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What wood to use for swingset

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Forum topic by pete79 posted 04-06-2011 08:17 PM 16510 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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pete79

154 posts in 1893 days


04-06-2011 08:17 PM

I’m building my kids a swingset this weekend and have the plans all figured out, as well as my materials list. I’m just not sure what kind of wood to go get from the lumber yard/mill.

I was thinking I’m between cedar and pressure treated, but I’m curious if there’s something else that I should be looking at? I don’t want to stain/finish the thing very often. I don’t really care too much if it turns gray over time. Cedar seems like the clear choice, but i’m trying to see if there’s something that might be a little less expensive. I’m apprehensive about PT because of the warping/cracking. Any suggestions?

-- Life is a one lap race.


20 replies so far

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1215 posts in 1611 days


#1 posted 04-06-2011 08:25 PM

Cypress would be good if you can get it in your locality.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

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MrsN

943 posts in 2278 days


#2 posted 04-06-2011 08:28 PM

Ours is pressure treated. Cedar was almost double the price when we built it, and was a huge consideration.

-- ----- www.KNWoodworking.com ----- --

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pete79

154 posts in 1893 days


#3 posted 04-06-2011 08:35 PM

MrsN – did you have any problems structurally with warping/twisting/cracking over time?

-- Life is a one lap race.

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MrsN

943 posts in 2278 days


#4 posted 04-06-2011 09:24 PM

It has been fine, it has only been up for a couple of years. We also have a pressure treated deck that has been up for 10+ years with no problems.

-- ----- www.KNWoodworking.com ----- --

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Grandpa

3211 posts in 1428 days


#5 posted 04-07-2011 05:50 AM

I built one in 1999. April to be exact. I laminated some 2×6’s for the cross beam. This twisted as little on mine but not too bad. I haven’t needed to replace it and it is usable. I used the pressure treated lumber of the day. Cedar will be soft and screws probably won’t hold. I had brackets that were made for screws in places. Thos things get a lot of movement and twisting action when the kids get going on it.

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saw4fun

140 posts in 2092 days


#6 posted 04-07-2011 03:57 PM

White oak, Black Locust, and Honeylocust are a few more domestic woods excellent for outdoor applications. No worries with these whether they will hold screws or not!!

-- There is no such thing as scrap wood! Rastus NE www.nativelumber.net

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a1Jim

112936 posts in 2329 days


#7 posted 04-07-2011 05:07 PM

Cedar is to soft I would use pressure treated or just plain doug fir if you keep if painted.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3589 posts in 2713 days


#8 posted 04-07-2011 05:15 PM

Pressure treated will expose the kiddies to all the chems, and the stuff will be really wet at first. You will have to use SS or dip galvanized screws/bolts/nails or the new pt stuff will corrode them.
If you can swing it (get the pun?), use white oak. It will last forever without all the associated problems.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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a1Jim

112936 posts in 2329 days


#9 posted 04-07-2011 05:26 PM

Pete
Unlike the old pressure treated woods that had arsenic in them there’s one chemical used in most pressure treated wood coppersulfate it has been proven safe to use in garden growing and I believe is the same spray they use to spray fruit trees to prevent white fly. If none of that feels good they sell a heat treated wood that has zero chemicals in it to replace standard pressure treated wood. White oak will work for sure but is pretty pricie for a swing set.

Update
it looks like I’m wrong about what’s in pressure treated wood.
Here are the facts
http://www.strongtie.com/productuse/PTWoodFAQs.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_preservation#Heat_treatments

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Jack_T's profile

Jack_T

621 posts in 1783 days


#10 posted 04-07-2011 05:57 PM

If money is not a concern – Ipe.

All the structural members should be bolted with washers on both ends.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View Jeff in Huntersville's profile

Jeff in Huntersville

402 posts in 1947 days


#11 posted 04-07-2011 05:58 PM

I don’t know the age range of your kids. Mine were two years apart and only used the thing for about five years. I’d say the thing is almost disposable. I agree about the pressure treated toxicity. If your kids are going to rub up against it or chew on it (don’t laugh they do) then I’d go for cypress or cedar.

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bubinga

861 posts in 1420 days


#12 posted 04-07-2011 06:53 PM

Maybe redwood

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View edvan22's profile

edvan22

2 posts in 1359 days


#13 posted 04-07-2011 07:07 PM

Pete,

I built one 2 summers ago using pressure treated. The warping/cracking has been really disappointing. (Big box lumber seems to want to warp around a corner.) Nothing structural but it introduced rough edges/splinters, etc… I added onto the set last summer and built some benches for a community group and used a product called Rain Coat which can be applied to wet pressure treated lumber and it claims to “slow the drying process” which helps minimize warping and cracking (It’s a fairly clear stain). I figured I had nothing to lose and am surprised to see that so far, everything seems to be crack free 8 months later. I’m waiting to see how it handles the direct summer sun before I give it any kind of recommendation.

I also used composite decking on the horizontal surfaces to minimize splinters while crawling etc… I’d carefully consider the PT route if I did it again.

Ed

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CptWingnut

34 posts in 1421 days


#14 posted 04-07-2011 07:22 PM

My vote is for pressure treated, thanks for the info about modern pressure treatment. Besides I grew up playing on a swingset I think was made out of old split telephone poles (don’t ask me how they split em’), and besides how else are they going to get their daily serving of creosote.

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airamb

35 posts in 1363 days


#15 posted 04-08-2011 12:53 AM

Pete
Because your in Michigan you should be able to find some white oak hemlock or black locust which I beleive some one above posted. Just have to be careful with the hemlock, get it smooth you don’t wont a hemlock sliver there seems to be something in hemlock that makes slivers angry.

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