Treehouse Update #4

A couple of works trips for Sarah sent me to my parents for some free babysitting while I worked on the treehouse last week.  So after a few days, I now have a house in a tree.  If there’s anything I learned while working at Treehouse Workshop it is that you should do everything you can on the ground, and then lift the house into the tree in panels.  Way easier and more efficient than climbing up and down every time you drop your tape measure or need to make a cut.

So with the help of my 6’8″ friend Bill and my dad, the three of us shoved, grunted and hefted the eight wall sections up into the tree.  Then it was just a matter of kicking the walls onto my layout lines, and screwing the screws back into their holes.   And wah-la, there is something that looks like a treehouse up in the branches, which is very exciting.

I had enough time to screw the rafters in, but I’ll finish putting in the outlookers and fascia later when I go back to skip sheet and shake the roof.  This is easier said than done of course, as I’ll have to rig up some sort of safety line dangling from the skinny treetops.  After that’s done, I’ll install some fir flooring I’ve got, cutting out for the sunken hidey-hole and hinging the floor there.  Then to set the windows and door and make a little loft (or not).  I’m tempted to put in a tiny little cupola with a weather vane or finial for looks, so I’ll see what I can find on ebay.  I’ll also be on the lookout for an antique wheel-style pulley, so the kiddos can haul things up and down.  We’re not going to cover the interior walls, so you’ll see the skip sheeting and the back of the shingles/siding.  There’s still some debate on whether to run a wire out there so there can be lights.  We’ll see.

Wish me luck that I don’t break my neck!

Treehouse Update

The treehouse saga continues.

Since my last update:

  • Built a door jamb for a door an old landlord had thrown out on the curb.
  • Bought the windows from the ReStore in Ballard.
  • Built a gate from leftover stair material, and scrap I had.  My parents have a thing for loons, so Sarah had a great idea to carve a pair on them.  I added two babies to represent Josie and my nephew Lucian on the mama’s back.  Then I painted and epoxied it.
  • Sarah, Dad and I moved cedar logs that my parents had cut down last winter.  This sounds simple, but when all you have is a come-along, a lot of rope and wire cable, a peavey, a crowbar, log rollers, and stubborn determination, it takes awhile.  I have a new respect for what the Egyptians were able to accomplish.  With the logs staged in the driveway, they were now within easy reach of my friend’s portable sawmill.

With Sarah away on work this last week, I had another long weekend at the folks’ place working on the treehouse.  On Saturday my friend, Spencer West, come by with his Woodmizer top mill up the cedar logs.  Spencer turned logs into beautiful lumber, my heart quickened as I began making up projects on the fly once the treehouse lumber order was met, barking out dimensions for a dining room table, window trim benches, and a gate.  Too much wood is a carpenter’s wet dream come true – and seriously, it poured on us that afternoon.

With the lumber now stacked and stickered, there is nothing holding me back from building the treehouse but time.  I framed a couple walls, decked the platform, and even got in a railing by the end of the weekend.  Suddenly it’s starting to look and feel like the drawings I’ve been doodling for the last few months.

This has to be the smallest deck I’ve ever done.

I’ve added a Flickr album to the right if you’d like to watch the evolution of this project.

Treehouse Update

I had gone down  to my folks’ place a few weeks ago and put up the floor framing, and after a lot of mental debate on the stairs, I decided to just do a straight run, and let the big limb interrupt the left stringer.  Unfortunately, the lumber yard only had 14’s in the “garden box” cedar 2x12s I’ve been pilfering for all sorts of non-raised bed projects.  The stuff is super cheap and this year the quality the mills are putting out is better than last.  With the hypotenuse from the top of the deck to the footing at 14 feet, the last step up top would be basically zilch, not to mention no integrated handrail projecting past to help you up or down.  So I poured the stair landing, and with my rise and run I could tackle the stairs at home and figure out some innovative solution there.

This is how I work, and usually I find some creative way to make it all work out and look halfway planned.  The swoop was my solution, and although the stairs become slightly steeper and skinnier toward the top, it’s not too bad, and the hand rail projects past.  As an added bonus, this doubles as the frame for the forthcoming gate, which will keep the kiddies safe.

So after two long wet days, I’ve got stairs to show for it.  I’d been working on them in my workshop here in town on and off for the last week, which is always a little nerve-racking since you don’t know if all your math is right until the moment of truth.  Luckily, I didn’t screw anything up, and they went in smoothly.  The stringer on the left is interrupted by that large swooping limb, which means you have to cut this beautiful thing you’ve been laboring on in half.  After measuring many more times than twice, I cut it in two, and started scribing the limb’s variable bevel geometry to them.  It took a long time, but in the end I didn’t even have to throw a screw into the upper.  Only four screws went into the limb – two for the stringer, one for the handrail, and one for the scribed step.

I finished off the day by bolting six log posts for the deck.  Next I’ll make the railing, a jamb and threshold for the salvaged french door I’ve got, scrounge up some windows at the ReStore, and then it will be time to line out my friend who has a Woodmizer to come over and mill up the cedar I need for the rest of the treehouse!

First time up for Grandma!