How to Nail Steps in a Tree

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Whether you are building a tree stand for hunting or a child's treehouse, you need a way to access your unit. One of the oldest and quickest ways is to nail steps in a tree. When nailing steps it is important to use long nails that will bite through the steps and into the tree. The last thing you want when climbing steps on a tree is to have one fall off as you are stepping on it. Another important factor when nailing steps in a tree is to space the steps to make climbing the tree as effortless as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Construction grade 2- by 4-inch lumber
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw
  • Drill with 1/8-inch drill bit
  • Box of 16-penny nails
  • Hammer
  • Cut steps from 2- by 4-inch pine, construction-grade lumber to a length of 12 inches to 16 inches with a circular saw.

  • Lay each step flat and place the end of the tape measure at the top of one side. Measure down 1 1/2 inches and make a mark with the pencil. Make another mark at the 2 1/2-inch measurement. Measure and mark the board 4 inches from each end.

  • Drill pilot holes through the steps at each mark with an 1/8-inch drill bit. There should be four holes in each step. Two in the middle of the step and one at each end.

  • Place the first step approximately 2 feet from the ground on the side of the tree. Hold the step in place and drill through the two center holes into the tree with the 1/8-inch bit, if it is possible to get a drill to the tree. This is not absolutely necessary but makes the first nails of each step less difficult to drive into the tree.

  • Nail the step to the tree with 16-penny nails and a hammer, starting with the center holes. Position the next step approximately 2 feet higher than the previous step and attach it to the tree in the same manner. This distance between steps is enough to prevent over reaching for the next step when climbing up and down.

Tips & Warnings

  • Periodically check the nails in each step to ensure they are solidly in the tree. Over time, the tree will grow around the nail making them more secure. occasionally however, a nail will become loose as the tree grows.

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