Homemade wooden swings have been a staple of the backyard landscape of family homes in America for more than a century. Generations of parents have built millions of tree houses, forts and swing sets for their kids. In recent years, as American homeowners have become more aware of the need for safety, wooden playset kits engineered for improved child safety have emerged. You can still build your own homemade swings, but your insurance agent will appreciate it if you keep safety in mind when you do.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 2 treated timbers, 6 by 6 inches by 12 feet
- Post hole diggers
- Pea grave
- 5 bags concrete mix
- Wheelbarrow, shovel and water hose
- 2 treated boards, 2 by 8 by 16 feet
- 2 treated timbers, 6 by 6 inches by 2 and a half feet
- Circular Saw
- Drill and bits
- 1 Box 8d nails
- 6 Carriage bolts, 5/8 by 10 inches long
- 12 flat washers, 5/8
- 6 nuts, 5/8
- 4 screw-on half-inch threaded eyes with half-inch carriage bolts, 10 inches long
- 2 swing, chain and hook assemblies
- Eye protection
Dig two holes 16 feet apart and three feet deep with post hole diggers. Angle the sides of the holes so the bottom is wider than the top to provide a more stable base for the upright posts
Shovel 2 inches of pea gravel into the bottom of the holes. Put the 12-foot 6-by-6 timbers into the holes and shovel 4 more inches of pea gravel around the base of the posts.
Mix concrete in the wheelbarrow and pour it into the holes. Level the posts and square them with each other. Let them sit overnight to set and cure.
Nail the two 16-foot 2-by-8 boards to each side of the tops of the posts so that the posts are sandwiched between the ends of the cross beams. Drill a 5/8-inch hole through the cross beams and posts. Insert the 5/8 carriage bolts through a flat washer, then tap the carriage bolts through the post and cross beams and bolt tight with a washer and nut.
Tap the two-and-a-half foot 6-by-6 boards between the cross braces four feet from the end posts. This should leave a gap of 3 feet between them at the centre. Drill two 5/8-inch holes in each, a third of the way from the ends, and bolt the short timbers to the cross members.
Drill two half-inch holes vertically through the short timbers, three inches from the ends. Insert each bolt end of the eye bolt assemblies through a half-inch washer and down through the short timbers. Slip on flat washers and attach the screw-on eye.
Hook the swing assemblies to the eyes in the top beam, and it's ready for the kids.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure you don't nullify your home liability insurance by building one of these. Some policies specify no home-built play equipment. It's wise to check your policy. You may have to use a manufactured kit. Lawyers will generally go after a commercial company before they go after the homeowner.
- Always use eye protection when working with power tools.
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