Saturday, June 30, 2007

Project Updates - More Pavers, Playset Built

It's been a busy spring. I only slowed down this weekend due to a tweaked disc in my back. A couple of days of rest, physical therapy and joint supplements and I'm feeling 50% better. But, of more interest than my decaying body is what has been accomplished so far.

I wrote a little while back about some of the paver work I've been doing. Here's the second step on my landscaping that has been paved with the Old Port ™ Old Castle ™ pavers.

I can't remember how many cuts I made but it was a lot considering I didn't use a wet saw. I think I broke three beyond immediate use - they might serve as odd shaped edging later on.

The other big accomplishment was assembling the million piece play house. Holy cow that took a long time. Thankfully, my Dad showed up two days before my daughters birthday to help me finish it up and we had it done in time to clean ourselves up and grill some chicken and brats for dinner. You can see the play house as viewed from our deck off the back of the house.

This is the Cambridge by Leisure Time Products, Inc. sold by Sam's club. It took about a month of free time to assemble and would have taken longer if my wife hadn't measured, sorted and labeled each piece. We had to get the instructions off the companies website and print them ourselves as they neglected to include them in the pack.

Having built it, I would not recommend it. I would recommend going to a lumber yard near you and asking them if they have plans for which they can also supply materials. You are more likely to get something solid and durable, though probably much less complex. While this is a really neat playhouse and swing set well suited to small children not afraid to climb, larger children will make the floor boards bend and the joints groan. I only weigh 172 and it creaks and warps under my weight. So, playing with the kids is kinda ruled out. But, my kids seem to love it. They really haven't "moved in" yet - no other toys except a red plastic chair have made it out there, but no doubt that will follow in time.

I will say that when we were shorted a ground anchor, it was shipped within days, no charge, direct to our door. I think the company is probably a good one, but like so many other things being made in China these days, the quality isn't really American.

Next step is to stain it with a good water sealant and pigment. It comes pre stained but I want to make sure it really lasts. My dad recommends Sikkens, which isn't the cheapest but enjoys a very good reputation so I'll be trying to track some of that down soon.


Shawn said...

I do not think it was that hard to put together. it just taker dedication to complete it. I will say most of it holds up against my 200 lb.'s, but the front deck does creek more than I like. I plan on adding a floor support their. My kids love it, and I could not find more swing set for the money.

J E Carter II said...

Well, a couple of years on and the whole thing has racked crooked in the wind. I've followed the instructions each spring retightening bolts, but it would take a winch or block and tackle or a tractor to pull this thing straight again. Still, it seems to be holding up in terms of appearance, function and sturdiness... just leans a wee bit so you can tell it has gone out of square. I think my concrete footings may have been too small... they may have shifted.