ABC…Treehouse!

The summer is coming, have you already built your own treehouse in your garden?

Today I’d like to report an article made by Popular Mechanics in which it’s explained the first ABC of how to build a treehouse.

Mainly what you need are:
Lagscrew
A galvanized lagscrew with a washer forms a solid union between tree and joist. Choose 1/4-in.-dia. screws, about 4 to 6 in. long. Trees can react badly to two closely spaced puncture wounds, with the space between rotting out. Use a single strong bolt instead.

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–  Garnier Limb
This 1-1/4-in.-thick bolt was created by professional treehouse designer and builder Michael Garnier ($85, treehouses.com). The flange rests against the tree, giving the bolt 8000 pounds of load-bearing capacity. A variety of metal poles and brackets fit the protruding anchor.

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Cabled Support
You can use cables to support overhanging platforms and to create suspension systems such as the designs by Peter Lewis and Dustin Feider that are featured on these pages. The system is anchored with eyebolts; turnbuckles allow you to adjust the tension.

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–  Flexible Joints
A variety of bracket designs allow beams to move slightly, to keep a tree’s swaying (and growth) from pulling apart the structure. The one shown here permits rotation. Other brackets allow a joist between two trees to slide horizontally.

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 Now that you have everything, you have just to find your tree!

Find a healthy tree
Decay is the enemy when it comes to deciding where to build, says pro builder and arborist Jonathan Fairoaks. Avoid trees laden with fungus or moss. Tap with a mallet to listen for a dampened sound, which indicates rot. A broad root system is good. Still unsure? Many arborists will check a tree for free or for a small price.

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Treat gravity with respect
What goes up can come down–including you. Here are a few tips to avoid a smashed drill, or worse, when the job site is high in a tree.
Rent scaffolding, at least to build the platform. Ladders plus round trunks can lead to disaster.
Wear a climbing harness. A model made for tree work will be more comfortable, but a rock-climbing harness will do. Create a convenient safety system by tying lengths of “static” climbing rope or nylon webbing to the tree at various points. As you move about, unclip from one anchor and clip into another using locking carabiners.
But a harness isn’t enough. This is dangerous work–and we don’t recommend you try it until you’ve done your own homework in safety and technique. Take a climbing class to learn knots and ropework. Wear a hard hat. Never work alone.
Hang tools in 5-gal. buckets from nearby branches to avoid dropping tools–a major inconvenience. Put pencils on a string leash. Hoisting heavy beams requires a block-and-tackle setup. The one shown here is providing a 4-to-1 mechanical advantage (ignoring friction)–it theoretically would allow you to lift 100 pounds using only 25 pounds of force.

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Now you are ready to build it up! And remember to send me your pics!

Pics and text by Popular Mechanics

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