Saturday, June 20, 2015

Wood A-frame swing set

Emeline has long adored swinging, but we held off on doing anything about it at home out of fear of mosquitos and total immersion. This year ambition mounted and we went for it.

Of course DIY is the only way when one is dissatisfied with the configuration or robustness of commercial kits. Inspired by plans at The Design Confidential, among others, I drew plans in SketchUp, fretting over the height, angle, hardware, bracing, etc., until I was happy with it and ready to dive in. A weekend sans kids was enough to build it, then another weekend for the corner braces and a lunch break for anchors saw the job through.

We seem to have struck a good balance where they do want to swing every day, but not all day.

  • 4x4x10 treated posts, 18 degree angle front and back
  • 4x6x10 treated beam
  • Final height (ground to bottom of beam): 8' - 8'4"
  • 5/4 x 6 decking A-frame braces
  • 2x6 (treated) corner braces: 45 degree miter one end; 45 miter, about 33 bevel other end. Good luck with that. Glued with Gorilla Glue. I still need to trim the foam-out and probably should have skipped the glue altogether.
  • 1/2" galvanized carriage bolts, 8" and 10" through the beam, 4-1/2" through braces (McMaster has that length, and they end up perfectly flush)
  • 3/8" x 6" galvanized lag bolts and #10 x 2-1/2" galvanized deck screws through corner braces
  • heavy duty swing hangers and swing seats (of the big box stores, only Home Depot carries these)
  • 1/2" x 4' rebar anchors

Tinkerbell puts pixie dust on Emeline (she has another pixie dust bag that is yellow that she normally keeps closed):
Sylvie's drawing of Tinkerbell's friends, including angry-faced Vidia (not normally blue):


  1. Nice! I thought it was a Lowes or Menards set . The girls will get a lot of use out of it. Good job!

  2. Thanks, Pops. The kits come with metal brackets that are very convenient but dictate a 30 degree angle and a wider footprint. I would have enjoyed a kit with my configuration--it would have saved a ton of cutting and drilling.