Skyfort Playset Installation – Day 6 (4/4)

Day 5 was Sunday aka a Day of Rest. So no work done until Monday (4/4/11). I had originally coordinated with my coworker Geoff to come over on Saturday. He is also building a playset this summer, so the thought was that we would swap labor – he’d help me on mine, and I’d help him with his. So originally he was going to come over on Saturday, but after I reviewed the progress from last week, I decided Saturday wasn’t a good day – I wanted to make sure that I knew a bit more of what I was doing before I brought in another person.

So upon checking schedules, Monday was the only day that worked for us, so we set that up. It seemed like it was going to work out perfectly since I was on Step 13, which was the step where we’d need to move it from its interim spot in the driveway back into the backyard, something that was clearly going to require (at least) two people. The tragedy in all this was the fact that when Monday dawned, it was scheduled for thunderstorms and heavy winds all day, with a 100% chance of precipitation :-( . And sure enough, skies were dark all day, with lots of rain and wind.

But by the time we got off work and over to the house, the rain had definitely calmed down. It was still drizzling a bit, but certainly nothing too terrible. First order of business was to carry it back into the back yard. There was some measuring and some visualization and Carolyn came out too to give her thoughts on where it should go. Once we settled on a spot, then we set to level the ground.

It took quite a bit of time actually – digging it out and checking level from every possible angle. Once we got it pretty close, we figured out that rather than picking the whole playset all the way up and moving it in order to dig around it – we could just lift up part of it and dig the dirt out. I’m sure Geoff must have volunteered at one point to “shoulder” the load…

Finally…. success!

Then came the real fun of what we would come to refer to as the “infamous” Step 13. I know I mentioned in an earlier post that it seemed like the technical writers were charged by the word – so many places it just seemed like an extra sentence or paragraph would have been SO useful. But Step 13 was so over the top that I felt the need to show you, in its entirety, the instructions.

First sentence – “time to position playset in permanent location and secure to ground”. Check – we did that and had it all nice and level. Now we get those 4 “Y41″ stakes and measure out 6″ from either side in the corners. Okay we did that, but then it starts talking about securing them to the baseboards with 1″ bolts – how can you possibly do that if they’re 6″ from the board? Geoff and I noodled on that one for a long time. Was there some other board involved? A longer bolt?

Plus who would want a stake sticking 3″ out of the ground inside the playset? We thought maybe the interior ones were supposed to be covered up by the “O5″ sandbox seat boards (shown in the bottom instruction picture), but what about the ones that were 6″ outside the playset on the other side? Talk about tripping hazard!

Finally we figured (and I THINK correctly) that the stakes were supposed to end up flush against the baseboards and the 6″ was only so you’d have some room / leverage to twist them down into the ground. So we marked the spots where the stakes were supposed to go

Then moved the playset a foot or so to the side, twisted the stakes into the ground (yay moist ground due to rain all day!), and moved the playset back into place.

But the next problem came on the other side. These bolts / nuts required access on both sides (one to drill in the bolt, and one to secure the nut on the other side so it didn’t just spin). But the other side was blocked by the picnic table floor boards (part of Step 11). So we had to remove those in order to secure the stakes on that side.

They were annoying too because they were VERY tight and hard to get out and then back on.

This whole step really made very little sense. There’s no mention of moving things 6″ before Step 13. Am I alone in wanting the playset to be in a specific spot in the yard, rather than just “over there somewhere”? Why would anyone start building the playset 6″ off of where they really wanted it to be? And would it have killed them to at least mention this whole 6″ move somewhere in the beginning of the instructions? And that’s not even mentioning the whole picnic table floor board fiasco.

In any case, I’m pretty sure we eventually got it right, and we managed to knock out Step 14 too before it got dark.

Day 6 time: 4.5 hours (2 1/4 hours * 2 people)
Total time: 15 hours
Mistakes made: 2
Steps completed: 13-14 (out of 103)