“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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
and nobody is always more willing to help than odin. he helped carry and hoist all thirty two of the fourteen foot very heavy boards from the garage to the ladder without a single complaint.
of course, the promise of finally getting to stand on the deck is a great motivator 🙂
two hours later after carrying board after board and waiting for me to straighten them on the deck, odin finally got to stand on the deck! a mere two years after hatching the original very crazy plan. then, i just had an idea with absolutely no idea how would build a deck around two trees 12 feet up in the air. it’s a really awesome feeling to finally get to stand up there with odin and feel the trees gently swaying and listen to the birds chirping.
it took awhile to figure it all out, but having fun building it with odin is the real goal so it really doesn’t matter how long it takes us.
while futzing with the spacing between the planks i decided to lay under the deck to get a look at how it looked and it occurred to me that i’m really, really, really glad i decided to hang the supports on solid lengths of 3/4″ threaded rod that go all the way through the tree. there’s a lot of wood up there and the black locust is astonishingly heavy. there might be over 3,000 pounds of materials up there that i want to stay up there. the good news is that it seems very solid and yet it’s still designed to move with the trees.
of course, after all that hard work we have to drag up some camp chairs and talk about how awesome it’s going to be to pitch a tent on the deck after the posts and guard rails go up. we’ll get some camping in while we design the treehouse that’s going to get built on top of the deck!
how do you make being with your son up in the trees any more awesome? run an electrical cord up there and start using POWER TOOLS!
this just keeps getting better and better. stay tuned…