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With a little help from our friends

Richard Tregoweth - Monday, March 21, 2011

Over the last few weeks the Treetools team have been renovating an old warehouse in East Tamaki to house the new showroom and warehouse.

As part of the project we planned to erect a tree (in the showroom) for demonstration and training purposes. Nice idea, but locating the right tree and then getting it into the warehouse in one piece proved to be too difficult - so we resorted to Plan B.

Ivor Shannon from Treescape (and i-Splice) suggested we build the tree. At first it seemed like a crazy idea but with a little help from design engineer Peter Tregoweth we came up with a safe solution that would work - an indoor, man-made climbing tree.

Peter planned the 'tree' constructed from four 300mm diameter tanalized poles, stretching 4.5 meters to the ceiling. The trunks are secured to the concrete floor by individual, custom-made stainless steel boots bolted down with eight 20kN stainless Dynabolts per boot. Each tree branch is cantilevered outward 10 degrees and bolted together at the top with 150mm cross beams (branches).

The plan looked great on paper but the question was 'how do we erect the tree?'. Each 4.5 meter trunk weighed in at just over 300kg!

With help from rigging guru, Rossy Ross a traditional arborist rigging system was devised using hand winches and manpower. The theory was good but in practice it would have taken too long to get everything in place due to a lack of suitable anchor points in the warehouse roof.

Thankfully Norton Tree Services', Malcolm Shaw turned up at Kerywn Ave (our new address) to lend a hand and suggested we speed up the process by using his Bobcat.

With some skillful indoor driving from Malclom and superb rigging from Rossy, four of the 'trunks' were erected in less than a few hours, protruding proudly out of the concrete floor of the warehouse.

Goes to show you what a few good men (and a Bobcat) can do! Thanks boys - a job well done - we couldn't have done it without a little help from our friends!

The first of the Treetools tree trunks going in at Kerwyn Ave.

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