Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tool of the Month - September

September's Tool of the Month Award goes to my Makita 7-1/4" circular saw. Completely dependable - just a power cord, comfortable handle, durable body and deck, trigger switch, and a blade and motor that will chew up 2x10 stock like a sow eating slop at a trough!

Amazingly enough, this tool has cut through hardwood logs, concrete patio stones, PVC, ABS, steel and copper pipe, tumbled aggregate pavers, asphalt, sheet steel roofing, and plate steel in addition to all the lumber I have thrown in it's path. 15 years old, and after about 4000 board feet cut, this baby looks and works like new!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Successful Scrounging!

Over the past month I have been busy locating specific materials, and have found some interesting sources. I have managed to find a nice supply of cedar log skins, a bit of sheet steel, and a fantastic supply of both 2x4 and 1x4 lumber...

The cedar is the outermost wood and bark from cedar logs, the waste from a small cutting and milling operation that friends of Katherine (Dave and Eileen, thanks!) on Carson Lake had done. I think they had about 25 or so cedars on their property felled, and then cut into lumber that they used for projects and sold to friends. The leftover scrap they donated will be cut down and used for feature siding and possibly window frames.

I will use the sheet steel (approx 1-1/2" x 6 ft) underneath the two main beams, to protect them where they slide over the bracket on the small tree. I found it at Golden Triangle Specialty metal in Cambridge, a company that I visited when working as a courier. The guys there were kind enough to donate it to the cause!

The lumber comes from Dan, my next door neighbour, who works as a flat metal roofer (I think). Apparently his materials are delivered in large crates about 3' x 4' and anywhere from 8' to 20' long! After they remove the materials, the crates are broken down into garbage - until now! Dan has volunteered to bring a reasonable supply home which I will then dissassemble. They provide 2x4" studs, as well as 1" thick lumber which I will use as sub floor under the finish floor deck of the treehouse.

I think using these (and other supplies like them) is is a great way to reduce construction costs, aid in reuse and recycling, and keep stuff out of the landfill. Win-Win all around, thanks to everyone who helped out!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More Mulling

As the floor joists slowly go up over the four main beams, I have been thinking of what I want the actual treehouse to look like, or the style in which I want to build it. Sorry folks, but unpainted exterior grade plywood walls are unacceptable!
I want something that will look as much in place (as a house within a tree can look) as possible, so natural (or natural looking) materials, and a rustic appearance are required. Finances also dictate that the materials must be reasonably priced, so I will be looking at reclaimed, donated and/or discarded materials also. On the short list of possible materials are board and batten siding, cedar shakes or shingles, lapped board siding, and even waste skins from cedar logs.
I am planning on giving the treehouse a design and appearance based on the Craftsman (USA early 20th century) or Arts and Crafts (English and European, late 19th century) styles of architecture. I have included a link to one of my favorite websites, Robinson Residential Designs Inc., a Regina Saskatchewan based architectural firm specializing only in the Craftsman style. Check them out by clicking on the picture of the gorgeous house!