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Daddy build a playground?...

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by jharkin, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    ... That's what the kids have been chanting all weekend.

    My wifes been wanting to get a backyard swingset for the kids all summer, but with a small yard and tight budget its taken a while to find one that worked. Lots of folks around here get sets installed by outfits like Creative Playthings, but even there smaller sets are $$$. We thought about hte Craigslist used route, but most of the ones up for sale are either too big, too beat up, or get spoken for before we can figure out a way to transport it.

    Then I was looking at build it yourself kits. A lot of the inexpensive ones at places like HD had very flimsy looking wood, or where all made in China... And the heavier duty sets had prices to rival the pro installed sets.

    I also looked at the kits from Detailed Play systems which include only the hardware and plastic parts. But doing the math by the time I buy all the lumber the price was going to add up close to a pro set anyway.


    After spending all summer leading lots of review we finally settled on a kit by Gorilla Playsets. Price wise they are about in the middle between the all-China made kits with flimsy mystery wood and the expensive US made pro-installed cedar sets. They claim to be US made of all Cedar... I'd say yes and no. The wood is stained and as best I can tell is cedar (certainly smells like it), the boxes are all labeled like it was boxed and shipped in the US, the hardware and plastic parts are obviously all sourced from China.

    Quality wise I'd rate the kit very good. The wood was all decent quality, fairly straight, and of good size (4x4 uprights, 4x6 swing beam, 5/4 decking). The hardware was one area they cheaped out on a bit - it was only zinc coated, not real exterior duty - but it was all appropriately sized. They used 5/16 bolts and lag screws for the tower assembly and 3/8 carriage bolts and lag screws on the swing parts. The rest of the parts, roofing, decking etc was all put together with 2 and 3" wood screws.

    I did have to do some adjusting to make the windows fit, as they measured the tolerances a bit too tight and a couple of miss drilled factory holes dint leave enough space for the plastic windows to fit. I also substituted the cheap zinc coated wood screws they supplied for real exterior grade screws on the roof and some other exposed and high stress areas like the ladder and deck bracing.

    Time wise, they estimated 6-8 hours to build. Reviews mostly talk about it taking a couple days. I figure it took me , excluding breaks, about 9 hours over a day and a half. I was mostly working alone, but got some help from the Mrs to set and align the swing beam. Having the right tools, especially a good impact driver, really makes things go a lot faster - I can certainly see a typical homeowner with no power tools or carpentry experience taking 2-3 days.


    Overall I really like it and if you are looking for a good swingset for your kids but dont want to shell out a few thousand on a professionally installed set I highly recommend checking out Gorilla.


    IMG_20130830_110840_287.jpg
    woodgeek likes this.

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  2. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    The end of day one... quality control showed up.
    IMG_20130830_160753_955.jpg

    Start of day two. Extra coffee and an ibuprofen chaser to get me started. Trying to finish before the rain...
    IMG_20130831_075645_531.jpg

    IMG_20130831_085217_034.jpg
  3. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Quality control showed up again. He said I needed some more screws on the ladder...

    IMG_20130831_101349_874.jpg


    And we are done!

    IMG_20130831_133052_585.jpg IMG_20130831_133123_673.jpg

    The set comes with two swings and a trapeze bar. The kids are a bit young for that yet so my wife got a couple of bucket swings and a glider from people in her twin mom's club for $40. I just need to find a glider bracket....
    save$ and Backwoods Savage like this.
  4. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Sweet chicken Jeremy! You read my mind..I need to get one of those built too and didn't know how to get it done. I had the same feelings/issues that you did.

    I will look up that company and see if I can find something to keep everyone pleased. I guess the $50 000 brand new playground 1 KM from here doesn't cut it :D

    Andrew
    jharkin likes this.
  5. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Jeremy, I see the stack, but I don't see a stove.
    What gives.:p
    I bet the kids will get a lot of use from that. Good Dad.
    jharkin and Swedishchef like this.
  6. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    The twins look happy. In time you will look back on this and remember it fondly. It will be permanently engrained in their memory as part of their world of growing up. Enjoy them now, they grow like weeds.

    My dad built us a jungle gym and a swing set when we were kids. We also had a sand boat that my mom designed. Get an old wooden leaky flat bottom row boat for cheap, plop it in the yard, fill it with play sand. Done. The seat was nice to stay clean(er) while designing and digging.
    Swedishchef and jharkin like this.
  7. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Ha ha ha. I dont think it passes the 2-3-10 rule ;)


    Funny thing, we have a bunch of leftover shingle from the roof in the garage... I was saying to my wife, you know I could staple some of that up and then glue some veneer brick on the fake chimney, tell the kids its their own little house. She thought I was crazy !!!

    But the kids just love it. The squeals of delight are just priceless. This will save us a lot of car rides around the neighborhood when they get restless :) :)
    Swedishchef and PapaDave like this.
  8. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    Lake Odessa,MI
    Enjoy them Jeremy before they turn into the dreaded teenagers!:)

    Gary

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