Happening Now in the BSR Studio - June 13, 2018 at 09:40AM

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:


Look at me making plans and not flying by the seat of my pants. #diy #build #maker #treehouse #design

Tree-Shed - I like big beams (and I cannot lie)

Hi there! I'm blogging this morning because I just realized that in another 12-24 hours, my arms will likely stop functioning for a few days so I better get things posted. Why would that happen? Welllll, yesterday I did some heavy lifting and I'm just waiting for my muscles to react to what I put them through.

What did I do to them? Well, for starters, I unloaded 800lbs of pressure treated lumber from the top of my car.


6/8/2018 work
(pic taken in the driveway because I  never remember to take a pic once I arrive)

I got it all unloaded and distributed to the areas where I'd need it then, after finishing up some of the work from Wednesday, I built a beam. This was a BIIIIIG beam too. I was working with 2x12s that were 10' long. My ultimate goal was to build a 20' long beam that was 4x12. I knew I wouldn't be able to lift the fully assembled beam as that would include four 2x12s and the necessary hardware. A dry pressure treated 10 foot long 2x12 weighs around 70lbs and these weren't necessarily dry so I think they weighed more. At any rate, I got to work securing three together. Two were butted up end-to-end and the third spanned that joint. My plan was to add the remaining piece, cut in half, once it was up on the eye bolts.

After many failed attempts and a whole lot of "OMG, what the heck?!?" moments, I did manage to get one end up.


6/8/2018 work

That beast was heavy. I'd estimate it was over 200lbs and I'm not a particularly strong woman. I don't work out at all anyway so it's not like my muscles are in top shape. I battled the other side until I finally lifted it to the other bolt but, because it was wobbly without the two final pieces to keep it stronger, I had to put it up flat instead of on end. So, it was time to rotate it up on end which proved to be even more difficult than lifting it up to the bolts in the first place. 

Now, a story pulled from my personal Facebook account:


I was up at the property with 800lbs of pressure treated lumber. I had hauled all that lumber off the top of my car one piece at a time and positioned them close to where I'd need them. The next thing I did was secure three pieces together to create one 20-foot long beam that was approximately 200lbs. At this point, my muscles were already a bit fatigued but I was really determined to lift that beam up into position .... about 5 feet up. I started by lifting up one end and setting it on a sawhorse. Then I lifted the other end and set it on another sawhorse. This left the beam about half as high as I needed it so the next step was to lift one end from the sawhorse and set it on one of my prepared bolts in a tree. I got it then moved to the other end and did the same. In retelling, I make it sound easy but this was H-A-R-D! My body was shaking from the strain long after I stopped lifting each time. I was out of breath and out of my mind quite frankly.

The only problem I had at this point was that it was on it's broad side and I needed the entire 20' long beam to be up on edge. It was wobbly and unruly and waaaay too big for one person to manage but I was trying anyway. Just as I was really looking for another way to accomplish my goal, I heard a female voice, "Do you need some help?"

I'd never met Diane before but there she was. She'd been gardening on the other side of town but needed to stretch a bit after being stooped over for too long. She decided to go for a walk and stumbled upon me in my moment of "holy hell, how am I going to fix this hot mess?!?!?" I was so thankful that no only was someone there right when I needed someone most but also, that it was a woman. I gladly accepted her help and the two of us easily flipped it up on edge. There was no real lifting involved, just rotating it in place which was made difficult for one person by the wobbliness of the beam at that point. We got it turned then she offered to hold it in place while I secured the cables to keep it from falling back over. Two minutes later, it was all secure. We chatted a little then she went on her way.

I was not going to go knocking on someone's door for help. i'm a determined and stubborn worker and while I'll ask Scottie for help if he's out there with me, I really don't like asking relative strangers for a hand. Having someone, and not just anyone but a WOMAN, appear at exactly the moment I needed someone made me feel truly connected to the universe. I thanked Diane for listening to her women's intuition when it told her to go for a walk because clearly some part of me was calling for her, even if I didn't know it."


6/8/2018 work

Feeling empowered and connected and all the great things one feels after hoisting a 200lb beam into place with the help of another woman, I moved on to prepare the final tree to receive beams. 


If you've got 5 minutes to kill, you can watch this video of me installing one of the final bolts:



And here's a silly picture. I took it because I'm generally pretty afraid of heights but have been up and down this ladder countless times since starting to build on our property. It's amazing how we can overcome our fears when we're on a mission.
6/8/2018 work

I got the final hardware set, built the 12' long beam, set it into place (more sweating and questioning my sanity) then stepped back to see what I'd done. After being shocked to see the project from afar, I checked for level and was thrilled to find all my measuring and checking and measuring some more had indeed been worth the effort.

6/8/2018 work


After putting the level back away, I took this picture. Those are some big beams!

6/8/2018 work

Here it is from the car side:

6/8/2018 work

And one final triumphant shot:

6/8/2018 work


Thank you for reading,
Julie

A Shed in the Trees?

Yes, you read that title right, I'm building a shed up in the trees. Why would we want to do that, you might ask. Well, it's not just a shed, it'll be a shed with a loft for hanging out in. The forest floor out there is really spongy which means we can either bring in heavy machinery to pour proper footings for a regular building (which would also likely require that we take out a bunch of trees and damage the forest in ways we just don't want to) or we can build our structures supported by the trees. Besides, who wouldn't want to build a treehouse village if given the chance?

Now let's back up a bit.

I've known I wanted to build this structure for a few months. I even bought some of the hardware for it awhile back but I was really having trouble mustering up the courage to tackle it. I knew I couldn't drill the required 1" diameter holes using my cordless drill so I'd have to take out a plug-in drill. That meant I had to take out the generator too. The generator wasn't easy to start here at home so I was dreading the disappointment I'd surely feel after packing up the whole car, driving 1:15 to the mountains, then failing to start the darn thing on my own and wasting the trip. Also, what if I started drilling the holes and the trees somehow resisted my efforts to make huge holes? What if I drilled the holes and couldn't get the bolts into them? After all, I wasn't using giant screws, they're bolts, these were not intended for this application, what if it didn't work? My mind came up with countless reasons why this wasn't going to work out. I really don't deal well with disappointment so I kept putting off this important project. I finished the tree platform and knew I had to just strap on my big girl overalls (Carharts of course) and face it head on.

Today, I did just that.

But first, a disclaimer: I'M NOT A STRUCTURAL ENGINEER! THESE ARE NOT THE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS FOR SUCH A PROJECT BUT I DID MY OWN RESEARCH AND FEEL THAT THEY'LL SERVE ME WELL BASED ON MANY FACTORS. I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THESE PRODUCTS TO YOU NOR AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM FAILING IF YOU DECIDE TO FOLLOW MY LEAD.

So, I took these big honkin' eye bolts out to the forest (picture taken in my driveway before heading out):

Day 1: Treeshed

You might be wondering what the dimensions on this bad-boy are. Well, the whole thing is about 15" long but the most important part is that the shaft from the end up to the base of the eye is 12" long. Also, it has a 1" diameter. I won't be using the nut as the trees I'm using are quite large plus the experts don't recommend you drill clear through a tree. My goal is to set each bolt about 7" into the tree.

I loaded up my little SUV including the "portable" generator on the cargo tray. I put the word portable in quotes because the darn thing weighs over 100lbs. That's not portable in my books. Hubs has to help lift it onto the tray which is not at all convenient since we only get to go out together on the weekends and I do the bulk of the work out there on the week-days while the kids are in school.

After dropping the kids off at school, I headed straight into the mountains and arrived just before 10am. I unloaded the car, moved the generator to the ground (ugh, that was no easy task), took some measurements, marked my first hole location, and started to drill.

Day 1: Treeshed
(not actually the first one but it's the only pic I have of me using the drill)

It took about 10 minutes to work the drill bit into the tree the full 7 inches. I stopped periodically to check that the bit was going into the tree straight. I used my small level to determine this. One challenge I faced was the bit kept getting stuck so I'd have to back it out then ease it back in. I worked up a good rhythm by the 6th one. It was hard work but I knew I could get there. If I ever have to do another hole this big, I'm not taking this particular drill though, it wasn't as powerful as I wanted.

Once the hole was nicely cleaned up, it was time to set the bolt in place. The threads weren't the kind of nice coarse threads you'd want for making short work of this task so it took a lot of revolutions to get it all the way in. I used a 4' long steel pipe for leverage as I was quickly unable to turn the eye bolt without it.

Day 1: Treeshed

By 10:37, I had installed two of the six bolts.

Day 1: Treeshed

At 10:57, I had completed three of them.

Day 1: Treeshed

At 11:44, all six bolts were set into the three trees that will support the tree-shed.

Day 1: Treeshed

I still had an hour and 15 minutes to work before I'd have to pack up and head back to town to get the kids. I decided to tackle the back-up supports for these bolts. My plan was to drill a 10" long 1/2" diameter lag screw in to the tree at a 45 degree angle 4 feet up from each of the eye bolts. Hanging from that will be a turnbuckle which will hold a cable that will be attached to the eye bolt. When these are all tightened into place, they will give the bolt stability and keep it from putting too much pressure on the tree.

Day 1: Treeshed

I completed one full setup and really like how strong it felt. I also installed three other 10" bolts but have two remaining to complete.

You might be wondering how these will be used. Well, the next step, once I've finished the bolt-turnbuckle-cable sets, will be to set the support beams on top of these huge bolts. There is enough room between the tree and the cable to allow the tree to grow and the beams will somewhat float on top of them to allow for tree movement that won't yank the whole tree-shed apart in a wind storm.

That was my day. I got done more than I honestly thought possible but less than I had hoped but I consider it a huge win. The best part was facing down my fears. I started the generator on the second pull. I drilled massive holes. I installed the bolts into those holes. The trees didn't spontaneously fall down. I didn't hurt myself (much ... ok, so my arms are sort of throbbing but that's not an injury). I'm proud of myself and feel like I accomplished something huge. I tackled a mountain and I won.

Thank you for reading,
Julie



Happening Now in the BSR Studio - May 21, 2018 at 09:13AM

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:


It’s nearly complete!! Just a few more details and I can start on the first treeHOUSE. https://ift.tt/2wZff67 . . . . #treehouse #build #maker #makersgonnamake
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