Monkey bars have long been the plaything of children across the Unites States. They afford a fun way to engage kids in activities and let their imaginations go free while playing. While prefabricated sets are available for a price, creating a set of monkey bars requires only a few days and some tools and supplies to complete. Lumber, concrete mix and metal poles are available at most home improvement and hardware stores.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 2, 12-foot treated 4-by-4 boards
- Tape measure
- 1-inch wood-boring drill bit
- Power drill
- Epoxy glue
- 11 aluminium pipes, 30 inches long, 1-inch diameter
- Scrap wood
- 5/8-inch drill bit
- Spray paint
- Wooden stakes
- Table saw
- Dry concrete mix
- Measuring cup
- 10-inch-diameter bolts
- 5/8-inch-diameter bolts
- 5/8-inch washers and nuts
- Adjustable wrench
Lay two 12-foot pieces of treated 4-inch-by-4-inch lumber on sawhorses. Measure 6 inches from one end of a board with a tape measure and make a pencil mark at the centre of the board. Measure every 12-inch point and make a mark until you are 6 inches from the other end. Repeat the measurements and markings on the second board.
Place a 1-inch wood-boring bit in a power drill and create a 2-inch-deep hole in the face of each board at the locations of the pencil marks.
Smear epoxy glue generously around the inside of all the 2-inch-deep holes in one of the boards. Insert an end of a 1-inch aluminium pipe into each of the holes. They are snug, so place a small piece of scrap wood over the other end of the pipe and gently hammer it down into the hole. Repeat this step for the other 10 holes.
Fill the holes in the second board with epoxy glue and position the first piece of lumber so the poles align with the holes. Have an assistant ensure alignment and then place the wood block over the top of the board and hammer the open ends of the poles into the second set of holes. Let the glue dry for approximately 12 hours.
Lower the new construction onto the sawhorses and locate the outside edges of both posts. Measure 2 inches in from the edge and place a mark at the centre of the board. Repeat this for the outside ends of both of the boards. Drill 5/8-inch-diameter holes through each of the boards at the marked positions.
Leave a spray paint mark on the ground and then measure 12-feet away and make a second mark. Hammer a wooden stake into the ground at the centre of each mark and run a string line between them. Measure 34 inches to the side of the first mark and put another mark on the ground. Check that this new mark is exactly parallel to the first. Hammer another stake into the new mark and run a string line that matches the other line. Measure 34-inches from that mark, check the angle for square between the two spots and place the stake in the ground. Add a final spray mark on the ground and then remove the stakes.
Use a shovel to create 1-foot-deep and 1-foot-diameter holes in the ground. Cut 1 foot off the end of each of the four posts with a table saw. Measure down 2 inches from the top of each boards and make a mark on one face. Drill 5/8-inch-diameter holes through the marks.
Set one post in a hole so that the drilled holes face the location for the 34-inch-distant opposing post. Hold the board in place and check if it's level. Pour dry concrete mix into the hole to a depth 1 inch below the surface. Repeat this step with all of the holes in the ground. Pour 1 cup of water into each of the holes, just enough to dampen the top of the dry concrete, and then let the posts harden in the ground for 24 hours. They will pull more moisture from the surrounding soil to harden.
Raise the ladder-like assembly to the top of the 4 posts and insert 10-inch-long, 5/8-inch-diameter bolts through the sides of the joined boards from the inside to the out. Include washers on both ends of the bolt and then finger-tighten nuts to the bolts. Tighten the bolts securely with an adjustable wrench on all four posts.
Tips and warnings
- Drill additional mounting holes after the monkey bars are constructed and add more bolts at each connection to make it more secure, if so desired.
- Have an assistant help with the installation.
- Wear safety glasses when drilling and cutting the wood.
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- "The Backyard Playground: Recreational Landscapes & Play Structures"; The editors of Creative Publishing international; 2003