I have always wanted to build some sort of fort at Kezar but have never gotten around to doing do since most of my time is spent lazing around the lake. The show Treehouse Masters did get me jazzed to build something on the land this year. Initially, I wanted to build a treehouse but researching treehouse construction and the costs, I decided I needed a lower budget alternative. Having a wall tent from lively out west, I figured to have a nice cost efficient solution until I could build something more substation. For those who don’t know a wall tent is a large canvas tent with a wood stove inside. So I set out to build a platform that it could sit on top and be level and dry.

###Scouting a Location

With the structure being situated on a hill with sections of flat vernal marshy areas, created a need to have the structure built on a slope. I also wanted the platform to be far away enough from the house that you feel like you are in the middle of the woods yet not too far that hauling materials would become an arduous task. My wife and I cleared a trail from the road to connecting trail network a couples years prior, that made a good route into the woods to the desired site.

###Hauling Shit

I spent the better part of an afternoon hauling 2x6x16, 2x6x12, 4x4x8 boards, and concrete decking blocks, and assorted hardware up a small hill, rewarding myself each trip with a sip of beer. Making upwards of 30 trips up and down to the site, I found a nice mildly buzzed rhythm and enjoyed the exercise.

###Breaking Ground My friend Pete was nice enough to come out to Kezar for a weekend and help me with the initial and hardest portion of the construction. Seeing that this is the first fort that I have ever built that required measuring, Pete’s knowledge of construction was great to have when roughing out the initial frame. We started by laying out the concrete decking blocks in the dimension of 16’ x 12’. With being on a slope, we had to dig out the uphill backside to keep the platform level in all directions and have each of the decking blocks be level and secure. This called for lots of digging, fortunatley once you broke through the initial root mass of soil, it was easy sandy digging but lots of digging nonetheless.

Pete leveling out a decking block where 2x6x12 and 2x6x16 lay on the uphill portion of the structure. Also pictured, the trench on the backside we dug.

###Frame It

Next we contructed one side of the frame that would be used as a template that the other sides of the platform would be built from. This involved of taking multiple measurments to make sure the inital section was nice and level. The downhill side of the platform uses 4x4’s as the support and sit vertically in the decking blocks. The 2x6 frame lays on top of the 4x4’s in the front and sits horizontally into the decking blocks in the back. We mimicked the same process on the opposite side of the platform. After making sure everything was still square and level, we screwed the remaining two sides togeter with lag bolts.

Me standing next to the level and true frame that will be used to hang joists that will support the decking. We hung 2x6x12 joists with lag bolts every 16 inches down the 16 foot length frame. Afterwards, secured the joists met the frame with joist hangers. I couldn’t imagine doing this task alone, it was quick and easy work with Pete. Hanging the joists took little time compared to excavating and roughing in the primal frame.

Gratuitous Ralphie photo The next time I went up to work on the fort, I added diaganol pieces that really made the structure sound. I added 4 more concrete supports using a total of 8 decking blocks used to hold the frame to the ground.

to be continued…