Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summer Fun: Old-Fashioned Tree Swing

There are few things that can evoke images of summers long past like a tree swing. The super-long ropes give tree swings a long, smooth arc that gives you the sensation of flying.

My kids decided they wanted a tree swing and we made it in one day! (That's quite a feat for us--my husband and I can stretch a home-improvement project out for months, years even. We're pros at that.)

My husband cut a 1x8 plank of wood we had in the basement into two 2-foot lengths. I glued the two pieces together (using clamps to hold them tight) and drilled holes at either end. I painted the wood a bright yellow using leftover paint.

While that dried, we got the lengths of rope into the tree. We tied twine to a sock with a tennis ball inside and threw the sock-ball over a somewhat horizontal branch.

Then we tied the rope to the twine and pulled the rope over the branch. We kept pulling until we brought the rope all the way back to ourselves and untied the twine.

We only wanted a single length of rope on each side of the swing, so I tied the rope onto a steel ring that we had gotten at the hardware store (get one that holds more than 100 pounds). I used some crazy knot I know by heart, but don't know the name of (bowline? double sheet bend?). I cut the other end of the rope and threaded it through the ring and pulled the rope to fasten it around the branch.

I'm hoping that this doesn't "choke" the branch. If no weight is on the swing, there is almost no pressure on the branch, so as it grows, the ring/rope-loop will simply widen with the branch.

Then we threaded the rope through the hole drilled into seat and did the crazy knot again. We did this whole routine to the other side, and within a few hours, we had a fabulous tree swing. My kids LOVE this swing and have played on it almost every day so far this summer.

A closeup of the ring-loop

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