Sunday, October 31, 2010

Waste Considerations

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

Rudi's Sick Day Photo Journal

More Found Materials - Steel Roofing

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

The Second Storey (continued)

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

Tool of the Month - September 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.

Second Storey Anti Sway Bracket

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.