How I Built My Own Backyard Swing Set – Part 2

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If you found this page via search engine, you may want to read the Part 1 article first.

Once you have the necessary parts and tools lined up as mentioned in the Part 1 article, article, constructing a free standing swing set is a fairly straightforward process, requiring minimal amount of cutting.

All tasks outlined in this post took me about 5 hours so let’s get started.

CONSTRUCTION STEPS

STEP 1 – Standard edges on a 4 x 4 and 4 x 6 lumber are rather sharp and prone to splintering (not good with kids). To minimize this injury risk, I am going to round off the edges using my 1/2″ radius bit on my router. To make it easiery on my back, I am going to place the lumber on my sawhorses first. Here are some pictures of my rounded 4 x 6 (main beam):

Here some picture of my rounded 4 x 4:

Please note that 4 x 6 edging has a slightly fancier look than my 4 x 4 edging. That look can be achieved by controlling the depth of my router bit. If you have never used a router before, it might be a good idea to practice with your router bid on some scrap pieces of wood;

Lastly, this rounding off process generates lots of saw dust and wood chips from pressure treated wood. so you may want to cover the work area with a large tarp to collect and properly dispose the waste product.

STEP 2 – With 4x4s rounded, I begin the assembly by laying down two, 10ft 4x4s sandwiching a 12 ft long 4×6 main beam and measure with my Swanson Speed Square to measure 15 degree angle.

STEP 3 – Using my 12″ drill bit, I bore holes through two support beams with the main beam sandwiched in the middle. I used my Milwaukee 3/4″ spade bit to countersink the hole on on side of the support beam so that the bolt head will be flush with the surface.

STEP 4 – Using a mallet (or hammer), I first tap in my galvanized bolt and secure it with a washer and bolt on the other side. If, for whatever reason, you need to back out this bolt, make sure to thread on a nut so that you are hitting the nut. Otherwise, if you hammer directly on the bolt, you will ruin the thread.

STEP 5 – At this point, the entire left side of the assembly (four, 4 x 4 x 10s and one, 4 x 6 x 12) weighs about 190 pounds (and bulky) so I want to raise it into final position before adding any more wood. Although I ended up raising it myself, you may want to consider getting some help because the structure is rather large and unyielding for one person.

STEP 6 – With left support side flat on the ground, attach two, 2 x 4 x 10s to the middle of the main beam with three or four 3″ Deckmate screws. Do not drive in the screws all the way because you want these 2x4s loose enough to “walk in” with you (sort of like scissors).

STEP 7 – From the right, lift the main beam about 3 feet which will draw in the temporary support legs underneath the main beam. Gradually lift and push towards the left support side until the main beam is approximately level. Depending on your height, you may need a step stool to reach the proper height.

STEP 8 – Once the main beam is level, you should make sure that the temporary support legs are angled, both to the right and from the center, forming a trapezoid shape to ensure stability.
The left vertical supports should also be the same way.

STEP 9 -Cut two 4 x 4s to 86″ in length with a 30 degree angle and tack them on temporarily with 3″ Deckmate screws

STEP 10 – I used my 3/4″ spade bit again to counter sink the 8″ bolt heads and washer/nut, then used a hacksaw to cutoff the excess bolt (must cutoff before installing a bolt on the other side);

STEP 11 – Place a temporary bracket to cover all three vertical support piece then screw them down with Deckmate screws.

STEP 12 – Secure the base of the triangle to vertical support pieces using my Simpson-Strong 3″ structural screws.

STEP 13 – With the right side almost complete, I repeat steps # 10-12 for the left side.

STEP 14 – At this point, we have not tightened up the bolts that secure the main beam to side vertical supports to make sure that the main beam is level. If it is not level, we can make a small, incremental side-to-side horizontal movements to correct it.

STEP 15 – With both side supports in place, I can now fit the final locking piece and tighten up all bolts. This locking piece is critical since it prevents the swing set from racking side-to-side. To install, cut one end with a 45 degree angle on a scrap piece of 4×4 then placed it into between two side support braces. Mark off the excess part with a pencil, remove the piece, then cut it off using a circular saw. This locking is held into place by a 12″ vertical bolt as well as an 8″ horizontal bolts.

NEXT STEPS

With the structure now fully assembled and in place, I can begin attaching the swing set accessories. Head on over to the article for more information.

 
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Thanks and good luck!

 

5 thoughts on “How I Built My Own Backyard Swing Set – Part 2”

  1. in the part 2 , step 10, fitting the final locking piece , what is the details that you found to work the best ? I am a bit confused as to correctly complete the final locking piece?

  2. @ Hi Dominic-

    I used a scrap 4×4 and cut one end off with a 45 degree angle; I placed it into place and remove the excess part. It is held into place by a long vertical and horizontal bolts.

    Hope this helps and send us a picture when you are done with your project!

    Kevin

  3. This looks like an awesome plan. I’ve got the lumber, hardware and tools to get started, but now realize that your Part 2 description is light on specifics. For example, in step 3 how much of the 4x4s should extend above the cross beam? And how much of the cross beam should extend beyond the 4x4s? And since they are both angled, do you measure the long dimension or the short?
    This is only the first cut or drill step I’ve encountered; I fear what other unknowns lie ahead.
    If you have more detailed instructions they would be most welcome.

  4. @ Hi Rich-

    Thanks for the comment. Yeah, the second part was outlined as detailed as others due to my webhost being slow.

    Other people have emailed me with similar questions so I started writing an ebook with more detailed steps. Can you hang tight for about a week or so?

    Kevin

  5. Hi Rich,

    I am just wondering if that ebook you mentioned has ever been written and/or published? If so, where can I find it, please?
    Thank you for your reply in advance!
    Best, Laszlo

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