The Dale Maley Family Web Site

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Small Swing Set

My wife requested I design and build a small wood swing set for our grand-daughter.  I searched the Internet, assuming there would be plenty of patterns to choose from.  I really did not find any that I liked.  I also checked Lowes and Menards to see if they had any kits, I did not find any.

On Amazon, a steel bracket for the upper corners was roughly $40 each, or $80 for a pair, which seems kind of high priced.  Then I decided to check the Google Sketchup Warehouse and see if there were any patterns there. I found this pattern that I liked.


When I downloaded the pattern, I found the gentleman that designed it, used the nominal instead of the actual dimensions of the lumber. So, I redrew the pattern to actual lumber sizes.  You can download my updated design here.

The top beam is a 4x4 inch piece of pressure-treated lumber 72 inches long.  All of the remaining pieces are 2x4 inch pressure-treated lumber.


I like the small size of this swing.  Initially, it will just have 1 swing baby seat.  Later, it could have 2 swings on it, since the beam is 6 feet wide. Our grand-daughter is only 1 year old right now.


Lumber

I went to Lowes in Bloomington to get the lumber.  I got one piece of 4x4 pressure treated 8 foot long.  I got 6 pieces of 2x4 pressure-treated 8 foot long.  I tried to select 2x4's with minimal knots, and straight, for this project.


Process

The 4 legs were the hardest pieces to make. The process I used was:

1. Print out paper pattern full scale from sketchup of top of leg with angles.
2. Glue paper pattern onto top of leg
3. Cut small 20 degree angle on miter saw
4. Cut long taper on band-saw, using roller height support to hold up other end

5. Cut to length with 20 degree taper on bottom on miter saw


I temporarily installed a short piece of 4x4 on the top of 1 side of the swing, so the 2 legs would be in the proper position. I clamped the 2 legs to my table plywood top, to get the right angle, which I determined by measuring the bottom spread of the legs. I used 2.5 inch long deck screws and yellow Tite-Bond glue on all joints.

It took me about 5 hours to make the 2 side assemblies and cut the top to length.


Brackets

I ordered a pair of brackets from Amazon which connect the swing chain to the wood beam on top.  They look heavy duty, and had good customer reviews....


Seat

My wife picked out and ordered the seat from Amazon.  She selected one that works for infants, then later for larger kids.


Too Wobbly Side-to-Side

I assembled the  unit in my garage.  When I first saw this design, I was concerned it would wobble to much side-to-side.  When I tested it in the assembled condition, it did wobble excessively.  I decided to add a 45 degree brace on each side.  This stiffened it up and made it acceptable.


Closing Thoughts

My grand-daughter really liked her new swing, as you can see from the above photo.  This swing is small enough, one can just push up in the center, lift it a few inches, and slide it around the yard. Hopefully, the swing will provide several years of entertainment.


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