|FIG: 1 Lay out the first two timbers|
- Sixty five eight foot landscape timbers
- Wood filler
- Five 7 foot long half inch all thread rods
- 18 half inch washers and nuts
- Two sheets water resistant marine plywood
- Box 3 inch galvanized screws.
- Forty six inch nails
|FIG 2 Bolt the rods through the end holes|
- Sander and coarse sandpaper
- Drill and half inch and ¾ inch drill bits.
- Circular saw
- Socket set
- Tape measure
|FIG 3 Add the second pair crosswise.|
|FIG 4 Add a rod for the door as shown.|
|FIG 5 Lay floor joists|
|FIG 6 Screw floor over joists|
Cut a timber for the third row that's 3'6" shorter and drill a hole six inches from the cut end through the flatter side of the short timber. Cut several spacer logs that are six to ten inches long with a hole drilled in the center.
Use the spacers as shown to serve as cross members around the edges of the window and door frames as you build upward. It should take about 7 more short timbers just like the first one to frame the door. Because the door is next to a side wall, the spacer will form part of the corner of the structure and doesn't require a separate threaded rod. Just slide the spacers down over the rod on every other row between the end logs. Remember you're leaving gaps between the rows for a reason - you want to be able to see the kids while they are inside the playhouse.
Complete the roof installation by bolting a final two timbers across the solid row of roof timbers as shown at the right. Once it's all bolted together, cut off any excess threaded rod to prevent injuries to the kids (they will climb on the roof). I inset holes in the top of the keeper timbers where the rod holes are. I used a paddle bit wider than the bolt head and cut a recess for the bolts, then screwed the bolts in tight and cut off the rod. That way the bolt is out of the way and doesn't protrude where it can catch feet or hands.
If you'd like to make a table or a bench inside, you can lay a couple of extra logs side by side in the space between two ranks of cross members. Push them in and pound them up against the wall to create a ledge one or two logs wide running the width of the cabin. It will reduce the inside floor space somewhat, but will give the kids a sitting place and a place for pretend cooking or workshopping.
- Use landscape timbers that have been manufactured in the past decade. Toxic chemicals were used to pressure treat some older landscape lumber. Since the turn of the century, manufacturers have used non-toxic chemicals in treating them for durability and insect resistance.
- If you use untreated timbers, spray them with a good, non-toxic water seal every two or three years to protect the timbers from rot.
- Surround the cabin with a 4 inch deep layer of pea gravel or sand. Pea gravel is actually better than sand at cushioning a fall. It's looser and displaces more easily when something falls on it. Also, pea gravel doesn't compact like sand into a hard surface.
- Keep the gravel smooth or the kids will wear it down in spots and reduce the fall protection.
© 2013 by Tom King