Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tool of the Month - August

I was actually thinking about having a "Treehouse Construction Beer of the Month" (rather than "Beer of the Season" - see previous post) but figured that some people may think I have nothing better to spend money on than beer. There are quite a number of things better to spend money on than beer, namely food, clothing, shelter, and tools! So I am introducing a "Tool of the Month" contest, during which my most hardworking and dependable little companions will each try to earn the recognition that they truly deserve! I will be posting the "Tool of the Month" the first week of the month following, but I will begin with the inaugural Tool of the Month winner now: Congratulations to my dependable little Sears Craftsman 14.4 Volt Cordless Impact Driver for winning August's Tool of the Month! I have had this tool for about five years now, and have to say it is very handy for going from drilling to driving screws and back again. It has a quick lock bit holder, and can easily drive 3" screws through two studs, spade bits up to 1" diameter, and countless pilot holes. It came with two batteries, and even after five years, they still hold a solid charge! The impact drive (hammer) comes up automatically as it detects increased torque, and will power through anything.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Treehouse Construction "Beer of the Season" for Autumn

After building the temporary support, dragging it into place, and raising the four floor deck beams, I figured it was time for a break and refreshment. Fortunately the beer fridge was reasonably well stocked, and had an unopened six of Unibroue La Fin Du Monde in the back. I hadn't had one of these in a while, so decided to crack one open. What a perfect drink for an early autumn afternoon (I don't subscribe to the illogical dating of seasons beginning at the solstices or equinoxes). La Fin Du Monde is a magnificent Belgian style triple fermented ale, and brings to mind pine needles, the subtle scent of a forest after rain, and the rich smell of a newly fired woodstove. Delicious! Unibroue was introduced to me about 8 years ago by Bryan, son of Judy and Dave, good friends of Katherine's parents Peter and Donnaleen. Wonderful people, evidenced at least in part by the fantastic beer they enjoy (and their hospitality in accommodating unannounced dinner guests!). Unibroue is a fairly large Quebec-based craft brewer now, with a great selection, many available at your local Beer Store. Check them out by clicking the picture of the label (will open a new window)!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Engineering or Art

Yes. Neither. Both. Hey, does it even matter? The following two photographs show the custom wooden bracket attachment to the smaller tree (note the spreader block installed to keep the longer clamp blocks from snapping as the bolts are tightened), and the simple 3/4 inch through-bolt attachment to the larger tree. Evidently the bolt will break at around 14000 lb under tension, so I am guessing there shouldn't be a big problem holding the treehouse up. The wooden bracket on the other hand...... In the spring, I will want about a dozen male volunteers to climb up and walk around the treehouse in a group, and if it doesn't fall down, I thnk it will be fine!

Slow and Steady (Wins the Race?)

Got back to construction after getting a few other home improvement projects started or finished as the case may be. The four floor deck beams that will support the floor joists under the main treehouse have been put in position, and fixed in place with metal framing flanges. It took quite a while to figure out how best to locate and fasten them, since the twin main beam supports will constantly move away from one another over time. The tall sawhorse support is temporary, and will be removed as soon as the permanent support fixed to the tree trunk is designed and installed. I am mulling over a few different design options, as this single brace will have to support a large portion of the treehouse deck frame, which will extend out approximately 10 feet from the main tree. I have finished the design of the staircase which will rise around the smaller tree to a landing platform there, and hope to begin building those, and the platform next week sometime.