Seesaw Fun: How To Make a Seesaw

Have a couple of kids? Or just the kid in you is still alive? Seesaw is a special swing set that can only be used by two kids at a time – no more, no less. I remember we had some of these in the kindergarden. They were built of steel pipes and had a plastic seat over the main metal pipe. This was really robust. If you want to build a seesaw yourself it’s unlikely you’ll be able to work easily with such steel pipes. So, you may prefer to build one out of wood. Here is how:

Seesaw at Evelle

The design I’m giving below is very similar seesaw on the picture above. But we’ll use a regular flat beam because it’s easier to find such one. But first here is materials list along with their approximate costs.

Materials

  • One 4″ x 6″ 14ft (4 m) long beam. Approx. cost $50 – $150. This is the most costly item. It is the main and most important part of your seesaw.
  • One 3″ x 4″ 10ft beam – hopefully you can find one for under $50. It can be even shorter as you’ll use it only for the holders.
  • One 10″ x 8″ steel plate – 4mm thick. This may be available for less than $10 at a local hardware store.
  • One black steel pipe 1/2″ or 3/4″ like this – $12 or so.
  • A hinge or curved metal plate that will help attaching the spike to the plank and all this to the beam – will cost a buck or two.
  • 3 ft wooden plank or something similar for the seats – $3-$4.
  • A couple of used tears or anything else that can go under the seesaw ends to prevent hitting the ground directly.
  • Nails, screws, varnish, paint
Seesaw plan

Click on the plan image to see the legend and more details

Building Steps

  1. Cut 8ft / 2.5 m piece out of the 4″ x 6″ beam. This will be the main part of the seesaw.
  2. The rest will be cut on two equal parts and used to anchor the seesaw to the ground. You should be left with two pieces of about 3ft each.
  3. Dig 15″ deep holes in the ground. The vertical supports from the previous step will go here. If the ground is soft you may have to pout concrete and/or gravel. The two holes should be about 12″ apart. A bit more is OK, less is not. Make them stand up equally from the ground.
  4. This construction will hold the entire weight of the seesaw so it must be really stable. If the two pieces of the beam are unstable you should fix them with angular steel plates or lay out an entire concrete foundation under them. See more info on anchoring swings.
  5. Measure 4ft from the center, on each side, dig holes and place the used tires there in the ground.
  6. Drill holes in the vertical support beams large enough to put the steel pipe inside.
  7. Before putting the pipe find the middle of the main seesaw beam and attach the steel plan there. Then on top of it install the curved plate or hinge using screws.
  8. Now insert the pipe so it connects the three parts – the left beam, the main seesaw beam, and the right beam. The pipe should go through the opening in the hinge/curved plate.
  9. Now (or this can be done before) you can attach the holders and seats on both ends of the seesaw.
  10. Painting and finishing can be done at the end. Painting is not required but some water-resistant finish will be good so your wooden seesaw can last longer.

Done? Wait a day or two for the varnish to dry and you can use the seesaw.

Here is the plan also in PDF format. You can download and print it on paper.

Anything unclear? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to explain.

Better ideas? Share them in the comments.

 

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