This week we got to put together one of the most fun projects to date, so put down your tools, it’s time for a Maker break! With Rob and his family living on a piece of property that has countless 90ft tress and no tire swing, we felt like it was time to fix that.
So As I just said, I can’t remember what got me on this swing kick, but once I thought of it, it was gonna happen. I immediately took my daughter out back, and we found the perfect tree. After that, it was time to build a swing!
The first challenge was getting the rope into the tree. We closely followed an instructional video by a guy named Chris Notap. He suggested a ⅝” rope, so that’s what we went with. We found this black polypropylene rope at Home Depot, that almost doesn’t stretch at all, which is what you want. Per Chris’ suggestion, we also grabbed a bicycle inner tube, a 27” one, and slid the rope inside. That will help protect the tree.
After we had that on, I had to tie it into a large loop. This is where I learned about knots! Specifically, I used a Bowline knot which is easy to do, but super strong. Essentially you make a tree next to a hole, then a rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree, and goes back in the hole, and your knot is done. Easy right?
After that, I taped up the rest of the rope. Next I had to get the rope 24’ into the tree. To do that I took some lighter string, tied it to a 2lb weight, and threw it 20 times. Eventually, I got it through the branches I wanted. I had to cut a few branches further down for this to work, and that was easy to do with our HART pole saw, and a huge ladder. Be careful on ladders kids.
Once I had it through, I tied the light rope to my heavy one, and I slid the draw rope into the loop we made, and pulled it up the tree. This made the loop go up to the branch, and as I pulled on it, it tightened into place. Super easy.
Next I made a simple loop in the rope about 6’ off the ground, which is where the three ropes will come together. I grabbed a second piece of rope, pulled it through the loose loop and then tied a figure 8 loop at the end of it. As I mentioned previously, this rope was pretty soft and slippery.
This loose loop on the rope, eventually slid down a bit when I got on the swing. Yeah, this is not for adults but I wanted to test the extreme. So I plan to try some more secure knots to keep the knot up there permanently. I’ll let you know how that goes, on our Instagram channel.
Then it was on to the tire. I found 3 equally spaced spots on the sidewall with a tape measure, and used a spade bit to cut out three ⅝” holes. This was incredibly easy to do.
Next I pushed the rope into the holes, and grabbed my hardware to lock it up.
We first slid on a pair of oversized washers, and then used a rope lock to hold it in place. After that, we just did the other 2 ropes, carefully adjusting them until the tire was level. And that was it. Then it was time to give it a test swing.
It was obviously a little low once the rope settled, so I just readjusted it later to a more reasonable height. But yeah, as it turns out, having 24’ of rope over your head makes for a much slower, smoother, and more relaxed swing. And the kids love it.