Building a treehouse in the redwood grove of a neighbor (pics included)

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Just thought I'd share with you guys some pics of the treehouse in the redwoods my neighbor asked me to help him start this weekend:
Here's a shot of the ladders we strapped to the redwood trees:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3910/15279581646_2753fa993e_c.jpg
This shows one of the neighbors helping anchor the cargo netting:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3873/15302627625_fc5bab3e26_c.jpg
It's a good thing she did, as she was the first to test it out:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3836/15302627555_4c33459c63_c.jpg
Here you can see the 1/2" steel cable for the suspension bridge:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3920/15299486271_3c953d40ff_c.jpg
We made a *lot* of mistakes already, but, we are working together, and, in the end, we'll have a nice catenary suspension bridge and a treehouse suspended in between the redwoods with nothing but air beneath it.
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Tony Hwang wrote, on Sat, 20 Sep 2014 18:45:55 -0600:

Yeah. This is hill country. We rope down thousands of feet on a "normal" hike, so, yeah, we all have climbing equipment.
In fact, you can see the harnesses everyone has on in the photo below:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3836/15116825580_97f0484828_c.jpg
It's deceptive, but that is a very steep slope, so, what's 10 feet on one side of the trees is about twice or thrice that on the other side.
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Arfa Daily wrote, on Sun, 21 Sep 2014 02:21:40 +0100:

Ours are really nice! They span 100 feet from tree to tree, and they are equipped with 120VAC and WiFi, with deck chairs and a fridge for the booze, and we often leave a spare laptop in the treehouse for visitors.
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Arfa Daily wrote, on Sun, 21 Sep 2014 02:21:40 +0100:

Kids build suspension bridges on parabolas. Adults do it with the catenary!
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It's a little hard to judge distances, are those cables going to be at least 40 feet up??
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On 9/20/2014 7:16 PM, Danny D. wrote:

Very cool so far, thanks for sharing, and please keep us updated.
Have you seen the tree house show on TV?
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snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote, on Sat, 20 Sep 2014 20:34:43 -0700:

I didn't measure it, but it's way up there, so, I'd say the bottom of the bridge will easily be 30 to 40 feet up. The cables will be even higher since we used the entire 250 feet off the spool, which means each side is about 125 feet and it's on a steep slope where we start about fifteen feet high, and we end up something like 40 or 50 feet up down the hill.
I will snap pictures of the construction, periodically. This weekend we were installing new antennas for our neighborhood wireless isp service, so, we put the treehouse on hold.
But when it's done, it will have something like 15Mbps symmetric, in the middle of the woods, a thousand feet (I'm guessing) from the nearest house. :)
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Leon wrote, on Sun, 21 Sep 2014 08:05:23 -0500:

No, I haven't seen that show, but, I realized belatedly I had not snapped photos of the construction of our last treehouse a thousand feet into the woods, so, I'll snap a few when I get the chance and append them.
Living in hilly country, we get pretty good at doing things at height and distance.
At that older treehouse for example, we recently added WiFi, which is no small feat considering it's a thousand feet or more from the nearest house, so the problem of electricity needed to be solved (they used solar panels but I wasn't part of that setup).
Here, for example, are the wireless speeds I got earlier today, which aren't bad, considering there are no wires (26ms, 9 Mbps, 12 Mbps). http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=w9uv80&s=8
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Oren wrote, on Sun, 21 Sep 2014 09:18:46 -0700:

Not my dog, but she's a pointer of some sort because it kept pointing at animals in the woods, and the guys were talking about how good it was at what it does.
It's the neighbor's dog, so that's all I know, other than I bring steak bones every time I see it because it loves it and I'd have to compost or throw them away anyway.
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How are you attaching the structure to the trees. I live in the Redwood Country and have been involved with Tree House design. I do know there are fasteners used to attach structural elements. I would like to see the actual tree house. john
"Danny D." wrote in message
Just thought I'd share with you guys some pics of the treehouse in the redwoods my neighbor asked me to help him start this weekend:
Here's a shot of the ladders we strapped to the redwood trees:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3910/15279581646_2753fa993e_c.jpg
This shows one of the neighbors helping anchor the cargo netting:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3873/15302627625_fc5bab3e26_c.jpg
It's a good thing she did, as she was the first to test it out:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3836/15302627555_4c33459c63_c.jpg
Here you can see the 1/2" steel cable for the suspension bridge:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3920/15299486271_3c953d40ff_c.jpg
We made a *lot* of mistakes already, but, we are working together, and, in the end, we'll have a nice catenary suspension bridge and a treehouse suspended in between the redwoods with nothing but air beneath it.
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We built one 15 years ago, in a small redwood grove in San Mateo.
We built a triangular structure between three trees. We used two 2x12's between each pair of trees, clamping them to the trees with threaded rod. No fasteners were embedded in the trees. As the trees grew, over time, we'd release a bit of tension on the allthread as the trunks grew in diameter.
Supported by those 2x12's (6 total) was a standard 2x6 joist floor and 7 foot studwalls with a standard pre-hung entry door on one side. There was about six to seven feet between the trees.
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Bob F wrote, on Mon, 22 Sep 2014 08:34:07 -0700:

The neighbor is using expensive "tree bolts". These are something like $25 each, or so I'm told. They allow the redwood tree to grow. Even the cable, as it wraps around the tree, is offset from the tree by a set of two-by-fours.
I should have snapped pictures of all the equipment as it seems some of you have good experience which we can use as nobody wants to hurt the trees.
I will try to snap some photos next time I'm there to help out.
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Just to update this thread, we completed the 250 feet of steel cabling today by lashing the two ends together using these cable clamps:
https://c3.staticflickr.com/3/2942/15372056651_7a845164f7_c.jpg
To keep the cables from cutting into the trees, and to allow the trees to grow outward, we put up a series of these wooden standoff blocks:
https://c3.staticflickr.com/3/2945/15188529430_6294070f9b_b.jpg
You'll notice that we doubled the cables as they wrapped around the trees so that the strength is always two time 14,000 pounds, at all times:
https://c3.staticflickr.com/3/2944/15188634078_2b3de04150_c.jpg
Here, you can see the two cables, hanging as two catenaries, from which we will hand the suspension bridge:
https://c3.staticflickr.com/3/2943/15188529300_bbedf3ba0c_c.jpg
We're starting to get used to working in the heights, as you can see by this photo of my neighbor coming down from disentangling the lines:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3901/15188714847_e77461b64d_c.jpg
As you can imagine, we wear harnesses and we have static lines hanging from all the trees, as you'd be amazed how many times you need them:
https://c3.staticflickr.com/3/2945/15375216105_9961137c64_b.jpg
In fact, my unenviable job today was to stand at the TOP of this ladder and position the cables, which I did with two hands on the cables so I had to be wearing a harness or I would have fallen off in no time:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3870/15188634228_37f45d19e2_b.jpg
I'll let you know when we drill the redwoods to put in the tree bolts, which will anchor the house; but first, we're working on the suspension bridge (you can see our cargo netting in some of the pictures above).
Tomorrow we're putting up WiFi on a neighbor's roof, so we wont' be working on the treehouse until next week.
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On Sun, 28 Sep 2014 02:41:13 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

If you installed these without lock washers I would recommend you go back up and at least put nylock nuts as safety nuts. Heating and cooling will cause those nuts to walk off the u-bolts.

I hate ladders like these, seen the two by's pull off after a short while especially if your shouldering a load going up or down. The rungs should be in notches.
Hope no one or nothing falls.

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Ditto on that.
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OFWW wrote, on Sat, 27 Sep 2014 23:55:45 -0700:

Thank you for that safety suggestion! That is a good point. Safety is paramount.
This treehouse 50 feet in the air in the redwoods has to outlast us and it has be safe at all times.
Since we didn't use lock washers on the steel clamps, I will advise my neighbor and I will snap a picture of the results for you.
You will notice that we doubled up the two ends of the steel cable as they wrapped around the tree, so that we'd always have two cables supporting the bridge.
On the big tree, 125 feet away, we will add a wraparound additional steel cable, so that the middle also has two cables.
Any other safety ideas are welcome, as we're just at the point now where we can start hanging the suspension bridge from the two steel catenaries.
For example, you will notice that we followed the rule as shown here:
http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billavista/Recovery/dead%20end.jpg
Following that diagram, we put the "saddle" of the clamps on the "live end" (the mnemonic we used was "don't saddle a dead horse").
http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billavista/Recovery/use%20of%20wire%20rope%20clips.jpg
Any other tips are welcome, as we're just now at the stage where we have the ability to build the 125 foot long bridge starting about 15 feet up in a pine, and then going straight across a steep slope through the set of two redwoods, and then on to the really big redwood 125 feet down the slope.
The treehouse will be in the middle of the bridge.
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On 09/28/2014 11:50 AM, Danny D. wrote:

I don't believe there's any reason to think the environmental thermal cycling has any chance of loosening those sufficiently to worry over from that standpoint.
We've got several miles of cable in feedlot fences with the same style cable clamps with tension on them sufficient for retaining cattle while working them. They've been installed w/o lock washers for some 60 yr in SW KS which is quite extreme in both temperatures and particularly in changing in extremes over very short time frames relative to CA redwood country. Not a single one has come loose on its own in that time.
What I'd suggest and use would be
a) at least two/ location, preferably three, and
b) for looped connections (very few in this application; the cables are terminated at the clamps which are welded to rod)(+), we also used compression connector at the end to hold the cut end to the running cable.
(+) The rod is then connected via a turnbuckle for takeup tensioning to a second rod which penetrates the end post/tie.
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dpb wrote:

the bridge wants to tilt to one side.
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On 9/28/2014 9:50 AM, Danny D. wrote: ... snip

... snip

Are you saying that the tree house will be in the middle of a 125 foot suspension bridge. How much will the tree house weigh when fully loaded and do you have any idea of the forces that may be in the cables?
Dan
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OFWW wrote, on Sat, 27 Sep 2014 23:55:45 -0700:

This is a good point.
We have so many ladders, most of which are roped end-to-end to the trees for height, that we just made them as simply as we could.
You can see that we have cargo netting, to allow us to cross from tree to tree once we climb up the ladders:
https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3865/15195194790_8fe8c93589_c.jpg
But, we also usually wear safety harnesses and ascenders whenever we work more than 15 or 20 feet up (which is almost always since it's a steep slope so what is 15 feet up at the uphill end of the cables is something like 50 or 70 feet up at the downhill end.
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