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Treehouses and other Cool Stuff: 50 Projects You Can Build Paperback – Feb 22 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith (Feb. 22 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423603958
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423603955
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.1 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 422 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #329,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Treehouses and Other Cool Stuff provides instructions and plans for fun projects that parents and kids can build together. Many of them can be built in one afternoon using discarded materials found around the house; some may take longer to construct. All the projects are designed to encourage kids to be creative while having fun. From a Swinging Treehouse, Monster House and Jet Racer to a Box Sled, Treasure Chest and Exploding Cannon, you can build a variety of projects that create lasting memories with your children.

"With its joyful drawings and crystal-clear instructions, Treehouses and Other Cool Stuff delivers a wealth of imaginative, iconic outdoor projects guaranteed to tempt and thrill the adventurous child of all ages." -Don Metz, architect and author of Confessions of a Country Architect

David Stiles, a designer/builder who has built several houses in the East Hampton area, is also an illustrator specializing in how-to books. David has worked as an architectural renderer for most of the leading architectural firms in New York City and has received two awards from the NYC Planning Commission for his playground design for handicapped children.

Jeanie Stiles is an actress/model who has appeared in numerous television commercials and print ads. With a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Jeanie has also taught ESL and English at Baruch College in New York City.

David and Jeanie have been writing how-to books together for the past fifteen years. Most recently, the couple built a treehouse on The Today Show in Rockefeller Center in New York. They divide their time between New York City and East Hampton, where they live in a barn they renovated together.

From the Back Cover


A-Frame Treehouse

Tarzan Swing

Lemonade Stand

Exploding Cannon

Downhill Racer

Trolley Ride

Fake Barbells

Pogo Boat

Playhouse Bed

Ski Sled

Monster Treehouse

Secret Lock Box

Alka Rocket

Ad Hoc Tree Fort

Treasure Chest and more!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x99239108) out of 5 stars 20 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99273bb8) out of 5 stars Great fun and learning for kids and adults- non-carpenter June 3 2009
By mk - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not a carpenter, barely an 'about the house' handyman, but I have 2 little kids, and a space to put a playground or swingset by Walmart or better- build a treehouse. I've always wanted a treehouse. By chance on Google, I discovered the plans for Stiles' A-frame treehouse graciously offered free online. And with little know how, but committed, I followed the brief instructions, working on the weekends, to the tee, and by golly, we have a beautiful treehouse.

This book I bought later, and it contains the original A-frame treehouse among other designs and indeed 'other Cool Stuff', e.g., accessories for the treehouse, a working cannon for kids, a simple boat, unusual swings, homemade toys etc. There are some color photos of the creations, cute drawings, and the simple schematics. There's info on basic construction and woodworking and they give you just enough to put it together. I learned as I went. I own their other book 'Treehouses you can actually build'(never used it-intended to- until now), another Stiles' gem, and found it very helpful.

A few suggestions from a total novice:
1.Right tool for the right job. Few tools are needed. They list them for you, e.g., circular saw, jigsaw, 2 electric drills, level, and so forth. Buy good equipment, good blades-lots of teeth, screws- I like the ones with star head inserts, less slippage, etc.- it helps immensely.

2. Get help- to hold poles, lift frames, give insight. I built the A-frame treehouse alone, Lone Ranger style- doable but somewhat hard. Stay focused; keep attention to detail, review every aspect of the drawings. Not all the minute specifics are given. You must think out your steps, review different types of screws and materials and how to approach the next task especially if you don't know anything like me. The Home Depot/Lowes' crews helped in that department plus Googling.

3. "Plumb and Level"- get the foundation and the frame right and the rest is much easier;

4.Plan for safety- soft ground cover like chopped, colored rubber; a higher railing for the treehouse patio; extra wooden bars for the windows if kids falling out is an issue;

5. Modify the plans if reasonable- my wife suggested the staircase rise up into the treehouse not alongside it with a 'secret' hatch(the Stiles recommend similar in their other book); I used redwood instead of cedar railings, added another small window in the back with a bell to ring...

6.Take your time and have fun or do something else!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99273e04) out of 5 stars long on ideas, a tad short on some details. April 9 2010
By Norm De Plume - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My kids are desparate for a tree house or fort in the back yard. After pricing commercially available options, I decided that I could build one for a fraction of what a Play Nation solution would cost. So, I started looking for plans. I saw these Stiles publications (Treehouses and other Cool Stuff and Tree Houses, Huts and Forts.)at Amazon, and thought they looked promising.

Well, "promising" just about describes it. There are two Tree Fort plans in this book that fit the bill for my kids, and these come with material lists, but the detail - especially for building the roof - is simply not there. I've never built a house, so am unfamiliar with construction techniques for building a roof. Additional research will be required to build either fort.

(In How to Build Treehouses Huts and Forts, there is a scant page dedicated to roof construction, that may be sufficient for me to get started.)

Flipping through the rest of this book, I found several projects that might be fun to do with the kids. But, building an exploding cannon that uses a CO2 fire extinguisher to propel a cannon ball? Not so sure...
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99273dc8) out of 5 stars Treehouses and other Cool Stuff:50 Projects you can Build Aug. 6 2008
By Builder Lady - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm not one to write reviews of books, but this time I feel compelled to do so. The Stiles books on building are really quite unique and I particularly like their new one on Tree Houses and Other Cool Stuff. It is filled with inventive projects that parents can do with children.

The instructions are just wordy enough and the illustrations look quite easy to follow. I'm going to give this book as gifts. It would make a good gift for a Mom or Dad with young children, or for active grandparents, come to think of it.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x992772dc) out of 5 stars Great for the guy who already knows how to build - just needs ideas Jan. 3 2012
By Jonesie - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a gift for my brother, who has 2 young sons. He is experienced in building everything from model airplanes to sheds. So, this was a perfect book for him - it doesn't waste time on pesky details for the beginner. Instead, flipping through the book, it seemed as if each project had 2-3 pages dedicated to it. I was especially amused by the Dinosaur Fort and the pictures (nicely drawn, easy to read pictures) that showed the wood frame with dimensions labelled (yes, all in one picture) and some other vague instructions of covering the frame with chicken wire, dipping burlap into plaster, and laying the burlap on the chicken wire to dry. If what you just read was almost enough instructions for you to get started, then by all means, this is the idea book for you. If you need a LOT more detail, then pass on this one.
I do like the ideas in this book, without describing anything specific I would say that they remind me of the "good old fashioned fun" that I had as a child, growing up in the country. Sure, some things might seem a bit dangerous, but there will need to be a tad bit of danger involved if we want the kids to get away from the video games and play outside, right? (Nothing in this book is super dangerous, just exciting).
Only reason for the 4 stars is - I don't think it's clear by the title and description that this book is NOT for a beginner.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99277174) out of 5 stars Seriously Lacking in Details July 2 2012
By Eric Preston - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book looking for not just ideas on things to build, but how-to guides as well. Most of the projects do not have what I would consider the bare minimum which is a materials list. It also doesn't go into much detail about how to actually build anything, with most of the 'instructions' as loosely organized pieces of the puzzle with some crude sketches.

Most of the ideas are fun and cool looking, but I was expecting much more details out of it.

I am building the cannon right now, and it's not a difficult project, but if I didn't already know how to do most of it, this book would not have been much use.