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Treehouse Experiment, 2013-2014

January 19, 2014

I’m learning to build on my own. We decided to make a “tree house” – really, a fort – and took it slowly, stage by stage.

I’m a novice, so this is more for your entertainment and edification than for education. If you do experiment with building, be very mindful of safety – proper materials, falling dangers, gaps that could catch fingers or little heads, and so on.


Step 1: Set the posts (12′ 4x4s) deep into the ground, set with gravel, level so it’s vertical, and add cement.

Step 2: Once the concrete is set, bolt 2×6 boards to the outside of the posts using 3/16″ x 5″ lag bolts. Make sure you level first! (C clamps help a lot.)


Step 3: Now you have a square; use joist hangers and nails to hang 2×6 boards 16″ apart. This is the support system for your floor. Make sure the tops of the boards line up with the tops of your frame boards.

tree02bStep 4: Add 3/4″ planking, fixed in place with decking screws. You’ll need to cut these to fit with a circular saw, and sand and waterproof/paint after. We added a trap door, well supported underneath, with a handle and a gate hinge.


Trap door, open.


Step 5: The 2nd story is a repat of the first story: for starters, affix 2×6′ boards leveled and bolted with lag bolts to the posts.


Step 6: We did walls before we started hanging the second floor. I framed with 2×3″ boards, screwed (with 2″ screws) to the posts and floor planking (through to the support boards underneath). Then we added1/2″ plywood to the outside with decking screws. You’ll want to add framing for windows and stuff, but so far we just added door-sized framing for big windows. We’ll finish those later sometime.


Step 6a: Also, frame for a door. We’d made wooden steps up to the platform, and placed the door frame there.


Step 7: Hang the door. I specifically measured and cut a piece of plywood so that I cut the door off of the support piece. That way I hang the support piece, put the door up with a temporary screw, and add hinges. It fits. Also made sure the door overlapped the framing board 1/2″ on the handle side.


Step 8: Add joist hangers and boards to support the second floor. Cut and screw on planking as before. We’re doing a half second floor – part of the first floor is open to the sky – but you’ll want to plan an opening so you can get TO the 2nd floor.


Top view of the second floor, once we added the planking. Trust me, the railing is next, and before the kids get to play up there!


View of the first floor (with hammock, and tools I’ll move out when we’re done.)

I’ll update this with more details, and as I get questions.


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