This section is from the book "The Boy Mechanic Vol. 2 1000 Things for Boys to Do", by Popular Mechanics Co.. Also available from Amazon: The Boy Mechanic, Vol2: 1000 Things for Boys to Do.
[In this article descriptions are given of several shelters suitable for a resort, but the reader may select any one of them that answers his needs and build a camp house, or fit up a more substantial one to make living quarters for the whole year. - Editor.]
BEING forced to take the open-air treatment to regain health, a person adopted the plan of building a pole house in the woods, and the scheme was so successful that it was decided to make a resort grounds, to attract crowds during holidays, by which an income could be realized for living expenses. All the pavilions, stands, furniture, and amusement devices were constructed of straight poles cut from young growth of timber with the bark remaining on them. Outside of boards for flooring and roofing material, the entire construction of the buildings and fences consisted of poles.
A level spot was selected and a house built having three rooms. The location was in a grove of young timbers, most of it being straight, and 13 trees were easily found that would make posts 12 ft. long, required for the sides, and two poles 16 ft. long, for the center of the ends, so that they would reach to the ridge. The plot was laid out rectangular and marked for the poles, which were set in the ground for a depth of 4 ft., at distances of 6 ft. apart. This made the house 8 ft. high at the eaves with a square pitch roof; that is, the ridge was 3 ft. high in the center from the plate surfaces for this width of a house. The rule for finding this height is to take one-quarter of the width of the house for the height in the center from the plate.
Ill: The Frame Construction of the House Made Entirely of Rough Poles, the Verticals being Set in the Ground, Plumbed, and Sighted to Make a Perfect Rectangle of the Desired Proportions
The corner poles were carefully located to make the size 12 by 2-4 ft., with a lean-to 8 by 12 ft., and then plumbed to get them straight vertically. The plates for the sides, consisting of five poles, were selected as straight as possible and their ends and centers hewn down to about one-half their thickness, as shown at A and B, and nailed to the tops of the vertical poles, the connection for center poles being as shown at C.
Ill: The Steps are Supported on Pairs of Vertical Poles Set in the Ground to Make Different Levels
The next step was to secure the vertical poles with crosspieces between them which were used later for supporting the siding. These poles were cut about 6 ft. long, their ends being cut concave to fit the curve of the upright poles, as shown at D. These were spaced evenly, about 2 ft. apart from center to center, on the sides and ends, as shown in the sketch, and toenailed in place. The doors and window openings were cut in the horizontal poles wherever wanted, and casements set in and nailed. The first row of horizontal poles was placed close to the ground and used both as support for the lower ends of the siding and to nail the ends of the flooring boards to, which were fastened in the center to poles laid on stones, or, better still, placed on top of short blocks, 5 ft. long, set in the ground. These poles for the floor should be placed not over 2 ft. apart to make the flooring solid.
A lean-to was built by setting three poles at a distance of 8 ft. from one side, beginning at the center and extending to the end of the main building. These poles were about 6 ft. long above the ground. The rafter poles for this part were about 9 1/2 ft. long, notched at both ends for the plates, the ends of the house rafters being sawed off even with the outside of the plate along this edge. The rafter poles for the house were 10 in all, 8 ft. long, and were laid off and cut to fit a ridge made of a board. These poles were notched about 15 in. from their lower ends to fit over the rounding edge of the plate pole, and were then placed directly over each vertical wall pole. They were nailed both to the plate and to the ridge, also further strengthened by a brace made of a piece of board or a
Gate Openings were Made in the Fence Where Necessary, and Gates of Poles Hung in the Ordinary Manner
small pole, placed under the ridge and nailed to both rafters. On top of the rafters boards were placed horizontally, spaced about 1 ft. apart, but this is optional with the builder, as other roofing material can be used. In this instance metal roofing was used, and it only required fastening at intervals, and to prevent rusting out, it was well painted on the under side before laying it and coated on the outside when fastened in place. If a more substantial shelter is wanted, it is best to lay the roof solid with boards, then cover it with the regular prepared roofing material.
Ill: All Furniture, Together with the Large Lawn Swings, Took on the General Appearance of the Woodland, and As the Pieces were Made Up of the Same Material As the Houses, the Cost Was Only the Labor and a Few Nails
Some large trees were selected and felled, then cut into 4-ft. lengths and the bark removed, or if desired, the bark removed in 4-ft. lengths, and nailed on the outside of the poles, beginning at the bottom in the same manner as laying shingles, to form the siding of the house. I f a more substantial house is wanted, boards can be nailed on the poles, then the bark fastened to the boards; also, the interior can be finished in wall board.
The same general construction is used for the porch, with horizontal poles latticed, as shown, to form the railing. It is very easy to make ornamental parts, such as shown, on the eave of the porch, by splitting sticks and nailing them on closely together to make a frieze. Floors are laid on the porch and in the house, and doors hung and window sash fitted in the same manner as in an ordinary house.
A band stand was constructed on sloping ground, and after setting the poles, the floor horizontals were placed about 2 ft. above the ground, on the upper side, and 4 ft. on the lower side. The poles used were about 18 ft. long. Instead of having the horizontals 2 ft. apart, the first was placed 1 ft. above the floor, the next at about one-half the distance from the lower one to the plate at the top, and the space between was ornamented with cross poles, as shown. A balcony or bay was constructed at one end, and a fancy roof was made of poles whose ends rested on a curved pole attached to the vertical pieces. Steps were formed of several straight poles, hewn down on their ends to make a level place to rest on horizontal pieces attached to stakes at the ends. A pair of stakes were used at each end of a step, and these were fastened to a slanting piece at the top, their lower ends being set into the ground. The manner of bracing and crossing with horizontals makes a rigid form of construction, and if choice poles are selected for the step pieces, they will be comparatively level and of sufficient strength to hold up all the load put on them. The roof of this building was made for a sun shade only and consisted of boards nailed closely together on the rafters.
Ill: The Entrance to the Grounds was Given an Inviting Appearance with Large Posts and Swinging Gates
An ice-cream parlor was built on the same plan, but without any board floor; the ground, being level, was used instead. There were five vertical poles used for each end with a space left between the two poles at the center, on both sides, for an entrance. This building was covered with prepared roofing, so that the things kept for sale could be protected in case of a shower.
A peanut stand was also built without a floor, and to make it with nine sides, nine poles were set in the ground to form a perfect nonagon and joined at their tops with latticed horizontals. Then a rafter was run from the top of each post to the center, and boards were fitted on each pair of rafters over the V-shaped openings. The boards were then covered with prepared roofing. A railing was formed of horizontals set in notches, cut in the posts, and then ornamented in the same manner as for the other buildings.
Fences were constructed about the grounds, made of pole posts with horizontals on top, hewn down and fitted as the plates for the house; and the lower pieces were set in the same as for making the house railing. Gates were made of two vertical pieces, the height of the posts, and two horizontals, then braced with a piece running from the lower corner at the hinge side to the upper opposite corner, the other cross brace being joined to the sides of the former, whereupon two short horizontals were fitted in the center. A blacksmith formed some hinges of rods and strap iron, as shown, and these were fastened in holes bored in the post and the gate vertical. A latch was made by boring a hole through the gate vertical and into the end of the short piece. Then a slot was cut in the side to receive a pin inserted in a shaft made to fit the horizontal hole. A keeper was made in the post by boring a hole to receive the end of the latch.
Large posts were constructed at the entrance to the grounds, and on these double swing gates, made up in the same manner as the small one, were attached. These large posts were built up of four slender poles and were considerably higher than the fence poles. The poles were set in a perfect square, having sides about 18 in. long, and a square top put on by mitering the corners, whereupon four small rafters were fitted on top. The gates were swung on hinges made like those for the small gate.
Among the best and most enjoyed amusement devices on the grounds were the swings. Several of these were built, with and without tables. Four poles, about 20 ft. long, were set in the ground at an angle, and each pair of side poles was joined with two horizontals, about 12 ft. long, spreaders being fastened between the two horizontals to keep the tops of the poles evenly spaced. The distance apart of the poles will depend on the size of the swing and the number of persons to be seated. Each pair of side poles are further strengthened with crossed poles, as shown. If no table is to be used in the swing, the poles may be set closer together, so that the top horizontals will be about 8 ft. long. The platform for the swinging part consists of two poles, 13 ft. long, which are swung on six vertical poles, about 14 ft. long. These poles are attached to the top horizontals with long bolts, or rods, running through both, the bottom being attached in the same manner. Poles are nailed across the platform horizontals at the bottom for a floor, and a table with seats at the ends is formed of poles. The construction is obvious.
A short space between two trees can be made into a seat by fastening two horizontals, one on each tree, with the ends supported by braces. Poles are nailed on the upper surface for a seat.
Other furniture for the house and grounds was made of poles in the manner illustrated. Tables were built for picnickers by setting four or six poles in the ground and making a top of poles or boards. Horizontals were placed across the legs with extending ends, on which seats were made for the tables. Chairs and settees were built in the same manner, poles being used for the entire construction.