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Thread: Design help needed: young man's playhouse!

  1. #1
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    Design help needed: young man's playhouse!

    Well, folks, I'm in a real bind, because I've done it again: started a project without having a complete idea in mind. What I want is a combination playhouse.
    James will turn 4 on Sunday, so it needs to be done by then.

    OK, so here's what I've got so far: four 4x4s, sunk in the ground in concrete. A frame of 2x4s at ground level. A piece of plywood notched to fit exactly over the 2x4s. The 4x4s stick up 6', and the tops are level to the world (though not the ground.

    I had planned to have a frame of 2x4s at the top, then another piece of plywood to make a 2nd story floor. Then some kind of railing most of the way around (except where the ladder goes), and some supports to hold up the "roof" (including a center beam). The roof will actually be a colorful tarp... it's just there for shade and rain protection.

    Then of course I got fancy, and instead of 8' 2x4s for the top, I got 2 12 footers, so the west end of the upper floor can actually be a balcony. That's no real trouble, as long as I can support it. The real problem:

    I can't figure out how to attach the railing uprights to the floor of the second level, especially since they'll also have to hold the roof up. No matter how I think about doing it, it seems like it would be yucky.

    ANY advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Bill

  2. #2
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    How about letting the joist run by the ends of the actual floor so you can bolt the uprights to the joist?

    Remember this isn't going to be a permanent or is it?
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  3. #3
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    I'm trying to visualize your plan, but might you use a post base and box it in to protect little fingers?

    http://www.strongtie.com/products/co...BA-ABE-ABU.asp




  4. #4
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    Notch out 1/2 the thickness of the 4X4 upright the thickness of the floor joist plus the flooring and bolt it to the side of the floor joist and either toe-nail or screw through the area above the notch down through the floor and into the joist. Could also use doubled up 2X4s with one shorter by the amount mentioned above than the other.
    Jerry

    http://www.sawdustersplace.com

    "If politics wasn't built on careful deception it wouldn't need its own word and techniques. It would just be called honesty, education, and leadership."
    Bob "Phydeaux" Stewart one day on Woodnet

  5. #5
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    Hmmm, maybe this will help...

    I'm afraid I can't express myself well...

    the railings have to go all around. Somewhere in there, there has to be enough support for a roof. I've been thinking of it as if I were making an open-sided doghouse at the top pf the second level. Does that make sense?

    Thanks,

    Bill


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  6. #6
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    Wait a minute, you are making James a GROUND LEVEL play house

    Where is the fun in that

    When I was a kid, my dad built a play house for me and my brother, and the space under it, he used for the lawn mower etc, then when we were all done with the play house, he still had a shed to use.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
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    Stu,

    It's way more complicated than that! The ground level will actually be enclosed, with "windows", as a doghouse. The idea is that Belle and Brisi will sleep (and hide from thunderstorms) on the ground floor. The upper floor is for James! Hence the Balcony, etc.

    Had a big disappointment when I went to put in the 2x4x12 balcony supports today. One of them was twisted beyond recognition. I'll have to get another tomorrow...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  8. #8
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    Okay, this is what I was trying to explain in words. Much easier in a picture.



    The darker piece is the upright, the silver colored thingies are lag bolts. You might also want to toenail in from above the notch into the existing crossmember and possibly even add diagonals from the upright down to the horizontal piece for added stability.

    You might also consider taking all four horizontal pieces off of the top, notching the tops of the 4 X 4s to add a ledge for the horizontal pieces to sit on. That would stability to the "upstairs" area and the flooring would act further to tie the perimeter pieces to the uprights better.
    Jerry

    http://www.sawdustersplace.com

    "If politics wasn't built on careful deception it wouldn't need its own word and techniques. It would just be called honesty, education, and leadership."
    Bob "Phydeaux" Stewart one day on Woodnet

  9. #9
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    playhouse construction continues

    Well, over the weekend, we got some more materials. The bottom story has a floor now, and so does the upper story. The balcony is extended, supported, and it has a floor too. The borg sells 4x8 "siding", which is just 3/8" osb with grooves pressed in, but at least it was pre-primed on one side. The Festool was great for cutting it to size. With James' help, I'd put it up, mark it, take it down, cut it, prime the inside, go on to the next one. Once I got two others done, the first was ready to put up. James was very cute, helping hold it up while I put in the screws.

    We were out there yesterday morning, doing little things, cleaning up the site. I may have complained to James that I wasn't looking forward to painting the first story when I got home. So he decided to help. Here's what I found when I got home:

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    luckily, it's just kilz2, water based. I still don't know how he got the can open, but I did find a newly painted hammer that I swear *was* in my shop!

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    So we set about "fixing" his paint job. Wasn't the sequence I was planning, but oh well...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  10. #10
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    Now there is one heck of a "Boy" self starter and all of that, must be learning a thing or two from dear old dad as well, as he figured out how to open that can!

    Way to go James, you can come and paint stuff at my house anytime, I like a young man who can think on his feet and git-r-done

    Maybe we should send James over to Ned's shed
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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