Tag Archives: deck

197/365. the last episode in my semi-occasional unpublished series of failed attempts to remove sap from the treehouse deck.

197/365. the last episode in my semi-occasional unpublished series of failed attempts to remove sap from the treehouse deck.

a sapsucker of some sort had gotten into the trees last year and the dripping sap created quite a mess on one corner of the treehouse deck that was really bumming me out. i tried many things to remove the sap – an orange peel based concoction that claimed to remove everything which it didn’t. mineral spirits. nope. turpentine. nada. ( all of the liquids i would let soak into the sap ). an electric pressure washer ( not sure of PSI but it’s a little wimpy ). nyet.

then a backyard neighbor said i should try his 2,400 PSI gas powered pressure washer. IT WORKS! IT WORKS! IT WORKS!

and as an added bonus is makes the beautiful black locust decking look brand new.

help me build the treehouse spiral staircase!

help me build the treehouse spiral staircase!

update: putting more thought into it and i think going with something closer to this design might be the way to go.


now that the more supportive supports are in place, the next project is to make safe staircase. a ladder is just asking for trouble, especially when you ascending and descending at night in the dark while watching movies.

i think a spiral staircase would look great and not take up as much space a regular stairscase. i’m going to try and follow a modified version of this plan build mostly from wood and not metal (except for a few important parts ).

and you can help me build it! i need a metal plate that fits curve of 4″ pole with 1″ hole in center and 5/8″ ( maybe 3/8″ ) holes at corners. i could custom fab them but that would get spendy with number of them that i need.

surely such a thing must be available at specialty plumbing/electrical shops?

raising a more supportive treehouse support. part deux.

raising a more supportive treehouse support. part deux.

“just” a few weeks after raising a more supportive treehouse support i rebuilt and raised the second “outside” support with a little help from friends. i’m happy with additional supportive supports and don’t think i need to rebuild the inner supports.

so. finally. after. a. three. month. delay. we can get back to enjoying the treehouse deck. and yes, that means treehouse movie theater screenings!

a psa for anyone thinking about jacking up a 2,000 pound treehouse deck.

a psa for anyone thinking about jacking up a 2,000 pound treehouse deck.

say you’re trying to jack your really heavy treehouse deck that’s 15 feet off the ground. you’ve already done it once without anything too terribly terrible happening and you’re feeling confident.

when you get to raise the other side of the deck to jack up the deck to remove the support you notice the ground is much more sloped and soft directly under the middle of the deck. not ideal conditions. so decide to go a little “off center” on more solid ground without also triple checking to make sure the 4×4 post your using is as close to perfectly vertical as humanly possible.

because guess what happens when you jack up the deck that floats on top of the supports 6 inches and things are leaning a bit?

that’s right! gravity takes over and the 2,000 pound deck falls 6 inches very quickly and shifts over a few inches off center of the supports as it pivots on the 4×4 post and the post falls over almost knocking you cold.

and that’s a check your underpants moment.

so take a little extra time and build up a nice level and solid foundation before jacking up your treehouse deck. you’ll be happy you did.

raising a more supportive treehouse support.

raising a more supportive treehouse support. I.

making progress on modification to treehouse deck supports. i pulled down one of the supports “sistered” on a 14 foot 2’x10’horizontal so the support would span the entire deck and doubled up the supports that go down to the bottom lag bolt so the entire support is twice and strong. and possibly the most important modification – 2 1’x1′ 3/8″ steel plates now help reinforce the bottom of the support.

but how to get it back up since it weighs almost 200 pounds and i didn’t want to almost nominate myself for another darwin award? i called in a crew to help! it took the four of us to pull up the support using a proper pulley and a “poor man’s pulley” built by tossing a rope around one of the deck joists.

at one points someone ( not me ) exclaimed, “i didn’t realize i have a phobia of standing under really heavy things that might fall and crush you.” ah, well, fears were overcome and we relatively quickly got the support back on the top threaded rod that goes through the whole tree.

i have to admit that for the entire winter when i was contemplating taking down the supports i thought there was a good chance the whole deck would come crashing down or for some reason or another the support wouldn’t go back in place. so to get it back in place was a tremendous relief.

thanks to joe, jason and david for the help!

raising a more supportive treehouse support. II.

i decided to reinforce the base of the support with steel plates. the way the physics of forces and pivots work, the base of the support is the most probable point of failure so adding the strength of steel makes me happy. many, many thanks to the fine folks at tollefson repair for custom fabricating the plates. the tollerances were perfectly tight.

raising a more supportive treehouse support. III.

d’oh! the 6″ 5/8″ carriage bolts that go through the steel places push the support away from the tree so the 3/4″ lag bolt will not go as far into the tree. i didn’t anticipate that. when i roughed it out the bolts didn’t rest againts the tree. oh well. the lag bolt still goes about 5 inches into the tree which is fine for now. it’s not going to just pop out. someday i might replace it with a longer bolt. for some reason i’d be happier with 9 inches in the tree.

whoohoo! after i secured the support i went up on the deck and making the support span the entire width of the deck has really made a difference. prior to lengthening the support you could feel the slightest “shimmy” when standing out on the farthest corners of the deck. i think it was perfectly safe if but slightly disconcerting. now no shimmy! and i’m much happier that the new support will stand the test of time at the weakest points. hurray!

raising a more supportive treehouse support. IV.

i think i’ll reinforce the second primary primary support on the other side of the deck over the next week and then we’ll be ready for movie screening season.

i have to admit, it’s still a thrill to stand up on the deck and be surrounded by the canopy of the trees. the furnishings are a little spartan for now but i’ll work on that after the second support is finished.

making some modifications to the treehouse deck.

making some modifications to the treehouse deck.  I.

at the end of last summer, after camping in the trees and watching movies treehouse movie theater i was excited to kick off weekly movie screenings and having all sorts of fun up in the trees this summer.

but after spending the winter looking at the 14’x16′ deck over the winter, i couldn’t stop wondering if the supports for the deck needed to more, well, more supportive. it’s not that i think it’s dangerous now, but thinking out a few years when wear and tear starts taking its toll, i decided i needed to bolster the supports and strengthen some potential points of failure. and in order to do that, i need to take down the supports, which is extra challenging since there are no posts running to the ground.

first things first – i needed to jack up one end of the deck. a 1.5 ton bottle jack and a 4″x4″ post were the right tools for the job though they were a wee bit prone to falling over so having a second post ready was important. i’m glad i thought of that ahead of time 🙂

odin helped crank up the end of the deck a few inches while i put the second post in place.

making some modifications to the treehouse deck. II.

next, i secured some shims in place on the second support on the same tree so the support could take some of the load off the 4″x4″ post.

making some modifications to the treehouse deck. III.

with the 4″x4″ post secured and the shims in place, now it’s time to take down the rightmost support down.

making some modifications to the treehouse deck. IV.

i have to add a bit of leverage in the form of a copper pipe to wrench out the 12″ lag bolt at the base of the support. every creak and groan in the deck is a bit nerve wracking.

making some modifications to the treehouse deck. V.

with the lag bolt out, then i attack the support to a pulley and knock it off the 3/4″ threaded rod that’s holding the top of the support on the tree. standing on a ladder holding a sledge hammer while knocking the support off the rod and holding the pulley rope is trickier than you might think.

making some modifications to the treehouse deck. VI.

and then it’s time to start making the support more supportive! i’m going to lengthen the horizontal section of the support so it runs the entire length of the deck, “sister” a second set of boards to the support to make it twice as thick and attach 3/8″ 12″x12″ steel plates to both sides of the support where the lag bolt goes into the tree. the bottom of the support is the key failure point so reinforcing it with over a half inch of steel will go a long way to ease my mind.

and no, i didn’t really need to use a 2 foot bit to work on the supports, but if you’ve got a big bit, baby you should use it when you get the chance.