Introduction: Ultimate Treehouse

The kids were agitating for a treehouse for a while, so last summer we finally decided it was time to do something about it. We started by researching the topic. David Stiles' book How to Build Treehouses, Huts and Forts was an inspiration.

Step 1: Building the Deck

We started by finding two big trees to anchor to. We also added a 6x6 post in the back to make a triangle. This was dug down several feet and footed on concrete. We then used giant lag screws to attach 2x6s to trees and post to make a triangular base. Unfortunately, we did not get any good photos of this part.

The next step was to build a deck to go onto the triangular frame. To keep things as easy as possible, we made this an 8 foot square. This meant we could use 8ft 2x4s to frame it, and then attach two 4x8 sheets of 3/4 plywood for the deck.

We then hoisted the deck onto the supports between the trees, and secured by lashing together with sturdy nylon rope.

Step 2: Winter Intervenes

We spent the winter debating the design of the superstructure.

Step 3: The Superstructure

When the snow melted this year, it was time to get serious and finish the project. After a lot of We finally decided to build a pretty simple 4x8 rectangular structure five feet high in the front, sloping to 4 feet high in the back.

Material list:

five 4x8 sheets of 1/2 plywood

twenty 8ft 2x4s

five squares of cedar shingles

deck screws, roofing nails, roll of roofing felt.

Step 4: Building the Walls

We framed the walls on the ground then hoisted them into place and secured them.

Step 5: Rafters Installed

As the side and rear walls were secured, the rafters were also installed. We left about a foot of overhang in the front.

1/2 plywood was then attached to the rafters and covered with roofing felt.

Step 6: Roofing

We used grade D cedar shingles. Pretty much trial and error here, having never used them before. Turned out ok, and nobody fell off the roof.

Step 7: Walls and Roof Finished

After one long day, the walls and roof are up. Builders are psyched.

Step 8: A Few Finishing Touches

A gargoyle, a door made out of scrap lumber, house numbers, a railing and a "No Trespassing" sign and we are finished for now.

Step 9: Next Steps?

We are currently scavenging for some old windows to put it. We are also debating what color to paint or stain it. After that: Cannons? Trap doors? Crow's nest? The possibilities are endless. In the meantime we are reading Stephen Taylor's Building Thoreau's Cabin and thinking of next summer...

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