Breezy, Wooden Swings Bring Tree Swings to New Generations

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It was a triple whammy, really, that inspired Natalie Koppes of Columbus, Ohio, to start her own business, Breezy Wooden Swings. She had a treasured memory of a childhood swing in a favorite oak tree near a large fishing pond. She and her husband moved to a new house with a perfect oak tree but, alas, no swing. And, almost simultaneously while dreaming of starting her own business, she watched an Oprah show devoted to encouraging women to leave mind-numbing jobs and “follow their hearts.”

Now, she spends her time helping other families share her delight in the tree swing. While about half her customers seek swings for weekend homes, others are parents and grandparents purchasing for backyard trees and even swing sets. It’s common for customers to share their own memories – where, when and what kind of tree – of childhood swings.

For those who prefer to hang their own swings, Koppes says the most suitable trees are healthy hardwoods, like a living oak tree. She says softwoods, like pine, aren’t really suitable since their limbs don’t usually grow large or strong enough.

“The limb you choose to hang a swing from should be healthy, roughly 7 feet high or higher, and as horizontal and level as possible,” Koppes says. “If it’s not level, the swing will tend to twist back and forth when you’re on it due to the different rope lengths. If you have questions about whether a tree is suitable for a swing, a local arborist should definitely be consulted first.”

While it’s a common practice to hang a tree swing by wrapping the rope around the limb, Koppes says this causes premature wearing in the rope and can damage the limb and tree by choking off the outer living portion of the limb. She recommends hanging the tree swing by following these directions.

Step 1: Locate a sturdy, healthy tree in your yard with a horizontal limb that is at least 4 inches in diameter and tall enough to allow full motion of your new swing without obstructions.

Step 2: Drill two (2) 1/2-inch diameter vertical holes entirely through the center of the limb roughly the same distance apart as the ropes on the swing.

Step 3: Place rust-resistant 1/2-inch diameter eyebolts with a workload limit of at least 400 pounds through the newly drilled holes and tighten a washer and nut on the top side of the limb. (See Fig. A) The eyebolt should have at least 1/2 inch of thread sticking up after tightening the nut and washer.

Step 4: Place a rust-resistant threaded connector, or quick link, through the eyebolt. (See Fig. B) Make sure the threaded connector opens up at least 1/2 inch to allow the rope to slip through and has a workload limit of at least 400 pounds.

Step 5: Slip the eye splice at the top of the swing rope onto the threaded connector. (See Fig. C) Once you have done this to both sides of the swing, make sure the swing hangs level. If the tree limb is not perfectly level, you will probably have to place an appropriate amount of rust-resistant chain with a workload limit of at least 400 pounds in between the threaded connector and the eye splice. This also means you will need another threaded connector to secure the eye splice to the end of the chain.

Step 6: Once the swing is hanging level, tighten the threaded connector. (See Fig. D) You are now ready to enjoy your swing for a long time.

For more information, visit the Web site atwww.BreezySwings.comor call (614) 893-8346.

Published on Jul 1, 2007

Grit Magazine

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