Category Archives: woodworking

Treehouse Update

The treehouse project has been on the back burner a bit. We had an arborist come over who basically refused to do anything besides cut the tree all the way down. The man had some good points: the tree itself might (probably) be rotten, especially on the side where no live branches remain. The weight of the house would make it worse… blah, blah. I’m cooking up a new plan to get much of the weight off the tree itself. Everyone keeps suggesting just putting it on stilts, but damn it, that’s not a tree house.

So I found some dude… he did some digging on our front yard (my wife found him mowing the lawn down the street… he and his brother work incredibly hard for not a lot of money). He came over and offered to dig all sorts of roots and stumps out of my yard for $750. He also agreed to prune the treehouse tree and hack the ivy off…

As a reminder, here’s what it has looked like up ’til now



Half way through the day, here’s an update. That little tuft sticking out is a still-living bit of the original camphor tree…


By the time Milton was done, here’s the stump in all it’s glory. You can’t see it in this picture, but I had him leave that little tuft. It can only help prevent rot and I can always lop it off later.


This shot should give an example of how gnarly the ivy was…



Anyway, now it’s time to get serious about the design. My plan is to have it start just above that lump out to the right, about 8′ up so I can walk under it.

Picnic Table Ideas – v1

I need a picnic table for the backyard… we had one out front of our house for a long time, and it was pretty sweet. Now I’ve got a nice yard, but nowhere to sit and enjoy it. I’m struggling whether to buy or build. Time is short and I’ve got a lot of projects (e.g., tree house) that I want to do. I found some dude on craigslist who claims he’ll make me one out of “white wood” whatever the hell that means, for about the same as my buying crap redwood at home depot. He’ll even deliver.

On the other hand, building is fun, and I’ll get a much better product. I think I can build one cheaply if I use recycled lumber. The Reuse People have old doug fir for $0.20/board foot. That solves one of my problems with buying studs at home depot, too… that it will be heavy as hell, then warp as it dries out.

I’ve found some nice ideas for them… one of my favorites is this one: I really like the look,

and there are some practical matters, too. For instance, with the standard type that has boards just running the length of the table, the ends can get pretty out of alignment. Suddenly, it’s hard to eat at the end. I’m hoping the frame, in addition to looking cool, will help stabilize the top over time.

Then I saw this one:

and realized I had some thinking to do. I mean, the top one is cool, but this could be even cooler (no pun inteded). And not just for beers (though, awesome) but for art supplies, for condiments, for silverware, hello!

I don’t want to follow the domesticated-engineer design whole hog, though. I’m worried that the straight legs will get squirrely after not too much time of getting moved around the back yard. I also worry that the 1×4 skirt all the way around will be a hassle for some people.

So now I want to combine the two… the thing I’m mulling right now is that the instructables one has a pair of braces going from the legs up to the middle brace, right where the storage area would be. I suspect that, if I think about it carefully, I can come up with some way that the cooler support box can serve as the brace support as well. Maybe two braces from each leg that run up along the edge of the planter box support?


Need to figure out some heights… just taking a random sample off the interwebs, it looks like 30″ for the table and 16″ for the bench might be about standard…