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Fire Tower

JUNE 12, 2007
Stairway to heaven. Beautiful, isn't it?
Knocking a spike into a 2 x 6 while balancing on another suspended fifteen feet in the air isn't everyone's idea of a good time. But for my father, a retired contractor and carpenter, it was pure bliss.

I just got back from five days in the woods. Our family cottage is located in Northern Ontario on a small lake near South River.

Dad is a 79 year old force of nature who took it upon himself to design and build a treehouse for his grandchildren. Not just any old tree house, but a replica of a fire tower. It overlooks the log cabin, sauna and workshop/barn that he has designed and built over the years with the help of everyone in the family. I volunteered to help him out with this one. This project really appeals to me, because it is so crazy.

My dad shows no signs of slowing down. Spending the day with him usually exhausts me. I used to work with him in construction and we locked horns a lot. We have both mellowed over the years, so working together again was a real treat. Dad put great effort into planning all of the elements out and cut the various pieces in his workshop.  It is probably the last big project he will ever take on, and he told me how he had built every detail inside his head. Going through that process was very rewarding. He was in a great mood the whole time and I really enjoyed the fresh air and a chance to get a change of pace from the studio. My sons aged 9 and 7 helped out where they could as well.
Reload the page if you want to see this move
Working in the woods this time of year can be daunting - the mosquitoes and blackflies can form insanity-inducing swarms. But the weather was perfect for working and the bugs were almost nonexistent.

Dad set the footings in this spring and cut the upright supports from balsam spruce trees he found in the forest. The deck sits about 14 feet off the ground and when the structure is finished, it will have a porch, a trap door and screened windows.
My son Lucas, a view from the top. Holy cow that's high!
Dad grew up in the woods and has a real appreciation of nature and a real ability to work with wood. I am sure the kids will all really enjoy this. It should be complete by the end of summer. I am really looking forward to finishing it and sleeping up in the trees or having a beer on the balcony. Getting this far was a real blast.
the blueprint
Topical: fun