42 Replies Latest reply on Oct 11, 2018 6:42 AM by Chad Huleatt

    Wooden Climbing Frame

    Chad Huleatt

      Hi All,

       

      Some of the guys where I work are getting together to build a climbing frame for the local daycare, sort of like the picture below. Great weekend project....

       

      I'm trying to model it and need ideas for best ways to make timber joints (I'm not much of a carpenter)

       

      Anyone have any models of climbing frames or similar structures? I'm mainly interested in how you jointed the posts/ beams.

       

      We will be using 4 x 4 posts, 6 x 2 joists.

       

        • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
          Dave Bear

          Hi Chad,

          Here's just some quick graphics to give you an idea of what sort of joints you should create. The size of your timber and any angles will also obviously define cut-outs.........

           

          V - joint.JPG

           

          STD post.JPG

           

          These are standard carpentry joints and galvanised bolts should be used. If the cuts are accurate you be surprised at just how strong these joints are. I wasn't sure exactly how much information you needed Chad, and I know you're a smart bloke so I didn't want to come across as sounding like you don't know anything, but if there is something more detailed or anything else you want to know, please shout out.

           

          Measure twice, cut once.

          Fingers out of the way at all times......

          Screwing into end grain is generally a waste of time !

           

          Dave.

            • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
              Jim Sculley

              If you don't want to notch the posts, you can use these:

              Also, I would highly recommend that you check with your local permitting/inspection office to make sure nothing you are planning requires their services.  Last thing you want ruining your weekend is a nosy neighbor or passing inspector.

              • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                Chad Huleatt

                Thanks Mate!

                 

                Some sage advice from an old timer at the end of your post...Dave Bear

                 

                I used to make a lot of stuff out of wood with my dad, he taught me similar. Now I usually use alu.

                 

                What Aussie timber would you use?

                  • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                    Dave Bear

                    Hi Chad,

                    As far as selection of timber it really depends on a few things. What environment it's going to be in, how much you want to spend and how much time you want to spend maintaining it. Your good CCA treated pine is going to last ages in really rural conditions and will be the lowest of cost and maintenance. You just might have to treat (tar) any post that goes into the ground. Obviously other timbers like any of your exotics are going to look the best but be far more expensive and are going to need a regular clean and protective coating in our harsh climate.

                     

                    Basically, I would just stick with CCA mate as it can be painted also (kids love colour).

                     

                    Dave.

                      • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                        Chad Huleatt

                        I hear ya, Dave Bear, but I love a nice hardwood. Might see if I can get Merbau past the budget committee..

                         

                        Strewth, kids love colour, but I like natural wood (with stain as required)

                         

                        Cheers for the bolt stuff - yeah, you gotta use cup heads/ carriage bolts unless you counter bore. I'm planning on using lag bolts for most of it, so we'll have to counter bore.

                        I noticed that most playgrounds use fancy plastic covers for the bolt heads, but I don't like...

                          • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                            Dave Bear

                            Chad Huleatt wrote:

                             

                            . Might see if I can get Merbau past the budget committee..

                             

                             

                             

                            If that's the case then can I recommend that you also suss out "Sikkens" wood coatings as you will definitely need to protect the timber. Sikkens is a little more expensive than some others but I've used it and it's well worth the money. (No I don't have shares). Not only is it a protection but it brings out the natural colours and grain.

                             

                            Dave.

                    • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                      Rubén Rodolfo Balderrama

                      Use welded structure with your custom profiles, it will be easy to you to design it

                      • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                        Glenn Schroeder

                        I don't know if you're familiar with working with weldments, but I'd like to suggest using the Structural Member function to model this.  I've attached the profile sketches for 4x4's and 2x6's if you'd like to use them.

                        • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                          Rubén Rodolfo Balderrama

                          Here I got a new one....when I have it done, I will send you the complete projet.

                            • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                              Matt Peneguy

                              Looks like it is coming along well.  One thing I'll point out is that it may be good to change the gap to under 4" between the slats.  The ADA has a code requirement that requires it to prevent a kid getting their head through.  May as well meet that.  And I like how you reduced the gap here:

                              But you may want to also put some slats here to prevent a kid from climbing through and onto the swing support.

                                • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                  Rubén Rodolfo Balderrama

                                  Yup yup you're shure....I don't working on detailing now,  I want to have the complete idea and then after make the complete detailing to finishing, hey budy this work is for kiddo, did you want join to this challenge? It's for free.

                                  I got this one now....

                                    • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                      Matt Peneguy

                                      I'm not sure I have time at the moment.  But, it looks like it is coming along real well.  Weldments makes stuff like this sooo much easier.

                                      Having built a chicken coup pretty much by myself.  I found a huge value in constructing the walls flat on the ground then hoisting them into place and tying them together.  Sounds like they are going to have a whole crew, but if not, maybe making the front and back structures flat, then moving them into place would be of value?

                                        • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                          Rubén Rodolfo Balderrama

                                          Yup this is true, I use 4x4 inch section to the columns and other dimensions I will show how wich kind of sections I use to this one, it isn't finished is only a draft...dimensions are in milimeteres

                                            • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                              Chad Huleatt

                                              Rubén Rodolfo Balderrama, thanks a lot!

                                               

                                              Sorry for delay in reply, I live in Australia and we're about 15 hours ahead (assume you live in USA?)

                                               

                                              My design includes 2 platforms next to each other. Lower platform approx. 1200mm high, upper platform 1650 high.

                                               

                                              Lower platform will have ladder, slide, ramp. Upper platform will  have [3] sides enclosed, with steering wheel, mounted binos etc.

                                               

                                              I'll probably make the roof out of weathertex (a type of textured cement board that stands up well to harsh Australian conditions)

                                               

                                              I'm planning on designing it myself, but your work will be very useful to me, as I can look at how you made your joints.

                                            • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                              Chad Huleatt

                                              Matt Peneguy wrote:

                                               

                                              I'm not sure I have time at the moment. But, it looks like it is coming along real well. Weldments makes stuff like this sooo much easier.

                                              Having built a chicken coup pretty much by myself. I found a huge value in constructing the walls flat on the ground then hoisting them into place and tying them together. Sounds like they are going to have a whole crew, but if not, maybe making the front and back structures flat, then moving them into place would be of value?

                                               

                                              Good point, Matt Peneguy,

                                               

                                              I'm planning on constructing in/ near our workshop, as we have good facilities. I'll make steel "shoes" for each timber post, with welded base plate which we can chemset/ mechanical anchor onto some concrete piers. We have fork lift access to the site, and it's only a short distance from our workshop, So I'm hoping the install will be a cinch.

                                               

                                              However I'll still do similar to what you suggest - our climbing frame will have two adjoining platforms, so [6] posts, which we can assemble in pairs.

                                               

                                              I mostly work with welded alu. structures, so I don't have to think about joints. I like how the joints in your image above are very simple - you just put the railings on the outside - is the image above from Rubén Rodolfo Balderrama ?

                                      • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                        Kevin Chandler

                                        Here's my expert advice: ask Rob Edwards

                                          • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                            Chad Huleatt

                                            OK, Rob Edwards, I just checked out your website. Jaw drop.

                                             

                                            We have some capable carpenters around, not quite on that level....

                                             

                                            Any suggestions for how to join the 4 inch posts to the 2 x 6 joists - I want an elegant joint, nice but not show off if you know what I mean.

                                             

                                            Even just photos of joints, or link to useful site would be appreciated.

                                              • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                                Dave Bear

                                                Chad Huleatt wrote:

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                Any suggestions for how to join the 4 inch posts to the 2 x 6 joists - I want an elegant joint, nice but not show off if you know what I mean.

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                Shoulder the 2x6 into the posts like I've shown far above Chad. You can also slot them into the centre if preferred. Any horizontal beams should also be notched into posts as this will give added strength if the joints are cut neatly and tight.

                                                 

                                                Just one other note as I think about your venture. When you come to selecting your hardware keep in mind that this is for children right so you might want to use cuphead sq shank galv bolts with dome nuts so that there are no protruding sharps anywhere...... You probably know this but the square shank will stop the bolt spinning as it tightens into the timber.

                                                cuphead.jpg

                                                 

                                                Dave.

                                                • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                                  Rob Edwards

                                                  Hi Chad

                                                   

                                                  If you've got some carpenters involved with the project, it's probably better to run it by them.  People are most often happiest working in their own way.

                                                   

                                                  My advice would hinge on various factors, the materials, the budget (money and time) and skills/tools available.

                                                   

                                                  For external work care should also be taken to avoid joints that will soak in water and lead to rot. edit maybe not in the outback!

                                                  For example a basic lap joints strength can greatly be improved by a small housing, but this may be at the expense of durability.

                                                   

                                                  The A-Frame looks very similar to the design we use for our saw horses (model attached)

                                                  They are very strong.  I have a double size version made from some reclaimed pine joists  It has been loaded with over 1000kg without a whimper.

                                                   

                                                  How they get fixed together, depends who makes them, but here are nails (dovetailed, like the roots on a tooth), screws and bolts

                                                  I think for the fixings, bolts may be best up here.  If the joints were to loosen, through swelling or just too much swinging, then they could be nipped up.  Screws or nails, having to contend with repeated movement could work loose.

                                                   

                                                  For inspiration from the true masters of this art you probably want to look at the French Style French Trestles - Treteaux

                                                   

                                                  I'm guessing you want to make this quick, so I would just use as many lap joints as you can.

                                                  Maybe Pallets are a good thing to copy (or even use)

                                                   

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  But if you have access to a mortiser then a few Pegged Mortise and Tenon Joints would look great.

                                                   

                                                  Here I also added a cap and some chamfers

                                                   

                                                  The secret is to drill the hole for the peg in the mortise before inserting the tenon.  The hole for the tenon is merely marked.  The tenon is removed and the hole is drilled closer to the shoulder.

                                                   

                                                  When a tapered peg (think carrot shaped) is driven in the joint is pulled exceedingly tight.

                                                  This technique is called Draw-Bore.

                                                   

                                                  If this is for kids I really would try and make it as good as you can..  we want to inspire our future generations hey?

                                                   

                                                  How about a shingle roof, or even a green roof?  ...like our dust extractor shed. (we can pick winberries in the summer)

                                                   

                                                  To avoid things looking too square add a few curves or natural wood

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  Even a simple corbel greatly improves things

                                                   

                                                  All the best, looks like a fun project

                                                   

                                                  edit:  couldn't resist adding these upcycled tyre ideas

                                                    • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                                      Chad Huleatt

                                                      Wow, Rob Edwards, thanks a lot!

                                                       

                                                      I love that curved roof, I think I'll incorporate it, provided by carpenter agrees. Earlier on I was tempted by the mortise idea, but decided not to for simplicity.

                                                       

                                                      I'll also modify the posts to shed water, like you showed.

                                                       

                                                      Below are a couple pics of where my design is now - I still need to do the swing support, I'll copy your saw horse for that.

                                                       

                                                      The ramp will have rope railings, I may need to decrease the angle. (The side with nothing on it will get a plastic slide, I just don't have a model)

                                                       

                                                      Thanks everyone for all the help on this - some of the comments prompted me to look up guidelines on finger/ wrist entrapment. Glad I did as some of my gaps were the wrong size (Local guidelines - gaps must be less than 6mm or more than 25mm to prevent finger trapping, less than 35mm or more than 70mm to prevent limb trapping, head trapping is more complicated...)

                                                       

                                                      Like the up cycled tyres. My kids love playing on a large (2m), vertical tractor wheel partially buried in the ground. Simple but fun.

                                                       

                                                        • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                                          Dave Bear

                                                          Hi Chad,

                                                          Chad Huleatt wrote:

                                                           

                                                          Wow, Rob Edwards, thanks a lot!

                                                           

                                                          I love that curved roof, I think I'll incorporate it, provided by carpenter agrees. Earlier on I was tempted by the mortise idea, but decided not to for simplicity.

                                                           

                                                          I'll also modify the posts to shed water, like you showed.

                                                           

                                                          Below are a couple pics of where my design is now - I still need to do the swing support, I'll copy your saw horse for that.

                                                           

                                                          The ramp will have rope railings, I may need to decrease the angle. (The side with nothing on it will get a plastic slide, I just don't have a model)

                                                           

                                                          Thanks everyone for all the help on this - some of the comments prompted me to look up guidelines on finger/ wrist entrapment. Glad I did as some of my gaps were the wrong size (Local guidelines - gaps must be less than 6mm or more than 25mm to prevent finger trapping, less than 35mm or more than 70mm to prevent limb trapping, head trapping is more complicated...)

                                                           

                                                          Like the up cycled tyres. My kids love playing on a large (2m), vertical tractor wheel partially buried in the ground. Simple but fun.

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          That's looking great!

                                                          Only since you've mentioned it, be aware that there is also likely to be a guideline for the spacing between bearers underneath decking (dependant on decking size) and also on a guideline for the gradient of ramps and steps. Don't mean to sound like a killjoy, but just saying..................

                                                           

                                                          Dave.

                                                        • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                                          Matt Peneguy

                                                          That has got to be the strongest sawhorse I've ever seen.  If I ever need to build any, it is good to know how to do it right.  Thanks for posting it.

                                                    • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                                      Rubén Rodolfo Balderrama

                                                      Use this one to protect hands of kiddos

                                                      • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                                        Dave Bear

                                                        Hi Chad,

                                                         

                                                        Any movement on this project yet?

                                                         

                                                        Dave.

                                                        • Re: Wooden Climbing Frame
                                                          Rubén Rodolfo Balderrama

                                                          Hi Chad Huleatt any news on this project buddy?