I'm a student at the West-Flanders High School (HOWEST). I study industrial product design and for one of our projects we have to make a swing. The conditions imposed on our swing are:
- the total weight of the swing has to be less then 5kg
- you have to be able to install the swing in any tree without climbing the tree or using a ladder, but you can make use of additional tools to get your rope around a branch
- the additional tools have to be included in the total weight.
I was inspired by arborists that use certain techniques to get their first rope in the tree without having to climb. The materials and techniques they use are ideal for a tree swing. I will explain how I made my swing but I recommend you to look to the following link if you want to know what the easiest way is to get your ropes around a branch without climbing:
Step 1: What Do You Need?
My swing consists of four parts:
- the seat
- a climbing rope
- two cambium-savers (two ribbons that protect the outer layer of the tree from friction)
- a thin rope and a weight to get the climbing rope around a branch
For the seat you'll need:
- 3 straps length 1,30m
- 5 straps length 15cm
- 2 wooden cylinders 28cm
- 4 buckles
For the climbing rope you'll need:
- 24m of climbing rope (12m for each side of the seat)
For the cambium-savers you'll need:
- 2 big & 2 small metal rings or carabiners
- 2 straps length 2m
For the thin rope (additional tool) you'll need:
- a thin rope diameter 2,5mm and length 20m
- a weight (I'm using a padlock)
Tools you'll need:
- buzz saw
- milling machine (wood drill diameter 12mm)
- varnish & paintbrush
- stitch machine
- wood burner tool
Because this project was an exam I used professional tools but you can use a handsaw and a drill instead of the buzz saw and the milling machine.
Step 2: Cutting the Straps
For cutting the straps you'll need the wood burner tool. Instead of using the pen of the tool which is to narrow to cut once threw the strap I bended a long and flat form out of a paperclip. Burning threw the strap also melts the loose particles together which is good because the strap will not ravel out.
For the seat you'll need to cut:
- 3 red straps length 1,30m
- 5 red straps length 15cm
Step 3: Stitching the Seat
1. First we will stitch the length of the seat. Take the three straps of 1,30m and take each end of a strap and fold them to the middle, then stitch the ends in the middle.
2. Secondly put the wooden cylinder threw the strap to see how far from both ends you have to stitch to make a tight loop that fits nicely around the wooden cylinders.
3. Finally stitch the 5 small straps of 15cm on equal distances in the opposite direction and your seat is finished.
Step 4: The Cambium-savers
Take the two straps of 2m long and fold both ends to the middle and stitch them. Now stitch 10cm from both ends to make the loops where the metal rings will come. Reinforce with additional stitches at the edges.
Step 5: Wooden Cylinders
Now cut two wooden cylinders of 28cm.
Then drill one hole 3cm from both ends. Optionally you can varnish the wood to protect it against rain.
Step 6: The Buckles
Now take the buckle and make a loop around the wooden cylinder and stitch the loop on the right size. Make the buckle straps long enough to fasten the loose ends of the climbing rope under the seat.
Step 7: Adjusting the Height
If you followed the steps in the link on the introduction(first) page or my video here above, then the cambium-savers and your climbing rope should be around a branch. Now you pull the climbing ropes through the holes in the wooden cylinders and make a figure eight knot on the desired height.
Step 8: Step7: Enjoy the Swing!
I have been testing my swing and had following conclusions:
The swing doesn't go very high if you mount it with the cambium savers because they rotate around the branch and so you lose momentum, but this problem doesn't occur when you mount the swing without the cambium savers (climbing ropes directly over the branch).
So if you want to leave the swing over a long period of time over the same branch I suggest you mount the swing with the cambium savers because you will not damage the branch this way.
But if you mount the swing for a short period of time around a branch you may consider not to use the cambium savers, but just the climbing rope.
Definitely keep the cambium savers because with them your swing can be used either way.
The swing has been tested by a person who weighs 100kg and the swing didn't break and had no signs of fatigue so it's a very reliable swing.