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Poop 08-02-2017 07:57 AM

okay, something to consider:

trees, even big ass trees like this one, sway in the wind. twist, more than anything. all those leaves and branches act like a sail, and the treehouse adds to that significantly. how much? maybe a couple of inches, maybe not seemingly too much, but remember that lumber is not nearly so flexible as green, living, tree wood. a couple of inches can splinter boards, and even these huge 2 x 16 stringers are no match for this thing in a heavy wind storm.

so, there needs to be some give, and since it cannot be along the stringers, it has to be at the top, or the bottom. rather than fashion some tricky slide at the top, and have potentially moving gaps in dangerous places, it only makes sense to provide for the bottom to slide a bit.

the easiest i came up with was for there to be a piece of plywood beneath the base of the ladder, supported by a light foundation that would help drain away water that would rot the base too quickly.


i dug a shallow hole, so as not to disturb too many important roots (you know, the things that keep this tree standing during hurricanes), and most importantly, to avoid doing too much work.

then, a little gravel to help drain away any water that might otherwise sit next to the plywood. conveniently, we usually have a spare gravel pile on hand at the farm most times. shallow blocks are nestled in that to provide a stable, flat base. cost next to nothing, obviously.

Poop 08-02-2017 08:16 AM

then, a stout piece of plywood treated for ground contact, and then again soaked in that green copper naphthenate wood preserver that smells like what you squirt on horses' hooves to treat a thrush infection. it's funny that everyone everywhere bitches about the horrible smell of this stuff, and i love it. reminds me of childhood at the barn. go figure.

once again, NO FUCKING HELP hoisting these motherfuckers up into the trap door hole up and down for measurements and final cuts. thanks a lot, facebook, and family, and friends, and earth. luckily i was feeling pretty stout that day. no worries, me and jesus got this.

luckily i opted to assemble this thing in place, and not way across the farm in the barn where i was doing the last few steps. it would never have worked. so, steps just slide into place, and are held there by stainless threaded rods that run in a routed groove on the underside of each step, and into counterbored holes in the stringers, so nuts sit below the surface. another perk of using a full 2" rough cut board, there's room to do that with hefty hardware even.

as ever with stainless, don't forget the anti-seize, and assemble slowly. i tightened mine in stages, to allow heat from friction to dissipate, and hopefully to avoid any galling.

the top of the left stringer extends all the way to the top of the protective handrail inside, that's meant to keep dumbasses like my son and i from not paying attention and taking a backwards step to our demise out the trap door. this allows me to buddy the two features together using a spacer for stabilization of the hand rail, which was previously not reinforced at that end.

now some before-school testing by my son, who has grown a lot through the duration of this build, physically and otherwise. i get the feeling he's kinda proud of it, too. and that's the best feeling in the whole world.

what's also a great feeling is when he takes guests up to the treehouse for the first time, and HE'S the one brimming with confidence when others are timid, anxious, maybe scared. it's so often the other way around, and it's good for him to be able to observe and process anxieties from the other side of the equation. i truly believe that it is another piece of the puzzle for him to help somebody else through something that causes them anxiety, to be able to accept help--and to help himself--through his own issues.

getting closer.

STEINBVG 08-02-2017 10:26 AM

I take it it's a bit more difficult[and scary] to go down than up, correct?
Would be cool to have also a fire station like slick pole to slide down..., or a zip line?

Poop 08-02-2017 11:31 AM

agreed, vitaly, those would be cool. but i wouldn't trust my 3 year old nephew on them, or to stay off of them. there aren't really any other trees near it to attach the other end of a zip line to, anyway.

going down is generally scarier for most folks, i think. but i think it's pretty easy to get used to.

Tortolabob2 08-03-2017 04:23 PM

Maybe a slide ramp? Or a water slide?

ecir45 08-05-2017 12:22 PM

we have steps around work at that angle and once you get use to them can run up and down them nice job. A few strategic handles around the opening would help get up.

Poop 08-20-2017 01:33 PM

sorry for the brief absence. i've been distracted by guns.

so then it was time to build the trap door. for a while we would cover the hole with the piece of plywood, which is shown used as a template underneath the boards in this pic.

Poop 08-20-2017 01:35 PM

the advantage of the plywood was it was light and easy; the 2x6 boards are heavier and require a frame, but will blend in with the floor and be much sturdier. however, with all that weight the trap door would need to be counterweighted or heavily sprung so small children can safely operate it.

Poop 08-20-2017 01:38 PM

some square tubing and a strip of sheet from tractor supply, and a little help from a buddy and i had a frame and a door in place.

Poop 08-21-2017 06:04 AM

a little cable and pulley setup runs down through the wall and floor below the platform, so the door can be opened from the ground. it is so heavy, though, that a counterweight will need to be employed.

to get a good idea of the ideal weight for the counterweight, a bucket is mocked up and water level is adjusted. ideal weight takes most of the effort away from lifting the door, but does not make the door too difficult to pull back down.

Poop 08-21-2017 07:09 AM

ideal weight decided, and we're ready to cast the counterweight. it will be made from a galvanized steel cylinder (piece of a chain link fence post), galvanized threaded rod, two galvanized threaded eye nuts, and the lead we're about to pour. using the density of lead at 0.41 lbs. per cubic inch, a 12" piece of pipe will put us at the low side of the ideal weight range.

now to melt 26 lbs. of lead. this lead was donated, sourced previously from car battery plates, so we had a little bit of trash to skim from the top. the pot was a minor project in itself, and will serve my father in law for future foundry projects.

we decided to leave some adjustability to the counterweight, so we cast the main weight at the bottom end of the acceptable weight range, and then cast three additional add-ons.

Poop 08-21-2017 10:26 AM

installed in the treehouse wall, the counterweight works by the help of 5 simple pulleys plus a block and tackle.

also, a block and tackle under the door to close it.

Poop 08-21-2017 11:29 AM

one rope to open, one to close!

finally, time for playdates with other kids!

Poop 08-21-2017 11:53 AM

Tortolabob2 08-26-2017 07:54 AM

That is so it!

Poop 08-26-2017 10:06 AM

thanks, bob!

okay, i think these will about wrap it up...

move in day!

a little patio set from walmart, patio pillows from home depot, fifty cent yardsale zebra.

fire extinguisher mounted.

and the fuckin' finish line, bitches. fuckin' aye.

Tortolabob2 08-27-2017 09:05 AM

Well done Poop, could have been a reality tv show on DYI.

Tx51 09-05-2017 09:43 AM

Wow!! Great work poop

SDB 09-09-2017 03:36 PM

That turned out awesome. All you need now is a bird bath and some pellet guns!

Poop 09-11-2017 03:06 PM

that's my kind of fun!

Poop 09-13-2017 05:12 PM

healthy food and homework in the honky tonk treehouse... it's a wonderful life.

and a chill ass sunset to boot.

Rhode Warrior 09-15-2017 07:40 PM

That's awesome. He will always remember that tree house and the time spent there. Very worthy project.

Poop 01-09-2018 10:48 AM

east coast snow bomb treehouse fun.

day starts with a little housekeeping.

my housekeeper loves his work.

he's also the resident peace officer.

my old ass is relegated to the corner, where i try to blend in with the heralded legends on the wall.

photo op on the porch with my partner.

the watchman takes his perch.

approach this treehouse with care, at any hour. beware the heavily camoed sentinel perched inconspicuously on his watch; he deals death from above to suspected communists, vandals, trespassers, and elephant seals. (he self-identifies as a great white shark. get with the muthafuckin' times, man.)

Poop 01-09-2018 10:50 AM

the watchman's existence is one of solitude, his song a lonely whistle, and his legacy a pile of trespasser's bones.

Poop 01-09-2018 10:53 AM

my buddy showed up late in the day for a couple of drone shots.

behold, the last sanctuary on earth for regular guys like us.


STEINBVG 01-09-2018 11:13 AM

Great. With the winter like this - the next project might be insulating and installing a wood burning stove?

Poop 01-10-2018 09:36 AM

man, i'd love to. but for two winters now i've been trying to come to terms with some safe way to handle piping hot smoke away from the branches in a way that wouldn't look like crap, and i cannot. it's still not heated, but i'm making plans to heat via propane tank mounted underneath. will probably happen next fall.

MAKO6 01-16-2018 12:19 PM

Big fat BRAVO, Poop...! Like the typical dipshit that I am, I lost track of this thread over time and failed to stay up to date with progress. First, sorry about that, and second, I went back and re-read the entire thread in utter amazement. What a great project, and for such a great reason. It looks like your boy is progressing nicely, you should be beaming with pride. He's a a handsome little lady- killer.

Now with respect to your heating conundrum, my geeky engineer comes out. Have you thought about hot water heat using a remote boiler /heater constructed somewhere near the base of the tree. It may provide a solution to the hot exhaust challenge you describe..

At any rate, WELL DONE...! I wish you and your family all the best...


MAKO6 01-16-2018 12:23 PM are you hosting pictures here....?

it's an on-going struggle for me and my Vette project..


Poop 01-17-2018 08:42 AM

mak, i upload photos one at a time (only way it works), and the resolution / file size cannot be too large. it takes a while, but works.

so, from anywhere in the gallery section, select "upload photo", then select only one file. if, after trying to upload, you get some crazy repeated error message, then the file size was too big, and you need to adjust down the resolution in some photo editor, then begin again.

thanks for the compliments and kind words. and yes, my son is coming along well, overcoming many of his setbacks and is a really SWEET boy. i'm very proud of that part, especially. also, he's begun wrestling. he's motivated, and he loves it. i'm proud of that as well, because i think it will help him address his biggest challenges with his diagnosis, and life.

as for the heat, i think we'll go with a ventless propane setup, and build a box under the deck to hide a couple of bottles. the place won't be insulated, but a tiny propane heater can get it to decent outdoor playhouse temps pretty easily, and hold for short periods of time. i doubt we'll fire it up much more than half a dozen times in the winter. but who knows?

golfish 01-27-2018 08:33 PM

Kudos to you sir, what a great project and I'm sure you have made your son very happy. I've seen a lot of builds on here, this is by far the best one yet:)

Poop 01-28-2018 09:32 AM


Originally Posted by golfish (Post 1283515)
Kudos to you sir, what a great project and I'm sure you have made your son very happy. I've seen a lot of builds on here, this is by far the best one yet:)

there are some amazing craftsmen, artists, and builders on this site, and their projects are incredible. i've learned a ton here, and it's only a small fraction of what could be learned here, limited by my ability to take it all in. to be included among them is a high compliment, indeed. thank you for the kind words.

i'm happy to report my son is very proud of it. i swell with pride when he tells strangers that he has an awesome treehouse that his dad took three years to build because i love him so much. (and that's how he often tells it, all in one sentence!) it's one of the very best feelings i've experienced. i look forward to him sharing it with friends for years to come.

Poop 01-11-2019 06:48 AM

alright, i'm thinking about an alternative to the wood stove so many have suggested, that would be nice but for the need to pipe out smoke so far away from the tree. and i'm strongly considering something like this, a dual fuel (natural gas and/or propane) type ventless stove, that would run off a 100 lb. tank i'd have to install in a box hidden up underneath the deck. of course, safety is the primary concern.

what are your thoughts?

Poop 01-11-2019 06:49 AM

oh, and with regard to that safety issue... i'd have the tank installed under the deck in a seperate, locking wood box, with a shut off switch inside that box. so kids would not be able to go up there and turn it on themselves.

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