Tree Platform Day 3

I made it out to the property again - that's 3 days in a row. When I say "day" though, I should be clear - I can't leave until after I've dropped the kids off at school then I have anywhere from 1:15 to 1:45 drive to get there. I usually have about 2 hours to work (including setup) before I have to pack up my stuff and head back to the city to pick the kids up at school. That's 3 hours of driving for 2 hours of work but it's totally worth it.

So, here's where I left off yesterday:

It was another busy day in Silverton. Check out the blog to see today’s progress. https://ift.tt/2qKVxol #buildsewreap #silverton #build #treehouse #maker #makersgonnamake

In just 2 days, and at most 4 hours, I was able to get two 16-feet long pressure treated 2x6s mounted to the tree with braces and end posts and one of the cross braces for the top platform attached to the tree. It feels like progress is slow at the time but then I realize I'm working alone and I'm not particularly strong so I'm content with how far I've gotten.

Today was another pretty successful day but I did spend a lot of time staring up at the structure wondering how on earth to proceed to the next step. I need several more arms ... strong arms.

I didn't stop to take a lot of pictures as I went along but here's the main challenge I faced and how I tackled it. I got all the cross beams in place then had to attach the 10' long pressure treated 2x6 (estimated 50lbs) to the ends of the boards but I couldn't climb the ladder while holding it and I couldn't hold it up with one hand while screwing it into place. I contemplated my options and then opted to take some measurements to see where I could pre-attach two brackets that the board could hang with.

Day 3 platform build

I attached two of the strong-tie thingies to the side beam, not the ends of the already secured boards. Then I shoved the beam up over the top of the secured boards. Next, I flipped the board braces down and slowly slid it to the end of the secured boards and let it slide over the edge letting the 1.5" lip grab on. Then I veerrrrryyyy carefully descended the ladder, grabbed some nice long screws, and screwed the ends in. Boy, that probably made no sense but there was no way I was going to stop to take pictures, this whole thing was tough enough without stopping to capture it all.

So, in the end, I managed to build almost the entire platform. I ran out of screws though so instead of breaking my brain trying to find a work-around I secured it enough and packed up my stuff.

Then I did take time to grab some photos.

Day 3 platform build

Here's the view up from down in the gulch that never shows up in pictures. The platform is probably at least 12 feet above my head, so 17 feet from the ground on this side. I'm guessing here but it's up there!!

Day 3 platform build

Pretty cool view, huh?

This next picture gives you an idea of how quickly the ground drops off on the gulch side of the structure.

Day 3 platform build

Now to look over the other side, down towards the fire pit:

Day 3 platform build

Again, total lack of perspective. This photo was taken from 10 feet off the ground - I was sitting on a pallet on top of the platform.

Here's another pic but from the bottom. I'm 5'6" and this thing is way over my head.

Day 3 platform build

All packed up and heading out for the day:

Day 3 platform build

I'm still trying to figure out what kind of decking we will use up top there but I'm leaning towards picking up some free pallets for now while we cross our fingers that something cheap or free shows up. The environment out in this forest will consume anything we leave out there unprotected. Our best bet is to use composite decking but I'm pretty sure that would be cost prohibitive so I'm going to mull it over for a bit. I know that attaching pallets won't be a long-term solution but it'll get us up there enjoying it this summer which is a start. Maybe I'll get my hands on some cedar or composite decking before those fall apart.

OOh, guess what else? I grabbed 4 plastic chairs off the side of the road (I confirmed they were free for the taking) about 10 miles from the property. I'm STOKED!!

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BTW, it was such a beautiful day out there!!

Day 3 platform build

Thank you for reading,
Julie



Tree Platform - Day 2

This morning I got to volunteer in the library at school during big kid's class. That put me on the road at about 9:45 but I made good time and rolled up to the property at around 11. Today I didn't have to unload a bunch of lumber so I was able to load up my wagon with my tools and get right to work.

Unfortunately I failed to take pictures of the first major thing I did but I'll remind you where I left off yesterday:

4/18 in Silverton

My main goal today was to get the other long piece up on the opposite side of the tree which I accomplished despite all it's protests - holy moly that thing gave me trouble! I also wanted to start on the perpendicular pieces and I did get 1 screwed in to the tree. What I wasn't planning on, though, was having to add the vertical 4x4 supports at the far end. I'm glad I grabbed that lumber as I ran out the door this morning because the long beams definitely needed a boost on that end.

I knew I'd need to be pretty precise about where I set the bases for those 4x4s but I didn't have a tool to measure plumb. No worries! I had spare washers and a spool of string that lives in my tool bag.

Day 2 of the platform build

I tied the string around the washer then drove a small nail into the end of the beam and hung the string from that nail. This told me right where the support 4x4 should be installed in the ground.

Day 2 of the platform build

Day 2 of the platform build

You know what's hard? Staring into the sun as you try to take a picture down at something while also standing on one's toes. I was determined to get this shot though. Sorry it's a tad blurry in the foreground but you get the idea.

I used one of those black post supports you see lying there to hold the 4x4 in the ground. I cut the 4x4 to length using my chain saw, secured it into the black thing that I had pounded into the ground, then secured one of the long beams to the post using a joist hanger.

Next, I set about doing the same for the other beam but I realized I wanted to get them to run parallel a bit better so I had to pull them towards one another. I wasn't strong enough to both hold them together AND screw a cut-to-size 2x4 all up over my head so I turned to my trusty ratcheting strap from my car.

Day 2 of the platform build

Hooray for creating an extra hand!

I then used the same technique to find the spot directly below that second beam, installed the black post holder, cut the post to length, and installed it.

Day 2 of the platform build

As you can see, I also started tossing the 10' long 2"x6" cross beams up top before I stopped to take a picture. Before I put the ladder up, I managed to screw one of the cross beams into the tree but then ran out of time.

Here's how I left things today after 2 hours of work time:

Day 2 of the platform build

The deck of the platform will sit nearly 8' up from the base of the tree. Just beyond this tree there's a gulch. That gulch likes to hide in pictures but it makes it feel like this platform is WAY up the tree when you look off the other side. Next time I go out, I'll take some pictures of the view.

The kids are starting to get curious why I keep going out there. They know I'm up to something but I'm not giving up the secret. They're going to LOVE this build but they can't go up there until it's safe so I've got lots more work to do.

Day 2 of the platform build

Bye platform! See you soon!

Thank you for reading,
Julie



Happening Now in the BSR Studio - April 18, 2018 at 10:22PM

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Here's what I'm up to today in the BSR Labs. If you're curious about this project and can't find a tutorial on my blog, leave me a comment and I'll do my best to get back to you. Straight from Instragram to you:


I dragged some lumber out to the property and started bolting it to a tree. Check out the blog to read what the plan is. https://ift.tt/2JW6mg0 #silvertonwa #build #treehouse #gooutside #forest #maker #makersgonnamake

Let the Silverton builds begin!

Today I made my first hole in a tree. Well, my first hole out in a Silverton tree. Between the snow and my hesitation to jump into this treehouse building thing with only having read the entire internet and a few books, I wasn't fully ready until today.

This is where my blog is likely going to move from tutorials to more of a journal about this process. I'd love for you to follow along as we develop our little plot of forest into our ideal vacation spot.

I'll start here with a picture of my car loaded up with lumber. I have to be mindful of how much I load on as my cargo capacity is only 1000lbs. This was about 500, there's more there than you can see.

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What all is up there? Well, there are two 2"x6"x16', eight 2"x6"x10', two 2"x4"x12', and two 2"x4"x8'. I purchased it all yesterday afternoon and then I got to drive around with it on my car for one school pickup, a couple of errands, overnight in the driveway, one school drop off, and 1 hour and 30 minutes on the road to our property. Boy was I ever glad to shake that haul!

Now, if you see my kids in the next few days, you've gotta keep quiet about this project. It's a surprise for them, they have no idea what I'm up to. In fact, neither of them even asked about the lumber when I showed up to get them at school yesterday so apparently they're not even curious (weird kids). I'm sure they probably think I was just getting started on the shed but I picked a smaller project to ease into the property.

So, here's the plan:

I'm going to build a 10x10 platform around this tree and it'll also have a walkway stretching out over firewood and there will be a dog shelter somewhere in that whole thing too. It'll all be attached to this tree closest to the camera in the picture. The lump under the black plastic is a stack of firewood I cut up a couple of weeks ago when I was itching to use my new chainsaw.

4/18 in Silverton


So, I got to carry all that wood from my car to this spot which wasn't exactly close to where I had to park. But I got it done so by the time I took this picture, I was really itching to build. I was pretty excited that I got to use the picnic table for my tools too.

4/18 in Silverton

It's a good thing I keep that yellow fabric tarp in my car. The picnic table was covered in snow. I wiped it off with my yellow level (see corner of bench) and covered the wet table with the tarp to keep my tools dry.

I started out by pre-drilling a hole in one of the 16' long 2x6s and drilling a hole in the tree about 7' up. I wanted to make sure no tall people would hit their heads on the beams. Next, I started an 8" long, 1/2 inch diameter hex head lag screw through the wood and matched it up with the tree. I screwed that bad-boy all the way into the tree with my socket wrench.

4/18 in Silverton

Well poop. Now the whole thing is too high and I need to add some braces plus it needs to be level but none of my unused lumber is the right size to brace the end in place temporarily while I work. Huh. I stood there staring at it and looking around the property a bit. I did find a branch that I thought would work but it fell over pretty quickly.

WAIT!! I've got it. I'll pull down the short end using my car ratchet straps.

4/18 in Silverton

I secured it to a couple of fallen trees on the ground there. They held it in place while I worked. It was great.

4/18 in Silverton

It's amazing how creative one can get when one is in the forest alone trying to manhandle 60lb pieces of lumber.

Once I eyeballed the angle for where the support brace would line up with the beam, I marked it and cut it with the chainsaw. I still haven't dragged the generator out to the property so I can run power tools but I'm adapting pretty well with my gas-powered chainsaw. The cut was fine, not perfect, but fine. I also cut the support brace to length and somehow that too ended up pretty good. I used a carriage bolt with washers front and back, a locking washer, and a nut to hold the support brace to the main beam. Then I used another 8" long hex head lag screw and a washer to secure it to the tree.

Once the short side was up, I no longer needed the beam to be strapped to the dead trees on the ground so I was able to get to work on the long side. I did the same thing again - eyeballing, marking, and chain-sawing the piece then attached it in the same manner with a carriage bolt up top and a lag bolt on the tree.

4/18 in Silverton

Ideally the support braces wouldn't just be attached to the beams with a carriage bolt but should actually run up under the beam and then be secured in place. For this smaller project, I felt comfortable using bolts to hold the weight. The ground is incredibly spongy so it's hard to find a good place for the ladder and my tools are a bit limited out there so this felt like the best option. The carriage bolts are 1/2 inch diameter galvanized bolts so they should be just fine.

I only had about 2 hours to work today before I had to head back home to get the kids from school. Once my alarm notified me it was time to pack up, I loaded up my wagon and rolled my tools back to the car.

4/18 in Silverton

I'm pretty happy with what I got done. Tomorrow I'll make more progress as I won't have to start my day by driving slowly to get there (that load of lumber had me a bit nervous) nor unloading it all. My goal is to get the other main beam installed and start on the deck platform that will sit on top of these. It's a good thing I'm not afraid of heights or anything ... oh wait.

Thank you for reading,
Julie



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