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Using springs for stability

edited September 2017 in Supports
Hello, I've recently built a 5.5'X10' treehouse platform, which is bolted to one tree and supported by 4' cables, to three other trees. All the cabled trees are within 8-12 inches of the platform. When you stand on the platform there is lots of wiggling going on. I imagine that is the nature of this kind of support. But I was wondering if anyone had thoughts about connecting corners of the platform to other trees, using both springs and cable, so that the platform has less wiggle, but still has some give when the support trees need to move. Thanks everyone for your thoughts!! Jim


  • Cable supports do allow a lot of movement - too much in some cases. The system you have actually works like a spring, with the platform eventually returning to a steady position. What you need is something to dampen the oscillation, like the shocks in a car. These prevent the car bouncing uncontrollably by absorbing all the energy as the car moves up and down. For a treehouse you can probably find a shock to buy that would be the right size. You would have to do some experimenting to work out what load and pressure it needs to handle, but an adjustable shock for a small car or rear suspension of a mountain bike or motorcycle might be in the correct range. You will need to find a way to connect the shock absorber between the moving, or flexible, side of the platform and a relatively solid object like another tree. If you have a second tree close to the platform you can bolt the shock between it and the platform. You will need at least two shock absorbers working at right angles to each other to absorb movement in different directions. Adjustable shocks mean you can tune the resistance so the platform can still move, but does not oscillate (or wiggle) noticeably. Adjustments are made by changing the pressure of a compressed oil or air reservoir.
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