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Building a Swingset

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  • Building a Swingset

    I have to put together a wooden swing set for a customer.

    It's $900 Sams club thing. I read the instructions, seems like quite a little project, enough damn pieces anyway.

    It's stained wood but they say you should weather proof it twice a year.

    Guess I could spray it with a clear coat of something when it's finished, coat it all first would probably cause assembly problems. Have to find a real non toxic coating.

    It just sits in the dirt and you put 6 inches of shredded rubber tires around it. Seems like I could put something under the wood to prevent rot where it's sitting on the dirt. Some kind of liner?

    Just wondering if anyone has experience or ideas that would help me out with this project.


    Any info appreciated,
    Thanks

    One time I had a customer who wanted me to help him assemble a shed. I went over there and his shed kit was a pile of lumber and an instruction sheet. Labor was way more than materials for that 'kit'.
    But it came out nice, looked a lot like a shed I would build.

  • #2
    Re: Building a Swingset

    I put my sons Costco swingset together a few years ago. yes, its redwood/cedar and comes pre-finished.

    I levelled out the area and put weed fabric down, then built the swingset on top of it. Filled the area with about 4" of pea gravel. Complete disregard for the wood that touches the ground/is buried by the pea gravel

    I just refinished it last week, and after pushing back the pea gravel some of the wood was moist but not rotten (in fact in those areas the original finish was still intact). I skipped refinishing those areas for now (didnt want to get my brush dirty before finishing off the rest of the swingset) but I do plan on going back and sanding/restaining them like the rest of the set.

    I too questioned what you would do to protect those areas but threw caution to the wind and it seems OK. Its interesting considering the government recommends 6 to 10" of pea gravel base for commercial swingsets, but the swingsets look like they are intended to be built on flat ground with nothing covering those lower braces. I think most of the need for refinishing is actually the wood drying out, not being exposed to moisture. I saw a lot of checking/splintering because I waited too long to refinish (it should have been done before last spring), but in the areas that didnt receive much sun it was actually hard to remove the existing finish.
    Last edited by chrisexv6; 04-16-2010, 03:19 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Building a Swingset

      Originally posted by chrisexv6 View Post
      I too questioned what you would do to protect those areas but threw caution to the wind and it seems OK. Its interesting considering the government recommends 6 to 10" of pea gravel base for commercial swingsets, but the swingsets look like they are intended to be built on flat ground with nothing covering those lower braces.
      Most of the commercial stuff (schools/town playgrounds) I've seen uses wood chips or rubber chips. In New York City, they have rubber mats below the whole thing. The logs in the school/town playgrounds I've seen are also thicker than the ones at Costco.

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      • #4
        Re: Building a Swingset

        Thanks for the info.

        I've got to look where I can buy that shredded rubber.

        Hadn't thought about gravel, they don't bring that up in the instructions, they mention 4 or 5 other choices. Might be a better way to go.

        Yeah, guess if it will last 5 years the kids won't need it anymore anyway. They have a prorated deal where they give you a discount on replacement parts due to rot and it's a 5 year schedule.

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        • #5
          Re: Building a Swingset

          Originally posted by Tacman7 View Post
          Thanks for the info.

          I've got to look where I can buy that shredded rubber.

          Hadn't thought about gravel, they don't bring that up in the instructions, they mention 4 or 5 other choices. Might be a better way to go.

          Yeah, guess if it will last 5 years the kids won't need it anymore anyway. They have a prorated deal where they give you a discount on replacement parts due to rot and it's a 5 year schedule.
          That rubber stuff is EXPENSIVE. Its a great thing if you have a smaller area to fill, but knowing the size of anything from a warehouse club, smaller is not a word that describes it!

          Pea gravel is actually speced around here (CT) for school play sets. It really is very low impact, Ive jumped off my kids swingset onto our ~4" pea gravel base and the impact to your legs is very low. Considering Im about 4 times the weight of a kid that would be on the swingset, even better.

          Its also easier to get and a LOT cheaper I couldnt get a truck right to the swingset though.......had to manually move 11 yards of pea gravel. That was fun!

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          • #6
            Re: Building a Swingset

            Sam's club now offers "rubber mulch". Basically it is tires recycled into garden mulch. Might serve your purposes.

            Go
            Practicing at practical wood working

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            • #7
              Re: Building a Swingset

              Yes I can get the recommended amount of rubber delivered with tax for only $3600+.

              Seems like our swingsets were on asphalt when I was a kid. There's a soft landing.

              Leaning towards wood chips. Started assembling it, it's the erector set I always wanted as a kid.

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              • #8
                Re: Building a Swingset

                Around here, a cubic yard of shredded mulch runs about $30. Like you said, its a lot softer than the asphalt, hard clay, or chat gravel we had as kids at the school playgrounds. If worried about splinters, a cheap tarp cover will solve that.

                Go
                Practicing at practical wood working

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