Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dad50 #35 Girl Proof Fort, Part 2

.....continued from Part 1

After receiving very specific instructions from my boys on the structure, and purpose (lol), of their treehouse requirements, I spent some time investigating the various trees in my yard and potential building strategies. The book they very conveniently supplied me with ("How to build treehouses, huts and forts") proved to be a fantastic resource for both ideas and motivation. Along the way I learned the following:

1.  Unfortunately, the more exciting the treehouse project (ie height off the ground), the less your kids can actually be involved, despite their enthusiasm. Until some railing in installed at least. Better that way than the hard way. (ED: amen)
2.  There are a whole range of options for hanging platforms in trees: using tree branches and forks alone, sinking extra posts for support, picking two trees for a triangular base, to only using trees for one end of the platform (the option we picked).
3.  Build with allowances for movement. Don't reason around that unless you are ready for a catastrophic engineering failure.
4.  The feel and ambiance of a treehouse changes with the seasons, depending on foliage, weather and sight-lines. You should pick a spot accordingly.
5.  Similarly, the views OF your treehouse will change with the seasons. You should probably be sensitive to your neighbors who will probably have to look at too.
6.  A kids interest with their fort will wax and wane, just roll with it. Just because you labored for hours and hours at risk of life and limb, doesn't mean they will be in it every day. Perhaps just all Summer.
7.  Kids love the space and escapism, and if done right, they will be in it for years.
8.  Treehouses collect leaves and related biomass. Constantly. After cleaning it out several times, I just gave them an old broom to keep up there to do themselves.

Fort in the snow
The gate. What's it for?  (A blog post in it's own right. Stay tuned)
Joist braces
Tree ladder and trap door
The hut, complete with 1930's era shipping box
As according to "Part 1",  these are strategically placed windows "for shooting things out at girls"
 While the fort has been completed and in heavy use for a couple of years, we have had to convince the managers to drop some of their stricter code requirements, aka "girlproof-ness", to promote familial harmony. This move placated my girls for a while, but I know a time is coming when I will have to tackle their "Prairie House". A dad's work is never done, apparently.

Dad U

-Check out
and a timelapse video of a dad and daughter treehouse project

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