All Fall Down

By , August 19, 2013

While Michelle’s new garden swing (see Swingin’!) has provided many pleasant moments this last summer, it has had some trouble.

After a group of friends swung on it a few weeks ago, it canted off its proper angle. I solved that easily enough: I removed the rubber hose chafing gear and looped each line in a simple friction knot. After that, the weight of the swingers held the lines in their proper place, preventing the swing from slipping either forward or backward.

Last weekend, Aly invited a handful of friends to the “homestead” for a visit before they returned to school. She and two others sat on the swing for a bit. I specifically designed the swing to accommodate three people, specifically the three of us; apparently, though, when I chose the crossbeam, I chose poorly. After swinging gently for a few moments, the kids got dumped unceremoniously on the ground when the crossbeam broke in two places!

The broken swing (Photo: Mar A. Zeiger).

The broken swing (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Michelle discovered them moments later, and said she would have given anything to have a camera ready, to memorialize the trio as they stood staring forlornly at the swing. They were mortified—they’re all the finest of young people, very conscientious, never the type to get into any destructive mischief. We were just relieved that none of them were hurt!

I’ll need to repair the swing, as the front slat broke. That may prove to be an opportunity. Since I built it alone, I only had myself to measure the bench length. Michelle and Aly both expressed interest in a shortened bench. I may have to modify the design when I make the repair.

As for the beam, I should have known better. I used a single 2X4 that had served us in a variety of ways since long before we came to the homestead. The next beam will be at least a pair of 2X4s bolted together to carry more weight. If the old one couldn’t hold Aly and her two friends, there’s no way it would have held the family. The new one will be much stronger.

I’ve set a goal to repair the swing and get it rehung before my aunt and uncle arrive on a cruise ship next week. As a focal point of comfort and gentility on our homestead, I can’t have it out of action for such an important visit!

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