Assembling My Do It Yourself Playset.
There Are Five Boxes!
My son had his birthday in August, my wife and I decided that for his birthday we would buy him a new playground set. After looking at the regular hardware places like Lowe's, Menard's, Home Depot, and a few barn/Playground distributors, we found out we would be spending between $1200 to $4000 depending on options and cost of assembly. To save some money, we decided to purchase a set and put it together ourselves at a cost of about $1300 after taxes and delivery.
The set arrived about a week before my son's birthday and the weather was perfect to go out and put this set together. After the driver placed the delivery in my garage, I was amazed to see that there were five boxes lying on the floor. I should have opened them on the spot and inspected the contents, but I didn't. I did not check the boxes before I called everyone to come and help me put the set together, they were standing around me watching as I realized that the entirety of all the accessories and parts listed on pages 4 and 5 of the instruction manual were missing. I ended up wasting my friends and family members time and when I finally received the parts no one returned to help assemble the play ground set.
I called the 800 number on the big yellow piece of paper instructing me to not return the product to the store, but to call the manufacturer distributing the product for assistance with assembly or defects. After speaking with customer service, I was promised I would have the missing parts in five business days. I received them in four, awesome!! After inspecting the contents of the new boxes to see if everything was there, I was ready to assemble the play set.
When I was finally ready to start assembling the play set, the only help I could find was my wife. At the risk of upsetting my wife, I must honestly say that building this play set is one of a only a few things we could not accomplish together. I had to disassemble her side of the frame because her measurements were off and she did not use the square to make sure that her corners on the pieces she put together were square. After taking her side of the frame apart a second time she became frustrated with me and quit.
After my wife quit, I assembled and reassembled the main frame an additional four times before I got it right. I also figured out after the fourth time reassembling the frame, that it is much better to have just one person at a time measuring and assembling major components of this play set. I have had one mistake when working by myself, compared to a total of 16 when working with my wife. Multiple people tend to rush things, mix up parts, and/or misinterpret instructions from the manual. People also tend to get irritated with others they are working with which slows down the building process.
The remaining wood pieces are all thin 3/4 inch by 3 inch slats of various lengths ranging from nine inches to forty-seven inches long. I have learned that having a collection of drill bits has been a good thing, I have had to pre-drill every board on this set. The wood is stained pine and it is very easy to split, even if I follow the measurement rules of where to place screws in the manual. The "Skill" titanium bits have performed the best for this project. I also purchased hex head #21 bits and Phillips head drill bits made of hardened steel, they have performed much better when installing screws. They don't strip and they grip better without stripping the screw head before it has been fully drilled into place.
Now that the set is mostly completed, I still have a few extra pieces to install, but it is usable. The children love it. I placed our set in a gravel covered play area, surrounded by an eighteen inch wall to keep gravel in and grass out. The play area is 16'X36' with one roll of the professional grade weed stop paper good for 5 years ($25), this was covered with four inches of pea gravel, 5.98 tons at a cost of $198.00. I used treated 2"X3"X8'($131.00) wood planks secured with wooden pegs ( 6.99) and steel re-bar ($25.00) for the exterior playground wall.
I have to admit, I liked putting the play set together by myself. I had fewer mistakes and less irritation. My wife and I had far too many mistakes when we were working on the set together we were not doing the same measuring and she was rushing to get the set finished. After disassembling the main frame, remeasuring, making sure the assemblies were squared off, I had a much easier time connecting the exterior pieces. The process is very time consuming for one person to do alone, but when I am finished with it I can be proud that I finished such a large project and that my children will have fun using their new play set.