A tree stand is a helpful and basic construction generally used by hunters. It helps significantly increase your vantage point outdoors. Anyone who has camped and hiked through a forest would know just how important it is to get your bearings as it is easy to get lost in that environment. For hunters, a tree stand can help them scout animals such as deer from miles away. The platform can either be open or enclosed but one thing that is certain is how simple it is to build. In this article, I’ll be giving you pointers on how to build a tree stand.
Don’t feel overwhelmed even if you have little knowledge of constructing any kind of structure because a basic tree stand is as easy as they come. First off, let’s get the essential tools and materials down. I highly suggest you don’t go for cheap materials (the good quality ones are already affordable) so that you can prevent accidents from occurring in the future. Once you have all the necessary tools, equipment, and material on hand it is time to choose the best possible location to build your tree stand.
The Tools and Materials You Will Need
- Cordless Drill & Screw Drivers
- Ratchet Wrench
- Extension Ladder
- Hex Bolts (1/2 inch in diameter, 4 inches long) with Washers & Nuts
- Lag bolts (1/2 inch in diameter, 4 inches long)
- Screws (3 inches long)
- 2 boards (2×4, 16 feet long)
- 10 boards (1×4, 18 inches long)
- 6 boards (2×4, 3 feet long)
- 9 boards (1×4, 3 feet long)
- 4 boards (2×4, 6 feet long)
Building Your Tree Stand
Obviously, bringing all of these will be quite a task in itself which is why it is best to bring a couple of friends to help out and speed things along.
Step 1: Get your Tree Stand Ladder ready
First, let’s get the tree stand’s ladder ready. Grab your 16 feet boards and lay them flat on the ground. Separate them with at least 18 inches of space between. Take your 10 (1×4, 18 inches) boards and start placing each from the bottom upwards the 16 feet board, this will be the ladder rungs. Make sure each of the 10 boards are flush at both ends. Take your screws and start putting them on each side. Don’t place a rung at the topmost part of the ladder.
Step 2: Screw the boards
Take four 3 feet (2×4) boards sections and screw them together to form a square. This will be the frame of the tree stand platform. Two side beams should be located between the front and back beams. Take your measuring tape and place the remaining 3 feet beams vertically from front to back. This will act as the center support and should have 18 inches of space between the two.
Step 3: Lay the boards horizontally
Grab the nine 3 feet (1×4) section boards and lay it horizontally over the platform frame. Secure it down by placing 2 screws on both ends of the vertical support beams. This means you will be using 8 screws for each plank.
Make sure to screw down the board properly. There should be no wobbling once you have placed all boards down. You should also make sure that all boards are placed properly and balanced throughout.
Step 4: Bring additional unused materials together
Bring the platform, ladder, and additional unused materials to the location. It is best to pick a tree that is around 18 to 30 inches in diameter. Take the platform and lay it on its side. Take your tree stand ladder and place it underneath the platform. It should be fit nicely against the 2 center support beams. Make sure the ladder is perpendicular and slightly angled outwards on the bottom side.
Step 5: Bore a Hole Through the Rung
Take your ½ inch cordless drill and bore a hole through the rung and onto the beam on either side. Once done, take the 4-inch hex bolt and put it on each side. Use the ratchet to secure the bolts using the washer and nut.
Check each hex bolt afterwards to ensure that it is secured completely. Don’t forget to place the washer and nut as well. This will be the main support structure so it is best that you make sure everything is in place and that material used is of high-quality.
Step 6: Connect Ladder Rung
Take a 6 feet 2×4 board and run it through the back end of the center support beam connecting it to each ladder rung. Secure it using your hex bolts to further increase the stability of the platform and the ladder.
Make sure the boards are all evenly placed into the ladder rung. Uneven installation of boards is unacceptable at this stage. Double check and use a spirit level if need be.
Step 7: Raise the Stand Up Against the Tree
Now for the difficult part. Raise the stand up against the tree. Make sure the platform is perfectly balanced and that the base of the ladder has a solid footing on the ground. Have another person help to raise the stand. Take your extension ladder and climb up the opposite side of the tree to secure the 3 lag bolts. Secure the tree stand/board platform into the tree using your drill and additional lag bolts.
Step 8: Final Step
Finally, take the two remaining 6 feet 2×4 boards and secure them around the middle part of both the ladder leg to the tree.
Make sure the ground is flat. Placing the ladder over uneven terrain can lead to accidents in the future. The key factor to remember here is stability. If you notice anything that even wobbles slightly, find the cause and fix it.
Tips and Safety Precautions
- If you will use it primarily for hunting then consider adding rails for safety.
- Always wear your tree stand safety harness. You can use this list of the best tree stand harness for reference.
- If you are hunting on private land, get permission first before building a tree stand (permanent or otherwise). For public land, check the rules and regulations as some do not allow permanent tree stand installations.
- Do not climb the ladder with a loaded weapon. Hoof it up the platform first using a rope or a makeshift elevator.
This tutorial on how to build a tree stand should help iron and ease things out if you are relatively inexperienced in construction. Remember to always take safety first and foremost. Don’t settle for subpar quality work and always take all necessary precautions.
If you have any additional tips you want to share, please head on to the comment section below! As always, be responsible when going about your outdoor activity and take all safety precautions when heading out.