How To Build A Wood Swing Set

Instructions for building a wood swing set, including a list of materials and tools needed and easy do-it-yourself guide.

Materials and tools:

(4) Metal A-frame brackets for 4" x 4"

(2) Metal angle brackets for 2" x 4"

(4) 1" x 4" x 8' common boards for holding the a-frames during assembly or a couple extra people to help you

(1) 2" x 4" x 12' pressure treated board for a-frame cross member braces

(1) 2" x 4" x 8' pressure treated board

(4) 4" x 4" x 8' pressure treated boards

(1) 4" x 4" x 16' pressure treated board

1 box of Galvanized screws 3 inch

1 box of Galvanized lag bolts 4 inch

1 box of Galvanized eye bolts, washers and nuts 5 inch

1 gallon of redwood paint or varnish

3 plastic swing seats with chains

2 trapeze bars with chains

10' step ladder

Circular saw

Power drill and screwdriver attachment

Speed square

Framing square

Carpenter's level

Line level

Tape measure


Safety glasses, dust mask, work gloves, protective clothing

Since the swing set will be exposed to many different weather changes you will want to make sure the lumber and hardware is pressure treated and galvanized to resist moisture, insect infestation and rotting.

Pressure treated lumber is treated with very strong chemical preservatives so you should wear protective clothing when working with it and paint or varnish it when finished.

The first thing you need to do is select a level area of your yard for the swing set. If you cannot find an area that is level you can use fill dirt or pea gravel to level out the area. You might want to use some pea gravel under the swing set anyway since it will be difficult to mow that area of yard anyway. Once you have found the area you will be putting the swing set it is time to begin construction.

The swing set we will be building is a simple a-frame swing set. You will begin my making the a-frame sides. Using the four 4" x 4" x 8' boards; the 2" x 4" x 12' board and the 2" x 4" x 8' board you will lay out the a-frame shape. You will cut the 2" x 4" x 12' board in half using each half for the lower brace of the a-frame. You will use the 8' board for the top brace and angle braces from the a-frame to the crossbeam. Cut the 8' board in four pieces - two 3' cuts and two 1'cuts. The 3' cuts will be the angle braces from the a-frame to the crossbeam and the 1' cuts will be the top a-frame braces.

Position the 8' 4" x 4" boards in an "╦ťa' shape using the other cut boards and fasten with the lag bolts to secure. The top a-frame brace will go inside the a-frame and the lower brace will go on the outside of the frame. So you will fasten through the lower brace into the upright a-frame supports and fasten through the upright a-frame supports into the top brace. You will not use the angle braces yet.

Once you have this put together you will stand up the a-frames. If you have a couple extra hands then you will not need the brace boards listed in the materials list. Assuming you do not have the help you will stand the frame up and attach one board to the frame with one screw and then go to the other side of the same a-frame and attach another board going in the opposite direction with one screw. Next you will position the a-frame so that it is level and then place another screw in the braces so the a-frame stands on its own. Repeat this process for the other a-frame. Place you're a-frames 9 foot apart. Your crossbeam will extend out on each side by 2 1/2'.

Now you will take your crossbeam, a 4" x 4" x 16' pressure treated board, and raise it up to so that it rests on one of the frames. Now go to the other side and carefully raise the crossbeam so that it will rest on the other a-frame. Using your a-frame brackets attach the crossbeam to the a-frames.

Next you will take the remaining angle braces and position them on opposite sides of the crossbeam angled down to fasten to the top brace of the a-frame. Use the angle brackets to attach the braces. Double check all your fasteners to make sure they are secure.

Now you will fasten your swing and trapeze eye bolts. On each end drill a hole two inches from the end and then another hole 18 inches from there. This will be for the trapeze bars. Next drill a hole on each side of the angle brace six inches from the brace. Drill the other two holes 18 inches in from there. Now measure your distance and drill two more holes 18 inches wide in the center of the other two. This will give you space for three swings and two trapeze bars.

Now put in the eye bolts and hang the swings and trapeze bars. The height will depend upon the age of your children.

You may also want to secure the swing set to the ground using a couple anchor rods sunk into the ground. Always supervise your children while playing.

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