I would like to give a big thanks to Dan Wright, from Tree Top Builders out in PA. Dan has been building some amazing treehouses for quite some time and is well experienced in the art of treehouse building. He offered to talk to me a bit about my new “wedding treehouse” design and gave me some great feedback for how I could improve it. He quickly pointed out how my lower-horizontal brace would easily be over-stressed by the knee braces, and it would need to be really beefy wood (or made of steel) in order to withstand the forces exerted on it. I had not thought of this and he had a great point! I’m definitely more of a a software engineer than an architect, and I wish I had more formal training in architecture and engineering. Dan suggested using several knee braces coming out from the tree, and some other things that got me re-thinking about my design. In the end, I decided to scratch my two-tree approach, and design a single-tree knee brace version using custom brackets. The more I thought about the two-tree approach, the more I realized it would simply pull apart like my old treehouse eventually did. I didn’t want to make the same mistakes (instead, I want to make new ones).
When I built my first few treehouses, I didn’t have the option of using steel brackets attached to the tree. The cost (and hassle) of getting them made wasn’t worth it. Plus, I really enjoy doing stuff myself. Learning how to weld has opened up a lot of new ideas and possibilities for me, and I figured some treehouse brackets would be something within my skill set. I’ll post more details later as my new treehouse progresses.
It is quite cool that people can make a living out of building treehouses, and in many way I envy Dan for building treehouses all day long. But, don’t get me wrong; I really love my job at Apple and working on Cocoa is highly rewarding. Dan has a ton of treehouse experience, and I highly recommend anyone who is serious about building a real treehouse to call him (or some other treehouse company) and get them to properly design your treehouse, or even build it for you. They will build it to last!
Here are a few great pictures from Dan that I’d like to share with anyone who happens to read my blog. It is quite interesting how people are now using steel brackets into pipe to hold the lower knee braces; it gives some space to the tree to allow for growth.