Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Party - The Next Day

Well it was a rousing success! Here is a picture of the party members the next morning.

The Party

My daughter's Birthday Party went really well. We sent them up in the treehouse, handing out flashlights and cutting up the cake to her four friends. After the movie (Night at the Museum - Smithsonian), we handed out bug spray and bid them goodnight! (Well, I slept in a tent in the backyard just to keep an eye on them.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


FINALLY! It's a go!

Up to the very day of the party, my daughter kept asking "you WILL finish in time, won't you?" As late as an hour before the sleep over , I was putting on door handles etc. But fnish we did (With wife,daughter and son chipping in).

After we finished the fittings, we used Christmas lights for decoration and stuck a small TV/DVD player for a movie.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Home stretch/under the gun - dutch door

It sounds really simple! My daughter wanted a dutch door onto the deck. How hard could it be? All you have to do is build a door out of 2x4 s and cut it in half. So that's what I did. I took a width and a length and built a frame threw some plywood on it and sliced it in half - NO GO. It turns out that the doorway isn't quite square. I figured the inch it was off didn't make a difference, but it does. See attached photo - note the curved slash in the door when my saw hit a nail.

Ok, time to start again. This time I taped together to large pieces of Kraft paper, then taped them over the doorway. Then, I drew an outline of the doorway on the paper to use as a template. That worked better. The other change was to use the plywood as the door and use strapping to frame the door and the doorway. Voila! Open...

and closed!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Home stretch/under the gun - screening part 3

Well, believe or not the screening is in. It was a challenge without a ladder (see below), but I screened most of the openings from the inside instead.

At the other window, I built a moveable screen window so the kids could open it and get to the bucket and pulley.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Home stretch/under the gun - screening oops!

So, I was working on an old blue fiberglass ladder. I'm stapling on window screening on the outside of the tree house about 10 feet up. Suddenly I hear this ripping, crunching noise and the next thing I know, I'm dropping through thin air! I had extended the ladder all the way and was standing where the top and bottom overlapped. The fiberglass rails holding the ladder together cracked and the two ends popped free! I ended up ridng the lower section down while the top section fell away! Except for a scrape on my wrist, I landed without injury on my well-padded rear end (the result of all those Buffalo Wings)! Could have been worse I landed two-three feet from a big boulder, I could have bounced my head off THAT on the way down. Yikes!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Home stretch/under the gun - screening

Ok, this is a picture from last winter. I put it up mainly as a place holder, as my next project on my punch list is for screening. The treehouse is built on the back corner of our lot near a vernal pool. During the day, the mosquitoes are otherwise occupied. however, after dark they rise from the pool and would quickly make their way into a treehouse full of 11-year-old overnighters. I was planning on throwing screening on the outside and using wood strapping as trim to hold it into place. More on this later!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home stretch/under the gun - roofing

So now, July is coming and with it my daughters birthday party. She wants to have it as a sleep over in the treehouse, so I have to come through. The next big item on my punch list is a roof. After lots of web browsing and research I chose a cedar shingle roof. It has the right combination of water resistance and lack of weight that would work in a treehouse. I picked up/rent some roofing paper, a nailer and compressor as well as 5 stacks of shingles. Throwing on my safety harness (Spiderman gear), I got on the roof and started nailing. Here is the view of my safety harness and the roofing paper.

Boy - was I beat! Now here it is 2/3rds done.

Finally! All done after nine hours on the roof.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Siding and tweaking...

With the help another good friend in town (Doug, see last post), we were able to put up much of the siding for the tree house. Once we were organized the panel placement went up pretty easily. We used 3/8 textured hardboard that was pre-finished with exterior finish and has an exterior fake wood grain. I had to go back and re-nail some panels as I started with the wrong fastener (2" galvanized shake nails). I used 6d 2 inch galvanized nails.
Now, for the tweak...As I was getting ready for the work day on the tree house, I noticed a decided racking to the studded frame of the treehouse, probably because the frame was not fully braced before the winter weather set in. I did not shingle the roof because I want to finish stiffening the frame with plywood siding.
The solution! A cross brace to pull the frame back into square before the siding went on. Doug and I tried a simple pulley I had in the basement. No luck. The pulley just didn't have the muscle to tweak the house back into true. Doug thought for a minute and said "I remember a block and tackle in my garage.." He returned with a serious set-up set-up. Problem solved!

(although you should seen have tautness of the tackle line!...)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Happy Spring!

I wanted to start by posting the after effects of the recent 100-year storm we had in Massachusetts. Reading the news you can see we had large areas of the county that were flooded, to the point that a number of state and county highways were closed and communities inundated or isolated. Back at this old treehouse, the pond and the vernal pools that you saw in my December posting were at flood stage and formed one contiguous body of water that ended up in my back yard! At one stage, the lower footings of the treehouse were sub merged. Contrast the photos here with those of the same place in December.

If you remember the old picture of the vernal pools you can now see they look like a pond.

Finally, this picture of the treehouse (with my buddy, Doug on the deck) seems normal but it was taken fron the vernal pool (now a pond) from a canoe!