Tree House Number 2: The Porch

The porch foundations were a bit more complicated than the main tree house. The porch is supported by what I may call an inverted 3D roof truss which spans between two tree stumps. Below you can see Didymus balancing on the mid point of the truss (temporarily supported at each end).

Didymus balancing on the inverted 3D truss

Didymus balancing on the inverted 3D truss

 

To make matters more interesting you can see that the last tree stump (on the right – below) was way too short.

Inverted 3D truss

Inverted 3D truss

 

The last stump was too short

The last stump was too short!

 

Thus we used an “Alpine” style cross made of  simbi (metal) by Soko. This anchored the centre of the truss firmly into the tree stump with the help of some cement. So technically the tree house still doesn’t touch the ground (yet) – it just has a steel-cement support in one tree stump.

 

Metal cross inserted into hollowed out tree stump

Metal cross inserted into hollowed out tree stump

 

Cement being added into the stump

Cement being added into the stump

 

Now a well anchored inverted 3D truss foundation

Now a well anchored inverted 3D truss foundation

 

Porch floor and steps up

Porch floor and steps up to main house

 

Porch window

Porch window

 

Looking north through the porch

Looking north through the porch

 

Working on the stairs up

Working on the stairs up

 

Working on the stairs up

 The banisters

 

Looking north again - with roof in place

Looking north again – with roof in place

 

Porch roofing structure

Porch roofing structure and lintels

 

Its taking shape now

Its taking shape now

(Just in time for the phantom rainy season –  its a drought year)

 

 

Tree House Number 2: The Roof Goes On

Roofing continues with a layer of Alububble insulation followed by the fish scale tiling.

Edmore the roofer

Edmore the roofer

 

A roll of Alububble

A roll of Alububble

 

A layer of Alububble insulation goes on first

A layer of Alububble insulation goes on first

 

Yes that is a tree sticking out through the roof

Yes that is a tree sticking out through the roof

 

Rear view with Alububble in place

Rear view with Alububble in place

 

'Chimney' with green fish scale tiling

‘Chimney’ starts with green fish scale tiling

 

Chimney frame being hauled up

Chimney frame being hauled up

 

and lowered into position

and lowered into position

 

Chimney frame in position

Chimney frame in position

 

You get the idea

You get the idea

 

Looking good

Looking good

 

Tree House Number 2: More Walls and Roof

Edmore sighting his lines for the roofing trusses – actually the rafters. Its the foundations that are inverted roofing trusses!

Edmore sighting his lines for the roof

Edmore sighting his lines for the roof

 

Sight lines where the rafters will join the tree

Sight lines where the rafters will join the tree

 

In the tree tops with spirit level!

In the tree tops with spirit level!

 

Gouging holes for the roof beams

Gouging holes for the roof beams

 

More gouging

More gouging

 

Trees were harmed in the making of this production

Trees were harmed in the making of this production

 

Walls and rafters, and trees

Walls and rafters, trees and trusses

 

Fufura (giant butterflies)

Fufura (giant butterflies)

 

Roofing slats going on the the rafters

Roofing slats going on the the rafters

 

Trusses and rafters

Trusses and rafters

 

Roofers in action

Roofers in action

 

Roofers in action

Roofers in action

 

Didymus

Didymus

 

Is that a tree in your roofing?

Is that a tree in your roofing?

 

Nice view of the construction

Nice view of the ongoing construction

Tree House Number 2: The Walls Go Up

The foundations are in place, the floor is down so next the walls go up…

The floor to ceiling windows were made as units of four in the workshop then held in place until the walls are built to support them.

Tree house walls start to go up

Tree house walls start to go up

Didymus practicing building by interlocking planks at the corners (just in case we need to know this technique in the future …. stay tuned wood lovers…).

Interlocking at the corners

Interlocking planks at the corners

 

We layered shinda (string) in-between the planks to provide a first form of gap closing / draft proofing for where planks were not perfectly machined.

Placing string between each plank

Placing string between each plank

 

Front door frame with lintel

Front door frame with lintel

 

Delight and Edmore wall building

Delight and Edmore wall building

 

You get the idea now!

You get the idea now!

 

Tree house north wall at sunset

Tree house north wall at sunset

 

Back door frame facing west

Tree house back door frame facing west

 

Looking out of the window in Nyanga direction

Looking out of the window in Nyanga direction (west)

 

Tree House Number 2: installing long supporters

After the short supporters were positioned operations moved round to the 2.5m side of the treehouse requiring ‘long supporters’

Tendai carving out holes for the long supporter beams

Tendai carving out holes for the long supporter beams

First the bases were carved out as before. So far this has remained a ‘tree house’ i.e. we have no support from the ground. We are trying to stay ‘pure’ and not touch the ground – lets see what happens over the course of the build!

Delight chiseling

Delight chiseling

 

Now for the ‘technical’ bit. We jack up each cross beam to a) make sure they are all on the same level, and b) counteract the ultimate load they will bear from the weight of the walls, roof, contents and occupants. You should see the pages of calculations I had to do before we knew how far the raise the ends of each cantilevered cross beam prior to the supporters being positioned underneath….!

 

 

Hi-lift jack in position

Hi-lift jack in position

We used an essential piece of kit – the Hi Lift Jack – shown above and below. It’s really for helping 4WD vehicles get out of sticky situations but we have found another use: jacking up our tree house foundations!

 

Didymus checking that this is indeed a good idea!

Didymus checking that this is indeed a good idea!

 

and happier back on dry land

and happier back on dry land

 

Edmore - roofer turned tree house builder

Edmore – roofer turned tree house builder

 

It's a precision job of course

It’s a precision job of course

 

"Jack it up a bit more"

“Jack it up a bit more”

 

We set the ends in position first then worked on the intermediate sections.

 

Aligned end to end first

Aligned end to end first

 

'Hi-lift-ing' each beam in turn

‘Hi-lift-ing’ each beam in turn

 

A happy sight for any tree house builder

A happy sight for any tree house builder

 

Delight concentrating

Delight concentrating

 

Tree house foundations by Hi-Lift Jack

Tree house foundation beams by Hi-Lift Jack

Looking good so far – and we haven’t touched the ground yet!

(Sorry, missing a doggie pic so far)

Tree House Number 2: Tree carving and cross beams

The first things to note are:

a) these trees were due to be cut down completely,

b) instead we coppiced them at 5 metres,

c) these trees are fairly indestructible – witness the new growth on 9 out of 10 trees,

d) these trees are ‘weeds’, ie an imported species that spreads uncontrollably.

The trees were deliberately planted at nice 2m spacing, but off to the sides you can see growth from many new seedlings. Again, if you cut down the seedling the roots survive and grow a new tree!

Current avenue of coppiced trees

Current avenue of coppiced trees

 

Delight and Didymus survey the challenge

Edmore and Didymus survey the challenge

By carving out recesses to support the cross beams the load is transferred to the tree and not carried by the steel pins.

Tree carving commences

Tree carving commences

 

While Edmore manufactures some pins

While Edmore manufactures some pins

 

and sharpens them

and sharpens them

Delight checks that our foundations are level

Delight checks that our foundations are level

 

some of our tools on this job

some of our tools on this job

 

The team carving holes for the short supporters

The team carving holes for the short supporters

Didymus and team

Didymus and team

The short supporter position

The short supporter position

 

supporter

supporter

 

Edmore carving

Edmore carving

 

Troutbeck Lake with low cloud

Troutbeck Lake with low cloud

Although the trees were planted in a curve and are not of equal girth we are aiming for 90 degree corners to make the wall construction simpler.

Delight checking we are square

Delight checking we are square

The load is passed down to the tree through the cross beams and braces.

Cross beams and short supporters in place

Cross beams and short supporters in place

Doggy picture …

Barcus airborne while leading Julien

Barcus airborne while leading Julien