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.

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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.

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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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