A short while ago I decided that instead of a front facing dormer on the house, I would actually make an extended, overhanging dormer. Although the second floor boasts the same square footage as the first (70 sf roughly) the fact that the peak was under six feet, and the pitch, although steep, would make the second story feel quite cramped.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Two important thoughts I had before building the treehouse were to use as much 'waste' materials as I could reasonably find, and also to generate as little waste as possible during construction. The photograph attached here depicts the total waste from producing the studs for one gable end waist wall, two side waist walls, as well as an OSB ridge beam and a pair of rafters. The two stacks of short pieces are the wall studs, the rest of the wood will be top and bottom plates, and two rafters are pictured. All the waste is the small pile of scraps beside the Makita circular saw.
The decisions to include (or exclude) certain features, or do things in a particular manner, are often quite dependant on the materials I have to work with. I was able to pick up a number of scrap 2 x 4's in 48" lengths, which gave me the idea to build an overhanging gable ended dormer with two foot tall waist walls. I simply cut the 4' sticks down to 23-3/4" and added a top and bottom plate, with a sliver of wood as waste per stud.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Driving home after dropping off Alexander at the sitter last week, I stopped to grab the mail, then drove by an old house having a small barn re-sided and re-roofed. The entire steel roof was stacked in three large piles, all seemingly in fair condition. I talked to the renovator, who directed me to the owner, and we quickly came to an agreement that for $40 cash and all the steel completely cleaned up I could have it all. I am guessing at $130 a tonne for scrap steel, there might have been $60 worth, as it took four trips with the van to carry it all home.
Monday, October 18, 2010
With my father's help we got a little more work done on the second storey on Sunday. My mother wanted to see a show in Stratford, and took Katherine to see Evita, leaving Roger, me, Rudi and Alexander at home for a few hours. Roger and Rudi helped me finish the anti sway attachment, and then we installed the planking on the west roof peak, which is now visible in the photograph
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Nothing beats having a lightweight, easy to handle, high output chainsaw handy when working on a platform fifteen feet in the air cutting 4 inch limbs off a gnarly White Spruce tree. So here is mine, a Husqvarna 335 XPT top handle arborist chain saw. It puts out 2.2 horsepower, and makes short work of large limbs, small trees, and even decent sized logs.
After laying the subfloor out, and starting the rafters on the second floor, I noticed that there was a lot of sway in the building, and it moved as much as two or three inches from side to side relative to the tree trunk. I suppose this can't be a huge suprise for a small building whose whole foundations is two big beams fastened to a tree with a mammoth threaded bold!
I decided that the sway was too much, and I would design a simple method to essentially anchor the second floor frame to the tree. A lot of interesting design ideas went through my mind, as the method must somehow be adjustable, in that I want the second floor joists to remain in place, even as the tree trunk grows slowly outwards.
The simplest and most effective solution was to lag screw a short two by four brace to the tree trunk, and then use two lag bolts to attach the closest second floor joist to the. The photos below give a good view of what the end result looked like.
First photo from second floor looking down (with Rudi looking up), with the brace, main lag screw, and two lag bolts visible.
The second photo is from the first floor, with the joist, lag screw (installed using the large hole opened in the joist), and the right hand lag bolt holding the joist to the brace.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
After finalizing the method I would use to attach the rafters to the second floor joists, I calculated the required length using the trig calculater a few posts previous. Rudi and I carefully climbed up to the second floor, where he helped me install the first pair, more as a test to see if it could be done readily, and if the attachment seamed suitably designed. Bear in mind for weight, simplicity and style considerations, a fascia board and standard rafters with associated birdsmouth cuts was not in consideration.
The second picture shows the means of attachment I designed, using a basic hurricane bracket bent to the appropriate rafter angle, screwed down, and then the rafter glued with PL Premium adhesive, screwed from the sides, and also screwed vertically from the bottom through the joist into the rafter. Theres nothing moving here!
Friday, September 24, 2010
Initially purchased for my Father to replace a forty year old small table saw, he found this one a bit too larger for his needs, and it only had an extendable top on the right hand side, whereas he needed both sides extendable. Later my mother bought him his ideal table saw (a Craftsman Professional, what else!), and this one ended up in my possession.
It is a Craftsman Professional 4.4hp 10" jobsite tablesaw. It's big, it's tough, and it can slice through lumber like a hot knife through butter, all while making extremely precise cuts. I paid $399 plus taxes, and that was a 50% off sale price if I recall correctly. A tough as nails tool that can be moved around easily, and does what you need, and more!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
We visited my older sister (and my brother-in-law and neice) in Ottawa one weekend during our last two weeks at the cottage, and I was able to return with a couple of hundred square feet of salvaged steel roofing that was removed from their farmhouse when they had the original house re-roofed during the construction of a new addition. It made absolute sense to strip off the fifty odd year old roof, as the new steel roofs are far superior in terms of design, appearance, and durability.
This is the whole lot, about 20 mostly full sheets, which will be used to roof the treehouse later this fall before the snow starts falling (hopefully). My goal is to have the rafters and strapping in place next week, and the roof installed the week after that.
The main cantilevered deck of the treehouse is designed with a broad sweeping curve at the front, so the outmost deck joist will have to be curved to match. How to make curved lumber, in this case a curved 2 x 6? Fairly easily, if you start with decent sized scrap plywood, best thickness around 1/4" to 3/8" or so. Set up a table saw with the rip fence set at the width of the lumber you are trying to match, in this case 5-1/2 inches for the nominal 6" lumber. After ripping, this is what you end up with. The length really is not critical, as long as about half are at least six to eight feet or longer.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
With the main floor framed, the second floor joists installed, and much of the subfloor above complete, I have to now calculate the length of the roof rafters. To keep things simple I cut all my joists at the desired roof pitch of 55 degrees, and will simply intall a 2" x 3" 'fascia stop' across the bottom end of all the joists, and then butt the rafter bottoms against this stop. This means no birdsmouth cuts, just a corresponding 55 degree cut at the rafter top to mate with the ridge.
Seeing that I couldnt recall whether 'soh cah toa' (or is it toh sah coa?) was correct, and whether angles had to be in degrees or radians, I chose the most efficient option. I just googled "trigenometry calculator" and got this incredibly simple online calculator. Input two of the values you know, and the other 3 are calculated for you!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
It's simply not good enought to build a strong treehouse, it also has to be good looking. That's why you aren't going to see rough plywood walls or any junk like that. Here is another little cosmetic touch I think will look fantastic. Check out the before and after pic, with the cedar shake installed to cover the somewhat less than attractive 2 x 8 end beam.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Rudi and I continued with more wall framing and second floor joists, as well as some OSB sub floor on the second (or attic) floor. Rain was forecast, so I wanted to get a rubber tarp over the second floor to protect it and the shed pine laid as the finish floor below. Some clear garbage bags offer a bit of additional rain protection
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Corner stud, with top plate on gable end wall lapped onto the double top plate of the 'front' wall. The 2 x 6 end joist rests directly on top of the single top plate, with the 7/16" OSB sub floor just visible.
Wall stud, double top plate, 'hurricane bracket', and second floor joist, located on the 'back' wall. For simplicity of layout, I located the joists directly over the studs at 16" centers.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Today saw more work completing the framing of the first floor walls, top plates, and the floor joists to support the second story. I have decided on a simplified gothic revival vernacular story and a half, with gable ends and a steep 55 degree pitch for the roof.
Friday, August 6, 2010
I found a good deal on six foot lengths of relatively clear pine, commonly sold as 'shed pine'. It is a nominal 1" x 10" board, measuring 3/4" x 9-1/4", perfect for flooring when laid over the 7/16" OSB sub floor, especially considered I have my joists at 12" centres.
The nice thing is that they come typically in 6' lengths, so I didn't have to cut them at all, simply lay them out, glue them, and nail them down, then position the partly assembled walls on them and screw them down.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
We continued working on the wall framing, as well as laying the finish floor on top of the OSB sub floor, immediately prior to fastening the base plate down. I decided to use a double top plate instead of a single for the long walls, and locate the joists directly above the studs on 16" centres.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Scratch the idea of using the reclaimed maple hardwood for the finish floors of the treehouse, as storing them outdoors under a tarp let them get wet and sodden... About one quarter of the entire lot is salvageable, which is probably not enough for the 70 square foot required. Lesson learned, and off to plan B, which is probably 1" x 10" shed pine laid over the OSB, or something similar.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Rudi and I got started on framing the walls today, using various scrap quality two by fours, all cut to 6' lengths. With the top and bottom plates adding another three inches, there is plenty of ceiling height for a kid who is under 5' tall, but just barely enough for a person of my height to feel safe, yet still a bit uncomfortable.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
From the main beams and floor joists upwards, the bulk of the building materials used in the treehouse will be either recycled or reclaimed material. The floor where the building of the treehouse is to be situated will be 7/16 OSB sub floor, with reclaimed tongue and groove maple hardwood on top. The OSB is offcuts and scrap roofing material, from the local subdivision. The easiest way to get as much scrap building materials as you want is make friends with the framing crew supervisor, bring the gang four Tim Horton's coffee one morning, and they will give you run of the scrap bin! That's how I do it at least.