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This weekend I watched part of DIY’s Project Treehouse, which covered the construction of a treehouse from start to finish. During the show, they used a piece of hardware that caught my interest: the Garnier Limb (GL). Michael Garnier operates a treehouse bed and breakfast in Oregon, and he designed the Garnier Limb — a piece of hardware that can be threaded into a tree — to be a mounting point in the construction of tree structures.

The threaded, 1-1/2″ diameter rod screws into a hole made by the special drill bit pictured below. The GL can then serve as a starting point to hold beams, hang wires, or mount other hardware. Some use it as the base for floating joints that allow the treehouses to flex on their supports when the tree sways in the wind. This piece of custom hardware has become a common tool in treehouse construction.


Perhaps more unique than the GL is Garnier’s personal story. Apparently, he battled the county government for ten years to get the building permits for his treehouses.

Garnier sells the hardware through his own website, and a single GL can run $110. The specialty drill bit costs $300 to purchase, or you can rent it for $50 a month.

Garnier Limb [Treehouses.com]
Garnier’s Story [Wikipedia]


6 Responses to Out On A Limb

  1. Chris says:

    Or you could buy a Forstner bit for $20 and a good woodboring bit for another $20-30, and just spend an extra 30 seconds on each hole.

    I want to know how you’re supposed to screw this thing in, though. Put a big nut on the other end, tighten it down, and then keep going? How do you get the nut off at the end without backing the whole thing out?


  2. Adam says:

    Hmm, interesting.

    It didn’t help him escape that POW camp with Steve McQueen, though…

  3. Eiki says:

    Should have been wearing jeans and a t-shirt, eh? He’d be in Switzerland in 30 minutes or so.

  4. ambush27 says:

    What catches my eye is that it has a machine screw thread not a courser tapered start thread like a lag bolt.

  5. stacaz says:

    You could make the bolt with a thick steel threaded pipe, and insert and weld on a coarse-threaded end, and a fat washer in the middle. Pretty simple.

  6. Many tree house builders are using a multi step drill process like Chris suggested. But the timber bits cost closer to 60-80, not 20. Still, it’s much easier to replace cheaper parts when they break or need sharpening.

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