A House In The Trees: Part II

Once the first two (2) bolts were in and I’d cleaned up from the first day of the tree house build, I walked the site and thought about how I would lay out the platform. As part of this process, I measured between the trees and discovered that the clearances between trees were 9’11” (too big for my intended 10’ beam) 12’6” (too big for my intended 12’ beam) and 15’7” (too big for my 16’ beam). Ungh.

Initially, I thought I’d just get two 2”x8”x18’ boards and make an 18’ beam. If I did that and discarded the 10’ one I’d already made, I could shift the other two down in location and still end up with the triangle shaped platform I had in my head.

In the morning, before going out to get the 18’ boards and walked the site again, with a slightly clearer head. While an 18’ beam would allow me to make the triangle shaped platform I’d intended, as I stood there between the trees I realized that the triangle was going to be too small. If I added a post to act as a fourth tree, I could turn the triangle into a rectangle and just about double the size of the tree house platform.

With this new plan, I headed to the store and picked up two (2) 2”x8”x16’ board to make a second beam for the long side and two (2) 2”x8”x10’ boards to make a second beam for the short end. I also picked up a 4”x4”x12’ post for the fourth “tree.”
Additional beams during glueup.
As soon as I got home I again glued up the joists. Then I set to work marking out and digging for the post. To my astonishment and delight, I managed to dig the 3’5” hole for the post without hitting any roots, rocks or other impediments.
The easiest hole I've ever dug.
I tossed a few inches of gravel in the bottom of the hole to help with drainage and tossed in the post. After temporarily bracing the post level, I slowly filled the hole with dry cement. Every few inches I would tamp it down with a broom handle (on which I’d cut a flat end instead of the original rounded end) and added a bit of water with a watering can. Years ago I read somewhere that when setting posts you didn’t need to actually mix the cement, but could get away just watering it in place. I’ve used this method a few times now, and it seems to work fine.

The four trees for the Tree House.
With the post in place, I again thought about the beam layout and how I would frame and deck the platform. I realized that since the double 16’ beams would extend past the trees and pick up the weight of all of the joists, the double 12” beams at the end wouldn’t add anything but weight. At least I’ll be able to use two (2) of the five (5) beams I’ve made.

Other Tree House posts.