Deek’s Lollipop Fort of Death

Woodworking Workshop
Deek’s Lollipop Fort of Death

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This is  Derek “Deek” Diedricksen’s last video for us. And it’s…a little different. He pokes fun at his rather sketchy looking single-pole tree house, which he jokingly has dubbed “The Lollipop Fort Of Death.” It looks less than safe, but he insists it is. The song he wrote about it sure is catchy.

Have a look and a listen:

YouTube player

If you want to build your own Lollipop Fort Of Death here’s how Deek did it:

Basically, I was messing around with a concept for inner-city kids who might want a tree house-like experience, fort-wise, but might not have access to trees on their lot, and might additionally be dealing with limited space.

Its a real simple project, like most of my others, and I began by simply setting a long 6″ by 6″ pressure treated post a little over three feet into the ground, and anchoring it in place with a few bags of concrete. Once this pole was plumb and set, I then took a small plywood base I had prefabricated, and spaced/built its joists so that they tightly cradled, or hugged, the post. After raising this platform and screwing and gluing (construction adhesive) it in place, I then added four simple 45 degree knee-braces beneath it to not only stabilize it, but strengthen the platform too (it worked very well- Hurricane Sandy gave us 70 mph gusts of wind and this thing came out unscathed). After this, it was just a matter of screwing four simple, pre-built, walls into place, one of them containing a viewing window (free from the side of the road), and another a small homemade half-door (built from scrap wood I had laying around). These walls, so as to keep the structure strong, but light, were framed out with simple 1.5″ by 1.5″ lumber, and then “skinned”, or covered, with light, but strong (enough) tongue and groove cedar. Pine or plywood would work well, and normally be less expensive, but I happened to have a pile of Vermont White Cedar on hand (from a really affordable mill called Goodridge Lumber in Albany, VT (I get asked ALL the time)).

The Roof: It’s a simple one-pitch set-up, made from 2 by 4’s clad with rough cedar (1″ thick) and set to create some rain coverage on the front and back of the structure as well. Since the rooftop was a good 13′ in the air, and wouldn’t be seen, I covered it with mere tar paper. Ideally, metal roofing, or corrugated plastic (Tuftex) would be preferred, but I had a roll of tar paper I was looking to use up, and it works well enough…..and that’s the gist of this one.

All in all, I weigh about 220 pounds, and this thing has held me without problems, I’ve even stood atop the roof for a few photo shoots, and while it may wobble a little in that case, its handled a top heavy load without problems.

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Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

View more articles by Stett Holbrook


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