Tuesday, January 29, 2013

6 Feet Up

 For the last two Saturdays I've been plugging away at the tree fort. I've got very limited carpentry experience/skill, but I'm learning quick from my good friends Google and YouTube. It's incredible what you can find online from so many other talented Dad's and Grandpa's. 

Once I had the posts cemented in I fastened the 2x8x12 beams to form the triangular platform. This part was frustrating! I had read/seen online in multiple places that I should drill the pilot holes slightly smaller and shorter than the lag screws that I would be using to fasten the beams to the tree. Unfortunately, my Pecan tree's core is MUCH stronger than I realized, and by leaving the pilot holes too short I actually broke 3 of the 1/2" lag screws in half! They just sheared right off while I tried to tighten them on with a socket wrench. I finally figured it out, bought a long drill bit to drill the holes deeper, and got the screws firmly in place.

Next I attached three main joists from one side beam to the other. Then I cut shorter joists to connect
to the main joists at a 90* angle. I used metal joist hangers and galvanized nails. Might be a bit over-engineered for a kids tree fort, but I want it to support adults weight and to last for 5-10 years.

Rachel thought I looked like a dork wearing my old Home Depot apron. I must say I got pretty nostalgic when I tied the strings, hooked on my official HD tape measure and exacto knife, and filled my pockets with nails and screws. It used to rain briefly every afternoon in Colorado Springs, and I'd be outside the store under the covered breezeway with all of my lumber carts (we became well acquainted, me and those metal carts), waiting for it to pass so that I could finish loading some contractors flat bed with another 30 bags of cement. Ahhh, good memories.

The platform is nearly finished, just need to cut the final pieces to fit around the tree trunk. I've got the lumber for the ladder all cut and ready to assemble, and it'll attach in the forefront of the picture above, right where the longer boards stop.

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