This tree house is very much the same design as the last one however the tree is a big difference. In both cases the weight of the tree house is supported by four 4×4’s but with this tree house I didn’t have a tree to balance the structure so I had to dig the 4×4’s 2 1/2′ into the ground and set them in concrete.
This fall I helped an eight year old neighbor build a tree house. After disassembling my clubhouse last year, I had a lot of fun building this tree house with this kid and teaching him about carpentry. It was really cool for me to see someone so young excited about the actual building process rather than just the finished product. Every time I introduced a new tool or a building material he would ask me several incredibly intelligent and relevant questions until he got to a pretty good understanding of how it worked; he is a pretty good representation of who I was a decade ago.
The tree house is an 8’x12′ platform that sits ten feet off the ground and is supported by four 4×4 legs so we didn’t have to drive bolts into the tree. On top of half of the platform is a house with a steel roof. The house has two windows, which are just holes with a shutter, and a door that leads out to the porch. From the ground there are three options to get to the porch:
1. The climbing wall
2. A rope with knots that you grab on to and walk your feet up the wall
3. A ladder.
The wood we used is not pressure treated so a nice coat of paint will happen at some point in the near future.
On the shortest day of 2014, my friend and I backed our trucks (both Toyota Tacomas) together and filled them with water. It was not quite that simple though; the driveway was sloped and my friend’s truck sits 3.5″ taller so leveling and aligning was needed. The other consideration we had to take into account was compression of the suspension. Our trucks are rated to only carry 1100 lbs in the bed and we were about to drop about 2300 lbs in each truck, so even if it didn’t break something the compression was sure going to throw everything off level. We combated these problems with ten jack stands, and worked from the top of the hill down to get everything level. After the trucks were in place, which took a couple hours, we built a fire in our redneck pool heater which consists of a wheel barrow bucket with an old car radiator welded on top. For the next couple of hours we fed the fire while filling the pool through the radiator and only caught the tarp on fire twice.
The party lasted for about 15 minutes and pretty much consisted of everyone sitting around the fire in a foot of water complaining about how cold it was. The fun however was not over yet, we emptied all 500 plus gallons of water in to the yard, pulled the jack stands, and drove the trucks off the blocks. My friend then got his truck stuck in our yard, which was honestly more of a mud puddle at this point, and after we made some ruts we finally pulled him out with my mom’s mini van (please note that he has 32″ all terrain tires on his two wheel drive truck).
Anyway although this is not exactly woodworking, there was wood involved, I built it, and its pretty cool.
I made myself some shades. I used a combination of the band saw and scroll saw to carve the rough shape. To round the edges and do the final shaping I used a belt sander, a file, and Dremel. The lens holes were not quite perfect and I found it was much easier to sand the lenses to shape rather than work further with the Teak frame. The lenses just pushed in and I added a tad bit of JB Weld to hold them in place. I used the skinniest screws I could had that were still long enough for the hinges. The glasses are finished with tung oil.
This bike is my largest frivolous project. It took me around 90 hours to complete, half of which were in the design process. I had some much appreciated assistance throughout the course of this project. I need to thank John Bolen for helping me turn parts for the Lignum Vitae bearings and for the use of his shop and lathe. A thank you is due to Shane Matthews for assisting with milling a few parts and for offering great guidance with CAD programs. Many thanks to John Baxley for his guidance and expertise in regards to the gears. And finally, thank you to Walter King; without whom the project would not have been realized; his CNC router was perhaps the most necessary machine to make everything mesh with perfect accuracy.