Sunday, October 5, 2014

Birthday See-Saw!

For our younger daughter's 4th birthday, I decided to build a see saw using Ana White's plans. She said it was a super quick build - only took her 45 minutes! I'll say it took me a few of hours a tad bit longer than that. But it was only a month after my first build, and I'm no expert carpenter! :)

This project taught me a lot about keeping my pieces level while I'm working, which also means that building on the floor of the garage isn't a great plan. Of course, I learned this by trial and error, so there was a fair amount of doing and redoing involved in this project. Wood filler is a beautiful thing! (And building a work bench was added to the TO DO list!) Also of note if you plan to build this, locking washers on the outsides of the bolt are necessary so that the nuts don't loosen over time. Learned that one from experience too!

Thinking back on this project, I have to say something about buying the materials. I needed a 10" bolt and wasn't finding one. An employee told me they didn't stock them in that size, but she showed me where they had threaded metal rods, which are basically the same thing for my purpose here, but she said, "oh, shoot, it looks like the smallest we have is 20" and that will be way too long for what you need." Fortunately, my awesome in-laws had just bought me a chop saw for my birthday so I said, "That's ok, I have a chop saw." A man shopping in the aisle said, "YOU have a chop saw?" in a tone that told me he seriously doubted I did. It was so satisfying to be able to say "yes, actually" and rattle off the name of it (as if I had any idea what I was talking about, which I actually didn't at the time, but we'll just keep that between us!) This was not the first or last time my knowledge or abilities were questioned in the hardware store and it can be pretty annoying, but it's also very empowering to be able to show that I actually do know what I'm talking about, and that one can actually use power tools and be female at the same time! Hell yes!

But I digress...

Once I had built the base of the see saw and had cut the other pieces, I painted everything before assembling the rest. The way the 2x4s are positioned, I knew painting between them would be a pain. This way, I just had touch-up painting to do over the screw holes once it was all together.

The girls love their seesaw and it was a hit at the birthday party that weekend - there was a line!

We have realized that most kids have never played on a basic seesaw like this since most playgrounds don't have them anymore. We have had a few accidental hands-on physics lessons, if you know what I mean. So if you build one, keep that in mind - the kids need to be taught how to get on and off without flipping their friends! Gravity is REAL, man!

So, who's going to build one?!

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