Friday, January 30, 2015

Treehouse Story: The Mystery of the Loose Cable

Are your treehouse cables loose?

So a couple of extraordinarily detail-oriented and sharp-eyed readers pointed out that it almost looks like the cables supporting the north end of the treehouse platform are ... loose? How can that be?

Here's a close-up picture.

Looks a little sketchy.

The question was, of course, if those cables aren't supporting the main treehouse beams, what is? Well, it's a bit of a trick of the eye: there are actually two wire rope slings on each side.

Why? Well, when I ordered the original treehouse support cables, I felt confident I'd handled the issue of load well -- each had a working load limit of 2.5 tons, or 5,000 pounds, and would be holding one-quarter of the weight of the treehouse and occupants, which I estimated would never top 2,000 pounds (1,000 pounds of house, 1,000 pounds of people, both high estimates). Essentially 500 pounds on something rated for 5,000 seemed pretty reasonable -- and that's a working load limit rating, not a breaking-point rating.

Then it struck me: manufacturing problems happen. It's rare, but possible. The wire rope slings weren't terribly expensive. And I'd be faced with a huge problem if one of those slings failed. So I ordered two more of the same rating, but slightly longer, and slung them loosely around the treehouse beams, as a backup. Took all of ten minutes to get them in place (and bundle them in with a couple of white zip ties, which you can also see).

So it's an overkill, again; like wearing a belt and suspenders. But for the small investment of time and money, it's a nice extra treehouse safety feature.

Back to the previous Treehouse Story: Shaky-Cam!

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