Thursday, August 30, 2012

Skyloft: Window detail

I'll say it again. I love Craiglist! 

A nice guy was giving away some of his old wood. He had a HUGE pile of it on his lawn. Told me to take whatever I want. Really had no idea what I needed until I saw these cedar fence posts. Loved it and grabbed as many as I could. Originally, I thought these rungs could be used to fence in the deck of the sky loft. But a better idea was to use them for window treatment!

Ripped all of the pieces in half on the table saw. That way I get twice as much material to work with! The thinner dimension work better for the scale of my project anyways. So, win-win!

LOVE the smell of freshly cut cedar wood!

Found an old can of stain on my shelf.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Skyloft: Rear window

I love Craiglist! Found this for free! It was a window for a camper. Original owner didn't need it anymore and felt guilty throwing it away. And when I saw it, I found a perfect item to repurpose.

NOTE: Repurposing/Recycling was a lesson I wanted to teach my daughter throughout this project too.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Skyloft: Dutch Doors

Doors! Went with the Dutch door style. The ones where they split in the middle allowing the bottom half to stay closed while the top half can be opened. Just more options for fun.

Skyloft: Roofing

Andrew helping out with the roof.

Chose one of the sheets to be 100% transparent to allow light through. Wanted the area by the door to be well lit at all times. 

Getting the roofing done. It's simple corrugated polycarbonate roofing sheets. Easy to install with integrated rain/snow channels. The ripples gives it strength. I'm giving it a bit of an angle for the rain/snow to sheet off. Hope it's enough. Even if it isn't.. there's enough bracing underneath to hold a LOT of weight.

Future project: I want to install a periscope! We'll see.. another year for that detail.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Skyloft: Shed Ramp

Since the shed was raised off the ground, a ramp was needed to get the lawnmower in and out easier. 

Skyloft: Painting

Time on the shed/fort was scattered through the next few weeks. Work overtime and bad weather just did not cooperate with me.

Once the sun came out, I immediately started on the roof.  Before anything else can get soaked. 

Skyloft: More framework

Andrew, my brother-in-law, has given his hand in helping out with this project. Great handyman. The extra help totally helps!

A totally over-engineered floor! I love it. This thing is going to be earthquake proof!
The floor will be 3/4" plywood. Nice and sturdy.

Rare photo op with me and my daughter.

Bracing the roof with 4x4 crossbeams. I maybe over engineering it here. But, I was thinking I might use it to hang stuff later. Either 

Day #3 starts with sheeting the walls. Using 1/2" plywood.

Skyloft: Breaking Ground

Before we started, I made a trip to city hall to check to see if I needed a permit to build my fort. I figure it's going to be big and they might say something. Now, I don't REALLY have to ask them. I can just build it and hope no one says anything. But, I don't know all my neighbours. And it only takes one person to make that call and bust me out. Figure I'm not willing to risk all my efforts and money to be forced to tear it all down after it's all finished! So, I went the correct path.

After City Hall, I also made a call to BC One Call. They are a service that takes your all you info (what /where/when you're digging) and forwards your information to all relative utility companies. Like Gas, Hydro, telephone, etc. I get an either 'yah' or 'nay' from each respective companies via email. If there was a 'nay' from just one company, my project will have to be redesigned, relocated, or worse.. halted.

Fortunately, It was a green light from everyone! And no permit was needed. As my design was within all maximum dimensions.

The tent was put up the night before as it was raining all week. The slightly moist ground was actually our favour as it made digging easier.

Time to recruit family members to help!

Staking in the lines for the corner post's squareness.

Reason why I needed so many help at this stage is because it's the most critical to the entire build. Without a properly straight and true foundation, everything else above it will fail.

All the studs on the floor of the shed will be pressure treated lumber. It's going to be in close contact with a lot of moisture. (i.e. snow in the wintertime) Making sure this thing lasts! I'm too lazy to replace parts when they break down.

Love the quick set concrete! 30 minutes and we can continue to work again.

End of day 1. Had a pretty productive day. Have all the framework done for the shed.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Skyloft: Design

This is a big project. Might be the biggest one I've ever try to attempt. I've reno'd many places before, but never a full standing exterior structure that is exposed to 4 seasons of weather. It's also a project that I've always wanted to do. C'mon... who are we kidding.. EVERYONE wanted a treehouse/clubhouse when they were young! A place for a young one to escape to fight pirates, ward off enemies of castle towers, launch to space from their spaceship.

I'm going to make that dream come true for my daughter. Unbeknownst to her, it won't simply be a "playground" for her. It will be much more than that. The plan is to make it a hub for creative learning. A place to spark her imagination and plant a seed of intrigue in science and explore the world around her.

This project actually started out to be a simple shed. For me. I need to clear out my garage so I can reclaim some real estate to work on my projects. Especially my neglected cars. Then my wife said, "Can we build a treehouse on TOP of your shed?" That sparked of ideas and they flooded in.

I'm aiming for a simple and modern design. Nothing colourful as I don't want it to be an eyesore for the neighbourhood.

My requirements:
- Looks simple and modern
- Does NOT look like a playground
- Safe!!!
- Meets construction building codes
- Permit if needed
- As large as possible. Before code
- Shed on ground level
- Play fort on top level
- Roof for weather proofing
- Can be locked down

- Good lighting
- All wood construction
- Purple interior. (Daughter's favorite color)
- Musical instruments (For starters, Blue Man Group's PVC pipe instruments)
- Rain water collection system
- Many secret compartments
- Dual function furniture (i.e. Chairs that are also storage boxes, etc)
- WiFi Webcam surveillance

Design starts out on computer. It's easy for me to visualize things in 3D space quicker. I can mock everything up down to the inch. Using the specs from standard lumber that is available at HomeDepot. This also allows me to know exactly how much I need to buy. Minimizing wastage.

Temp wood bracing for concrete foundation pour

Shed floor

Play fort floor


Random Act of Kindness

Over the weekend, I was working on my big fort project. Tony, a 70+ year old Italian neighbour that I see walk by all the time comes up to me. He asks me to make him a deck gate for his grandson. He tells me he's starting to walk and is moving about. He needed a gate to prevent his grandson from moving past the property. He's old and can't keep up.

Looking around my garage for spare wood, hoping to score some leftovers to make a gate. No luck. I tell him I would build him one if he can get me some wood. Minutes later, he comes back with a large piece of wood. I quickly recognized it was from the house behind mine that is still under construction. I'm thinking.. good on him.. he's old, he has no problem taking wood from that property. I take it and start on his project.

The wood he gave me was enough for the frame work. But, we still needed the wood to finish it off. A short trip to the hardware store, and he brought me back some nice tongue and groove cedar planks. (love the smell of cedar)
There weren't any blueprints or designs. Only 2 numbers: width and height. Those were the only requirements. Finished off the top of the gate with a simple "half-moon" design. Just used a piece of string to get the nice curve in.

It only took me an hour total to finish this up. Took it back to his house. Cause the thing got pretty heavy. He offered to pay for my services. Cash and some nice wine. Too bad I don't drink. And I'm not taking money from this nice guy.