Stalk 2x6 VERIFIED
OK, so here's what you need (I'm reading this off the receipts littered around my bedroom, so I hope I don't miss anything...)Wood:4 4"x4"x8' trunks these are the main supports4 2"x4"x8' stalks (for lack of a better general word for a long piece of wood) These give the loft its shape7 2"x3"x8' stems You'll use these to make braces, and also supports for the plywood bed. Read steps 15 and 16 first--you may be able to get away with only 6 stems2 4'x8' 1/2" plywoodHardware: (home despot drastically overcharges for bolts. For the love of the Flying Spagetti Monster and all his oh-so-noodly appendages, buy your bolts at your local mom-and-pop hardware store! Support small businesses and don't get ripped off!)8 1/2" x 6" bolts these hold the 2x4 stalks onto the 4x4 trunks8 1/2" nuts16 1/2" washers8 3/8" x 6" bolts these hold your 2x3 stems onto the trunks8 nuts16 washers (duh)28 3/8" x 5" lag screws Lag screws are basically big wood screws. Great for holding big pieces of wood together. You'll use them to hold the stems onto thingsa bunch of 3" drywall screws. Probably 20 or soassorted other things:(power tools)Circ saw (sawzall would also work fine, as would anything else that cuts wood. Your call)Drill(things that go on the drill)3/8" bit1/2" bit --You're going to be drilling long holes. I used the flat drill bilts that were really long, and they worked well. The normal bits I had originally weren't long eoughtBolt driver --Your lag screws should have a hex head. Get something you can mount on your drill that can drive the screws. A ratchet set would also work...crappily. Do yourself a favor and get the drill thingy. Otherwise you'll have a really tired arm and it'll be a huge draga philips head driver --to drive the drywall screws(other things)wrenches that fit the 1/2 and 3/8" nutsMeasuring tape.Something that can draw a 45 degree line well. I bought a $10 saw and angle jig kit, which sucked, but at least I could use it to draw the 45 degree lines I neededMusic. Get yourself some grooves from rock on, broA joke ( I came up with this on a boat somewhere in the southern hemisphere):Why didn't the man like to take his legless dog for a walk?(it was such a drag!)Also, you'll need a sense of humor that has the strength to withstand a barrage of my aweful awesome jokes, Finally, you'll want to have a room to put this loft in and a pet monkey.I lied, you don't really need the monkey.But that would be cool, wouldn't it?
OK, enough of my self-indulgence.Pile everything into the target room. Figure out how high the ceiling is. My ceilings are about 7'6", so I used the circ saw to cut my trunks (those are the 4x4s, remember?) to 7'Figure out how much floor space you haveI had over 8' in one direction, and about 7'4 in the other. I kept two of the stalks(the 2x4s, eh mate?) at the normal 8' length, and cut the other two to 7'4Remember, your stalks are gonna overlap your trunks, so just focus on the stalk length.Also, this is wierd. My 2x4s were really like 2x3.75s, and my 4x4s were more like 3.75x3.75s. Is that normal? Or am I getting gypped out of killing perfectly good trees?
OK, time to drill some holes. Stick that 1/2" bit into yer drill, and start your engines!First, I aligned one of my stalks with the top of a trunk. I used the measuring tape to pick out the center of the overlap, and drilled a 1/2" hole through both of them. I like to stick two pieces that need to be aligned on top of eachother when I drill, since I don't trust my measuring skills, which are sub-kindergarten.I don't trust my cuts to be exactly square, so I kept the factory-cut end of the trunk on the floor, and put my cut on the top, which is where you're attaching the stalks.Take a look at the drawing--what you're doing here is making the two sides of the loft.Drill enough holes to make both sides. For those of you not following my obtuse description, you could (a) whack yourself over the head wit da ugly stick till I make sense (I like this option...) --or--(b) take this advice.You're going to drill 4 holes. When you're done, you'll have two stalks, each with two holes, one at each endANDall 4 trunks, each with one hole at the topResist that temptation to bolt the bits together, cowboy.you've still got step 8 ahead of you
OK, now you're going to drill the holes for the other stalks, which will give your budding loft its first squarish shape.This is also where you set the height of your loft. I set mine at 5', which gave me some comfy headroom on top, and still made the underside navigable. When you've figured out a good height, grab the two undrilled stalks and align them over the trunks at the height you want. Drill a hole at the center of the intersecting area. Also, be sure that you're drilling a hole on one of the faces of the trunk that doesn't already have a hole in it (these stalks run in a different direction than the ones you just drilled in the last step) Look at the drawing here, too, if it's unclear. You're drilling holes to attach the stalks that will join the two sides of the frame.Maybe the picture will help you get an idea of what you want to do.I get a feeling it's worth more than a thousand of my words
OK, now you can bolt stuff together. I'd recommend building one side with both of the cross-stalks and then line up the cross-stalks from the one side with the holes on the other, and bolt them together. It should look like the thing below when you're doneRemember, you're using the 1/2" boltsThe bolts will probably be pretty tight in the holes. If you can't push them through by hand, give the bolts encouraging whacks with something like a hammer or a block of wood. Really, any form of thumping technology will do the trick, as well.
OK, so now we're going to brace the frame, which will make it stable.The guy at the home despot told me that these types of braces are called sway braces. Maybe that means more to you than it does to me.We're going to cut 8 braces. Get out that circ saw again, and dig up that thing you use to draw right anglesYou're going to cut the trapezoid shape below out of the 2x3 stems. The angles are 45 degree angles. There's no good rule (that I know. Keep in mind that I don't know anything about this, though...) for how long your braces should be. As I understand it, a longer brace will give you (I think) better leverage when the joint tries to move, so maybe longer braces make the structure sturdier, but I definitely know that they make it uglier. Eyeball it and figure out a length you like. I picked 17.5" for no real reason. It's a number that probably has absolutely _no_ significance in the zodiac.I assumed when I told you how much stuff to buy that you'd be able to fit 4 braces onto one stem. If you can't fit that many, buy an extra stem or two.To attach them to the frame, I lined up a 45 degree edge with the underside of the stalk, and then slid it along the stalk until the other 45 degree edge lined up with the edge of the trunk. oh, yeah--MAKE SURE YOUR FRAME IS SQUARE BEFORE YOU BRACE IT. otherwise it will be braced in a non-square position, which sucks.Anyway, then I put a lag screw through the brace into the stalk, and drilled a hole through the brace and the stem and put a 3/8" bolt through that. The pictures might help you visualize it.I'm pretty sure I put my lag screws in a dumb way. Tell me what a better way would be!better yet, tell the people who are reading this by posting a comment. I already built my loft
Let's see what we have:You should have a squarish frame that's fully constrained with a brace at every joint between a trunk and a stalk. It should be pretty sturdy. I did pullups off mine at this point, and crawled around on top of it to see if it would break. It didn'tDoes yours look like that? Cool!and I know that there's some extra cross-beams in the second picture. Sorry about that. I just jammed them in before I took the picture. Don't sweat it--you'll learn about those soon enough, child
Aren't you excited? It looks loft-ish, and it'll get more so.Now we're going to put in 4 stems that will support the plywood floor. If you say to yourself, "I don't need floor supports, plywood is strong enough by itself," you will probably be finding a you-shaped hole in your floor pretty soon, and a you-shaped person on the floor, sheepishly rubbing your painful you-butt.First, measure the distance between the inside of the two cross-stalks(these are the stalks that are at the height you decided your floor should be). Cut four stems to this length.The best way I found to put these stems in is to line up the stem so that it's flush with the cross-stalk . A friend really helps with the alignment process, but it's possible solo. (I did all the loft construction by my lonesome, with the exception of wrangling the plywood up the stairs. My neighbor Diego helped me with that. More about Diego later...)Anyway, line up your stem with the stalk. Remember that you're putting 4 stems in, so space them evenly. Be sure to put two of the stems at either end of the loft. The best way I found to attach the stem was to put two lag screws running through the cross-stalk running at a slight angle into the stem. That's two lag screws everywhere a stem attaches to a stalk, and it's holding together well so far. I'll let you know if there's ever a me-shaped hole in anything....(this next bit is talking about the picture, ok?)Remember how I don't really know how to do anything? When I built this, I didn't realize I needed two more floor supports at the ends of the loft, which is why there's only two there. I put in my floor supports way later. Don't make my mistakes, man! 041b061a72