Building a Swing Set / Jungle Gym

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Original poster
Oct 31, 2009
10,300
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Here(-ish)
All,
With our income tax refund this year, myself, the wife, and the father-in-law are planning on building the kiddos (7.5 & 2) a swing set/jungle gym. In the past, grandparents bought the kiddos one of those "cheap" sets for a paltry $500 or so :confused: that was seemingly made of balsa and was just barely worth it. However, we could never get on the thing to swing, play with them, etc.

This year, we're going to get the lumber and build it ourselves. Does anyone have any advice or experience with such an endeavor?
  • Has anyone come across a website that has detailed plans/dimensions that are easily used?
  • I think I'm set on pressure-treated pine (instead of cedar), but wouldn't mind some feedback.
  • Has anyone bought the other bits (brackets, etc.) online and had a good or bad experience?
  • Pretty sure I'll be securing the 4x4's into sono tubes with concrete, but I'd like to get any other tips.
TIA,
Will & Co.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,537
25,262
I know a little bit about building a swing set as my Dad built one for me when I was little.

Around step 3 when you're hammering in the nails, you need to rifle through the paper instructions angrily and change the orientation in frustrated confusion.

27 minutes in, be sure to hurl a tirade of colourful metaphors at inanimate objects and slam a part to the ground.

40 minutes in, you need to realise that you've assembled one part completely incorrectly and need to work backwards from there. Be sure to roar angrily to the heavens at this point.

42 minutes in, grab a cold beer, put your feet up, and snarl at any children who approach you asking "are you done yet?"
 
Last edited:

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Original poster
Oct 31, 2009
10,300
8,165
Here(-ish)
I know a little bit about building a swing set as my Dad built one for me when I was little.

Around step 3 when you're hammering in the nails, you need to rifle through the paper instructions angrily and change the orientation in frustrated confusion.

27 minutes in, be sure to hurl a tirade of colourful metaphors at inanimate objects and hurl a part to the ground.

40 minutes in, you need to realise that you've assembled one part completely incorrectly and need to work backwards from there. Be sure to roar angrily to the heavens at this point.

42 minutes in, grab a cold beer, put your feet up, and snarl at any children who approach you asking "are you done yet?"
Hahaha. Perfect!!!

At what point am I to irrationally yell at my wife for simple suggestions that I’m too prideful to admit that I had overlooked or not considered? Or is that on day 2?
 
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Mousse

macrumors 68020
Apr 7, 2008
2,152
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Flea Bottom, King's Landing
  • Has anyone come across a website that has detailed plans/dimensions that are easily used?
  • I think I'm set on pressure-treated pine (instead of cedar), but wouldn't mind some feedback.
  • Has anyone bought the other bits (brackets, etc.) online and had a good or bad experience?
  • Pretty sure I'll be securing the 4x4's into sono tubes with concrete, but I'd like to get any other tips.
TIA,
Will & Co.
They might have hardware kits at the home centers; everything you need except the lumber. I haven't use the kit my self, but there was an episode of Ask This Old House where Tommy help a home owner setup a play set.

I would definitely go with cedar instead of pressure treated, because it's safer. The jury is still out of the long term safety of copper based preservative, but it's a lot safer than the old arsenic stuff.:eek: I use a lot of PT wood for fences and flowerbeds, but nothing that's gonna be touch a lot. Kids are gonna be all ever the wood, I go with cedar for all the surfaces. I would us PT lumber for the posts and support structure though. Cedar is muy expensive.
 
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keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,537
25,262
Hahaha. Perfect!!!

At what point am I to irrationally yell at my wife for simple suggestions that I’m too prideful to admit that I had overlooked or not considered? Or is that on day 2?
I dunno about day 2; the old man never got further than that. It got to day 62 and we had a rusted stump to play with.

The game my brother and I played was “try not to get tetanus”. Eventually Ma put her foot down and the apocalyptic remains were unearthed and binned. Dad’s face was red — possibly from embarrassment, though just as likely from abusing hard liquor.

“I’ll build you a treehouse instead” was the next broken promise, but that’s a story for another day. :D
 

tobefirst

macrumors 601
Jan 24, 2005
4,085
1,232
St. Louis, MO
I follow a bunch of woodworkers on YouTube. A couple of them have videos on jungle gyms. The best of which is DIY Tyler's. He has two different jungle gyms and both look amazing. I believe he sells plans for his.

 
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willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Original poster
Oct 31, 2009
10,300
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I follow a bunch of woodworkers on YouTube. A couple of them have videos on jungle gyms. The best of which is DIY Tyler's. He has two different jungle gyms and both look amazing. I believe he sells plans for his.

Wow. Those look great and quite possibly above my pay grade/skill level. Thanks for sharing. I’ll look into their plans.

Some aspects would be awesome for my 7.5 yr old daughter, but would just be a big tease when it comes to the 2-year-old boy.
 

Gutwrench

Contributor
Jan 2, 2011
4,455
10,216
I bought and built one from Home Depot many moons ago. It had a slide, two swings, club house, rings, and fireman’s pole. Two buddies and I put it together one afternoon. It definitely wasn’t made from balsa. We tested it out thoroughly more than once and it handled three adult juveniles just fine.

Weekends were made for booze, power tools, and adult kids.
[doublepost=1550063923][/doublepost]the only thing that comes to mind that might be better is booze, trees, and chainsaws.
 

Zenithal

macrumors G3
Sep 10, 2009
9,598
10,709
I work with wood as a hobby but I know next to nothing about playsets. All I know is you'd better use pressure treated wood, specifically one that's bug and worm resistant (chemical) and treated with oil so it doesn't rot.

For kiddos safety, I'd recommend securing as much with lag bolts over nails. If you can't find rust resistant nails, you can coat them in grease, nail them in and use a thumb to glide over the area with grease. It'll attract dust, dirt, pollen, whatever but it'll never rust.
 
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