow, cant wait to see the finished treehouse good work,

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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 09:00 AM
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I cable to the house for supplies would be cool like on home alone. That awesome by the way. Are you going to camp out in it together?


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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 10:32 AM
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Looks like a great place for a zip line.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Framing the walls was a little of a challenge, but they went up fairly quickly.





I, also, built a ladder by morticing pockets for the rungs.

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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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The deck is 8’ off the ground, so I needed a 16’ slide to get the right angle. I couldn’t find a 16’ slide, so I had to buy a sectional slide and piece it together. You can also see the swings I hung under the bridge.





Once I got the slide in place I wanted to get the handrails up, so Zachary could start to use it and come up to help.


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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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I installed the 45* bracing for the cantilever on the rear of the treehouse this week after work. He bracing is two 2X6-8’ pressure treated studs, sistered together on each side. It was another geometry project to get the angles cut just right and a chore to position them in place by myself. The rear cantilever is 5’ and is carrying the weight of the walls and roof, so it needed some support. The front cantilever is only 3’ and with the 2X8 floor joist, seems very stable. If the front seems to need more support down the road, I will add some support there also.



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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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I framed and sheathed the roof on the ground, then brought in some muscle to help heave it into place. My niece, Christina and her boyfriend, Adam came up to lend me a hand. It took the three of us a good 3 hours to get the platform in place. I think I need to go back to high school geometry because I missed the tree cut out by a significant amount. This meant I had to get on the roof and remove some of the sheathing, cut it down and reinstall it. It ended up taking all day Sunday to get the roof in place and I still need to go back up to install the tar paper, drip edge and shingles.





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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Saturday I sheathed all of the walls. Working alone required 3 times the effort but I am very pleased with the outcome. In order to do this, I screwed a 2X4 to the bottom of the floor joist so that of it was exposed past the side, creating a ledge that I could set the 5/8” exterior T1-11 plywood. To keep it from tipping forward, I also screwed another 2X4 to the roof rafters about 2” from the walls. This way I could lift a sheet into place by slotting it up between the wall and the roof rafter 2X4, then push the bottom in until I could rest it on the ledge. Then I could work hands free to screw each sheet into place.

Each sheet required the following:
- Move the ladder into position, climb up the ladder and take measurements (making sure to get the correct angles for the 9* pitch of the shed roof)
- Get a 4’X8’ - 5/8” sheet of plywood from the shed and carry it to the sawhorses and cut each sheet to the exact measurement for it’s location.
- Carry the sheet to the ladder and climb the ladder backwards until I could just grab the sheet by the top outside corners, then jerk the sheet up 6” at a time until I could rest it on my feet. Rest a couple of minutes, then press the sheet into place and get it positioned perfectly.
- Once I got each sheet into place, I tacked it to the studs with 4 screws, climbed down the ladder and up into the treehouse to mark the window or door locations.
- After I got the windows marked exactly, then… down the slide, back up the ladder, unscrew the 4 tack screws, remove the plywood sheet, lower it down the ladder, carry it to the sawhorses, cut the window opening, carry it back to the ladder, heave it back into place and permanently screw it into place.
- Repeat 10 times…

Sunday, I was so stiff and sore I didn’t get much done.



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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 05:05 AM
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Awesome - your kid will become very popular for others to visit :-)

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