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Building a Tree House: Tips For Beginners

July 31, 2012

DeWalt DC390B 18V XRP Cordless Circular Saw

When I think of a Do-It-Yourself project, I don’t think about doing something girly like carving pumpkins with my power drill or Sawzall, I think about the grandfather of all DIY projects… building that tree house. There is nothing new about this age old project that men have been doing for over the last 200 years, nor is there anything new about the great things that having a treehouse in your backyard can do for a child’s imagination. In fact, I think the only thing that has changed are the tools. With bigger, better, faster, stronger, longer lasting, safer, and more competitively priced power tools than ever, there really is no reason not to consider putting up that treehouse.

In this post we will provide you with all the tips you will need to get started on your 5 year old’s dream home and prepare you for our upcoming 3 part DIY series on constructing a tree house.

First, everything will have to be measured and fit to the dimensions of your own tree, and make sure you do a little research to make sure you pick out the tree in your yard best suited for the project.

Tip One

Use high quality wood! Don’t skimp on your 2 X 4s, primarily avoid wood with lots of knots and jagged edges, or you may find yourself going through 40 2 X 4s at the yard just to find 10 decent ones. Pressure treated wood can be pricier, however it lasts longer and requires  minimal attention.

Tip Two

Drill Pilot Holes! Drill pilot holes for the lag screws and drill them approximately 80% of the length of the screws. Take the time to drill 1/4″ pilot holes for the 3/8″ lag screws and 3/8″ pilot holes for the 1/2″ lag screws.

Tip Three

Recruit, if you have handy friends then make a call, if your kids are old enough to help then draft them. There are times during this project where you will need and or appreciate the help.

Tip Four

Milwaukee 0928-29 4-Tool Kit

Go cordless! Cordless power tools are worth the investment. No more cords tripping you up during your build. If your looking for a great kit to get started, we recommend the Milwaukee 0928-29 4-Tool Combo Kit, which includes a circular saw, Sawzall, drill/driver,  flashlight, charger and carrying case.

Tip Five

Make a bucket list for your tree house project then put buying a bucket at the top of your list! Use a bucket to haul your power tools up and down the tree house construction area.

Tip Six

Overbuild, overbuild, overbuild!  Reinforce the front rim joist and use  2 X 4s for the decking,  making sure to add that extra strength to the structure because kids can break almost anything, and after all your hard work, you don’t want your new treehouse or your patience to be one of them!

Tip Seven

Make it creative and include your kids ideas!  Kids will have a design aspect they want to include, make sure everybody gets to put a little bit of their own personal touch in the design factors. Its a rare treat to help dad with power tools in a tree house. Before you come up with the final design there are many free resources online that can give you some great ideas for your a final plan.

 

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