Skyfort Playset Installation – Day 21 (4/19)

It rained like crazy all day Monday, but luckily it tapered off by the evening so I was able to get another evening’s work in. It was VERY muddy though, and I don’t know why, but the mud was particularly smelly. So everyone enjoyed me I’m sure!

First order of business was securing the ladder to the playset.

Number of times I was asked if the ladder was ready, while I was trying to line it up right? Eleventy.

A little bit tricky because the ground wasn’t exactly level, but I got it working, and we set out for some “inaugural” ladder climbs.

After the ladder comes the rock wall. Naturally you have to put in all the rocks to the boards, because shipping the rocks already on there would be way too convenient.

Not really a problem, except that the rocks attach with the barrel nuts, and I don’t know if it’s something about barrel nuts in general, these particular barrel nuts that they use in this playset, or just me not knowing what I’m doing, but I’ve found that it’s really tough to get them to be secure with just the one flat washer they recommend – most of the ones I put in needed to have 2 washers.

Plus you have to secure the other side with a screwdriver while you’re using the drill to tighten the phillips bolt on the other side, and it’s obviously very tricky to hold a screwdriver on one side while getting enough torque to tighten something else. Carolyn came out to help me though and we were able to get all of them secured.

Number of times a kid asked Carolyn to make a bologna and cheese sandwich while we were doing this? Eleventy more!

Attaching the rock wall was tricky because it’s kind of cramped underneath the playset, especially in the corner, so it took 3 holes drilled to get it to line up right (mistake!) but eventually the rock wall was attached and ready for some inaugural climbs!

Next was the monkey bars (assembled back on the driveway) – I did take some pictures of that but it was dark and something must have gone wrong with the flash as the pictures were big black blobs. I did make another mistake on Step 77 – it requires 1 1/2″ lag screws and 2″ lag screws on the “H2 Monkey Bar Ground Board” in different places, and I put the 2″ screws where the 1 1/2″ screws were supposed to go (and thus they poked out the other side). I also had a minor mistake on Step 80 – attaching the wrong size hex bolts to the triangle brace of the monkey bars. I secured the brace to the monkey bar support structure before I realized that I also had to secure it to the monkey bars themselves. Nothing big, but it did take me a few minutes to undo that, so I’ll count it.

Day 21 time: 3.0 hours
Total time: 39.0 hours
Mistakes made: 3 today (17 total)
Steps completed: 74-80 (out of 103)

Skyfort Playset Installation – Day 20 (4/18)

Sunday again was a (beautiful) day of rest, so I was back on the playset work come Monday evening. Hard to believe I’ve been at this for nearly 3 weeks now! I’m of two minds as to the length of time. On the one hand, I could have had this playset up a lot sooner had I taken some full days off of work (or of course paid someone else to install it). On the other hand, I’ve still been having a lot of fun, and while spending nearly all of my evening and weekend free time on this project HAS prevented me from doing some other things, I’ve had fun working with my kids (who are almost every morning asking if we’re going to be able to work on the playset today!)

I thought that I had finished step 67 on Saturday, but it turned out there was still one part of it left undone, so I quickly finished that off. I also realized that I had made a mistake putting the metal gable parts (big green triangle on the picture below) on the insides instead of the outsides (mistake!)

The tasks for today were installing the porch area in front of the clubhouse. But before we got to that, Step 69 involved walling off one of the sides of the 2nd story. The problem with that is that particular area was the easiest way to actually get UP TO the 2nd story (since of course we don’t actually get a ladder till Step 74). So I got those boards and hoisted myself up for hopefully the LAST time.

Steps 70 and 71 involved creating the porch rafters and roof, and that step was done down on the ground. Since previous steps have let me know what direction the rafters are supposed to go, this didn’t take too long. One problem with Step 70 is that it claims you are supposed to put the 2 “V-shaped” rafter pieces together and then it gives vague instructions of how you’re supposed to run 2″ wood screws through them to connect them. It is not really clear how or where that’s supposed to happen but after staring at it for awhile, I did what I thought was best. It worked out okay but it was a bit tricky when I was trying to put the metal triangular support on the rafters, since one of the screws for the metal base hit this other wood screw that I had put in previously. But it all worked out.

The tricky part was actually ATTACHING the porch roof to the main clubhouse area. And by tricky part, I mean tricky part attaching it by MYSELF. Carolyn had come home while I was putting this on (snapping this nice picture)

She was able to help me get the bolts lined up into the right bolt holes, but it was a bit tricky getting the bolts to catch into the nuts. These “Spike T-nuts” that they give you are nice, but they are sometimes tricky to line up with the bolts. If you don’t have the bolt lined up EXACTLY right, your bolt spins but doesn’t catch. And with all the weight of the porch roof, the bolt was sagging some and not really lining up. It took about 15-20 minutes of me trying to simultaneously support the roof, push it up so the bolt was going in straight, make sure the nut stayed in place, as well as actually ratchet in the bolt with the socket wrench. Good times!

Then I put the gable on the porch roof (correctly on the outside this time!), and started on the ladder. I really wanted to get the ladder up and secured before I quit for the day, but alas, darkness foiled me.

As you can see, I got the ladder built, but it was pitch black by now (after 9 pm) and I didn’t want to risk screwing up the attachment since I couldn’t see in the dark.

Day 20 time: 3.0 hours
Total time: 36.0 hours
Mistakes made: 1 today (14 total)
Steps completed: 67-73 (out of 103)