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  #121 (permalink)  
Old 08-02-2017, 06:57 AM
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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.

so...



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.

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  #122 (permalink)  
Old 08-02-2017, 07:16 AM
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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.

Last edited by Poop; 08-02-2017 at 08:28 AM..
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  #123 (permalink)  
Old 08-02-2017, 09:26 AM
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Nice.
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?
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Last edited by STEINBVG; 08-02-2017 at 09:45 AM..
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  #124 (permalink)  
Old 08-02-2017, 10:31 AM
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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.
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  #125 (permalink)  
Old 08-03-2017, 03:23 PM
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Maybe a slide ramp? Or a water slide?
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  #126 (permalink)  
Old 08-05-2017, 11:22 AM
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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.
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  #127 (permalink)  
Old 08-20-2017, 12:33 PM
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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.

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  #128 (permalink)  
Old 08-20-2017, 12:35 PM
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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.

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  #129 (permalink)  
Old 08-20-2017, 12:38 PM
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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.

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  #130 (permalink)  
Old 08-21-2017, 05:04 AM
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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.


Last edited by Poop; 08-21-2017 at 06:43 AM..
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  #131 (permalink)  
Old 08-21-2017, 06:09 AM
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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.





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  #132 (permalink)  
Old 08-21-2017, 09:26 AM
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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.

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  #133 (permalink)  
Old 08-21-2017, 10:29 AM
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one rope to open, one to close!





finally, time for playdates with other kids!

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  #134 (permalink)  
Old 08-21-2017, 10:53 AM
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Last edited by Poop; 01-18-2018 at 05:48 AM..
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  #135 (permalink)  
Old 08-26-2017, 06:54 AM
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That is so cool...love it!
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