Everyone needs a clubhouse! You can build your own backyard shelter, retreat, or clubhouse even if you have never built anything before. The clubhouse above was built in 1959 by three kids aged 8, 9 and 11, with no money or help from grownups! I know; I was the 11-year-old who took this picture. I'm sharing here what I have learned since then.
Readers of all ages are welcome to comment with their own ideas, pictures or stories.
To help you on your way, I've written a book titled "Keep Out! Build Your Own Backyard Clubhouse", which is available through bookstores or at Amazon.com . Many of the items I post here are also in the book.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wood and Nails

Once you've drawn a plan and have permission, you can start looking for wood for your clubhouse.
A clubhouse can be built with just a few different kinds of boards, all held together with a few sizes of nails. It's a good idea to learn the carpenter words for the boards as they are used. This is what the frame of a possible clubhouse might look like, and what the pieces are called:
The floor is held up by two 4" by 4" thick beams called foundation sills that are 8 feet long. These support  seven 2" by 4" thick floor joists 6 feet long, which then support the floor boards.  The floor supports the walls which support the roof. To make them strong, the walls are built with studs, plates and other pieces; all from 2" by 4" thick boards. Thinner boards or plywood then cover up the 2 by 4s. I'll show you how to put all this together in several steps!
Most nails come in one-pound or five-pound boxes. For starters, get a couple of 1-pound boxes of 6d, 8d and 16d construction nails called "coated sinkers". Exterior galvanized nails are good for nailing on trim boards or siding that will get rained on. These are the kind used in house building everywhere. There are a few other kinds of nails or screws you might be using as well: 
Next: How to find wood and other stuff ... 

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