Treehouses & Playhouses You Can Build Paperback – Sep 1 2006
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From the Inside Flap
Treehouses& Playhouses YOU CAN BUILD
David & Jeanie Stiles
Nails, screws, lumber and some elbow grease are about all that's needed to create the magic and adventure of a private hand-made wooden kids' club in the treetops. Build an imagination inspiring Hobbit Treehouse, a Pirate Ship Playhouse with working water cannons, or any of 40 unique projects by following simple steps in Treehouses & Playhouses You Can Build.
Detailed step-by-step instructions and beautiful hand-drawn illustrations make these backyard-construction activities as much fun to craft as they will be to use. Parents and children can spend time together sculpting in the sky and learning woodworking skills just by setting aside a few weekends to go outdoors and build. Kids and adults alike will have a beautiful, wild space to call their own for hours of creative play or relaxation.
Treehouses & Playhouses shows the average "do-it-yourself" family how to easily and affordably bring such structures to life by their own hands in their own backyards. Build a treehouse or playhouse on a budget, using basic tools and minimal building experience. Choose from different projects including a Victorian Playhouse or Treeless Treehouse, a zip line, a crow's nest, an escape hatch, a secret lock box, a hidden message board, pulleys, lifts, lofts, skylights, ladders, bridges and swings. Use the skills you learn from the detailed projects to build "fantasy" structures such as a Climb & Slide Mountain, Delta Wing Space Vehicle, Dragon House, Giant Glasses, Jet Racer, Meditation Hut, Suspended Monster Playhouse or Swinging Treehouse.
For regular dads and moms or weekend carpenters, this book offers a layperson's manual to bring the dream of an exciting and personal spot for the kids into reality.
Author David Stiles, a designer/builder who has built several houses in the East Hampton area, is also an illustrator who specializes in writing "how-to" books. In the past, David worked as an architectural renderer for most of the leading architectural ?rms in New York City, and received two awards from the NYC Planning Commission for his playground design for handicapped children.
From the Back Cover
"Jeanie and David Stiles are recreation experts," says Matt Laurer of NBC's The Today Show, when the Stiles built a "treeless" treehouse in only three hours at Rockefeller Center in New York City.See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
David starts with the basics: tools. From there you follow a complete and logical progression to completed treehouse. In between you'll get solid building advice. David has built his designs. He knows how to make life easier for you by using common materials and minimizing cuts. The building advice is spot on throughout.
The huge, huge, huge problem with this book is the 20 or so options David gives you for connecting lumber to tree. They are almost all bad. Never girdle a growing limb with rope or cable. Never use nails. This leaves you with only lag bolting. To be sure, there are other ways. But the only safe and tree-friendly way presented in this book (and any of his other works) is to use lags.
This is the by far the best book to give to a young builder and is probably a treasure to any 8 or 9 year old lucky enough to have a copy. It will get their mind working. The crazy schemes they come up with will amaze you.
The ideas inside this book are great. Fun, imaginative, unique. If you know a young boy (or girl) with a tree, get him this book. And when it comes time to actually build their creation, call an arborist and he'll set you straight about properly attaching it to a tree.
5/16 inch chain has a cross sectional area of .153 inches squared. (Each side of the link has a cross sectional area of .0767 inches squared). 5/8 inch rope has a cross sectional area of 0.306 inches squared. That is twice as much area as the chain.
Second, they compare WORKING load of chain to BREAKING strength of rope. That is incorrect. 5/8 Dacron rope has a WORKING load of 1100 pounds. (http://www.boatsafe.com/marlinespike/safeload.htm). Thus one can see that the chain is stronger. In basic terms, the difference between working load and breaking strength is a factor of safety. Do not confuse them. Someone may die.
Finally, not all 5/16 chain has a working load of 1,900 pounds. Chain is available in various grades. The grade is a measure of the strength of the steel. Grade 30 5/16 chain is commonly available with a working load of 1,900 pounds; however, it is also readily available in higher strengths (e.g. grade 43 has a working load of 3,900 pounds).
In another entry in the book, they mention 3/4" Dacron rope has a breaking strength of 11,000 pounds. A safe working load might actually be as low as 1375 pounds.
These are just two examples of incorrect use of capacities. There are a lot of good ideas in the book and I appreciate the authors' efforts to economize. I am usually not an alarmist. However, their knowledge of material strengths leaves enough room for error that this review had to be posted before someone gets hurt. Please do your own calculations after sufficient research to understand what you are actually calculating or hire a competent professional if you are uncomfortable doing them yourself. At a minimum, never use breaking strength for your calculations-- when the load approaches or meets the breaking load, someone will get hurt.
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