Monday, May 26, 2008

Where have I been? Funny you should ask...

Two years ago I built this arbor and swing for our backyard.


I was pretty happy with it, but within just a few weeks the seat of the swing started to warp noticeable because I had used materials that were too thin for the design - specifically 1x2s slats for the seat and backrest.

Then last summer it looked so terrible I just took the swing down altogether and left the arbor standing alone. But I vowed right then and there I would rebuild it. I had the technology. I could make it better. I could make it stronger. I could make it faster (faster?)

And hopefully it wouldn't cost me 6 million dollars to do it.

Finally, this weekend I stepped up to the challenge and did just that.

Realizing the design I had used was inferior, I set out to find a better model, and found this beauty on a website called, coincidentally, benches.com


However, because this website doesn't voluntarily give their designs away for free, I created my own based on this picture. Mine need to be narrowed a bit in proportion to theirs, but all in all I feel pretty good about how it came out.


And here's a picture of the arbor and bench from farther back.



I should have rough plans for both. Each piece should take a weekend for someone with medium DIY skills, such as myself. Let me know if you're interested in building either of these and I'll send the plans to you.

Have a great week everybody!

52 comments:

Phil said...

I love the ingenuity! I've done this before on other things... Didn't want to buy the plans, so figured it out as best I could from a photo or two.

I am interested in this... I have a corner of my yard that needs something, and an arbor with swing would be perfect.

You have my email already... Thanks!

Karen MEG said...

That looks amazing! Good for you, it's great that you're so hand, I am very impressed!

April said...

Looks awesome, Jeff! Particularly impressive coming from a musician :)

Whit said...

I would love to think that I'm capable of such things, but I don't think I have it in me.

Alice said...

Wow! I'm impressed by your skillz! I've got all sorts of random projects around her that could use a handy person if you'd like for me to fly you out to MD.

Sandy said...

Wow Jeff! You are totally talented. I think I'll have Kurt get in touch with you about those plans. Our arbor is looking pretty sad these days, and I know he's been eyeing the ones at Menards.

Ed said...

Jeff, It looks good. I would love to have the plans for both. Not sure I have the tools to make it, but hey, that's what Lowe's is for! It will give me an excuse to buy more tools. Argh! Argh! Argh!

You can get me through my blog.

Jay said...

Great job! It looks the same, but different, and I'm sure will give you many happy years of lazing around on warm days. I'm impressed!

Durblady said...

I love it . . . I have just the spot but none of the tools. Hmmm, while my dh has no interest in learning woodworking, I do! I might have to make a trip to Home Depot or Menards!

Carla said...

I loves me some projects...yours is quite nice.

Jeff said...

phil - I actually enjoy the challenge of the design. That's half the fun of building something for me.

karen - Thanks. My wife appreciates my skills too. You should see my honey-do list!

april - Very funny... especially coming from a dancer ;-)

whit - Building things out of construction lumber is one of my hobbies. I've been doing this kind of thing for years.

alice - I would like you to fly me out to MD! Not to build things, but just for the free trip. I'm guessing that's not what you meant.

sandy - The kind they sell at home centers are usually overpriced for the quality they are. I think I only spent about $75 in materials for that swing and probably $100 for the arbor.

ed - YAY! MORE TOOLS!

jay - Funny thing, I said that about my deck when I built it 8 years ago. But somehow I haven't spent many days just lying around on it. Or should I say "any."

durblady - It doesn't surprise me at all that you would want to do this. Come on over and see it in person. Then you can decide if you want to tackle it.

carla - Thanks. I like projects too. Well, most of them. A certain set of stairs comes to mind as one project I could have done without.

JD at I Do Things said...

It's beautiful! That's definitely time well spent. Doesn't it feel good, working outside and getting some fresh air?

Now get back to blogging!

JD at I Do Things

Memarie Lane said...

It looks really nice, and I'm very jealous of your beautiful yard. But... what's coincidental about a bench?

Jeff said...

jd - Yes ma'am!

marie - The coincidence is that I found a bench at a website called benches.com. What are the odds?

Mom Thumb said...

Very nice. I love all your projects. And hey, we got a picture of your place sans snow!

Mother Theresa said...

Wow, I'm impressed. Love the swing, but what I'm really interested in is getting my garden to look like that. It looks so neat. Mine is full of weeds. How do you do that? As soon as I get rid of the weeds in one place I have more coming out somewhere else.

VE said...

Nice job. Yours was better than theirs anyway. Did you notice their light/dark slats on the back weren't alternating correctly? They have to dark ones in a row despite alternating all the others. Lame. Only one question for you? Can it handle loop-do-loops?

G said...

She's a beauty! How about ZERO DIY skills? We've been looking in a book from HomeDepot to get ideas for a back patio (of course we would only offer worker services, we'd have to have my brother spearhead). When we saw "skill level: easy," we'd bookmark the page.

While you're in MD visiting Alice, you could just swing up to NYC - I'll pay your tolls :)

G said...

Oh yes, forgot to mention that your garden looks beautiful as well! "Jeff, the Blogosphere's original renaissance man."

cathouse teri said...

Beautiful. And FYI (as opposed to DIY) ~ the correct term is "more faster."

Jeff said...

mom thumb - If I had taken the picture on Sunday, you would have seen our yard full of hail. I saw some golfball-sized chucks coming down, and our car now has pretty little dents all over it. Bleh.

mother theresa - It takes a lot of care and feeding to keep the weeds out. Oh yeah, and a wife who works on it all the time too.

ve - That's funny you noticed that. I saw that right away and thought that was weird too. The red stain was actually supposed to come out more of a darker mahogany but it came out pinker instead. I was going to redo it but Charli likes it just the way it is. She said it looks like cedar now. Loop-do-loops? :-)

g - Um, yeah... I'd like to take credit for the beautiful garden, but 99.9% of that is Charli's work. I just provide the supporting amenities.

teri - You may be right. I was quoting my Six Million Dollar Man lines from memory - which isn't better, stronger OR more faster.

Avitable said...

I can barely hammer a nail in without fucking up, so I'm quite impressed!

leelee said...

how lovely...ya done good Jeff.

hugs!

cathouse teri said...

Yeah, I knew what you were up to. I'm just feeling soooooooooooo silly today! LOVED that show. Here's the real deal:

Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.

(but I still like more faster more better)

Jeff said...

avitable - Hey, then maybe this is the project for you... there's not a nail in the thing!

leelee - Thanks. And thanks for the hug!

teri - That's awesome. I can hear the music as I read it - especially when he makes that "shun-nnnnnnn-un" sound as the bionics kick in. Hmmmm, I wonder if everybody around him could hear that?

Heather said...

I'd love a swing like that...what a perfect baby gift!

What?

Jennine said...

Nicely done, Jeff! It's beautiful!

So if Avitable can't nail anything, he's totally screwed.

cathouse teri said...

Jennine, you mean he's NOT screwed. :)

deborah said...

Sweet! Hey, we'll hire you for the job.

rick said...

Let's see your car dents. Maybe your next project should be a car-port.

Kathy said...

Jeff -- I'm amazed! It's beautiful and I can't believe you did that just by looking at a picture. I tip my hat to you over at my blog. Check it out.

BassoonBabe said...

Pretty!
Very Pretty!

Julie Pippert said...

Wow, that's gorgeous! Way to go!!

Your family ever wants a seaside holiday by the Gulf (suggest you avoid Hurricane Season, of course) we're your spot. I have a big backyard in need of swing and deck. ;)

I will gladly take your wife to all the good spots and your kids would love the space center.

Maureen said...

Wow, I am very jealous.

So you ARE bringing your tools up here with you this summer, No?

No?

Aw, crap.

Jeff said...

heather - You're right, that would make an ideal gift. I'll send Craig the plans right away!

jennine - See, that's what I miss. We haven't had a punster of your caliber around here for quite some time now.

teri - I wonder if he knows how much action he's getting over here. Or not getting.

deborah - Take a number. Apparently I have to go to Canada, MD, New York and a few other places first.

rick - I would have had my car in my garage if I hadn't taken it over with my bench project.

kathy - Thanks for the nod at your place. But I think your flowerpot garbage can is cool. It was very resourceful of you to combine the two.

bassoonbabe - Hey thanks... and thanks for stopping by!

julie - Ooh, now you're talking. Maybe I should hold an auction and the person with the sweetest offer wins a free arbor/bench set. I likee!

maureen - I'll have a small toolkit in my trunk. If you want I can build you a really small bench.

Drowsey Monkey said...

Damn ... you da man! I'm impressed. I mean, I'm really impressed!

Bill said...

You were building an arbor while we were golfing today. At Rolling Ruts, a man presented a card saying he was mute, and signaled he wanted to play through. All of us shook our heads no, because we did not consider not being able to speak a real handicapp. A couple of holes later, one of our team was beaned by that same mute, who was holding up four fingers!

Windyridge said...

Jeff that's gorgeous! Nice job!

Maureen said...

Yer on! And I'll put a little pot of flowers on it to piss off Kathy even more ... ;)

Michelle said...

Dude, you built this? And figured out how from looking at a picture? wait wait wait... I have a fifth anniversary coming up on Saturday, and I need a gift of wood from my husband (who admittedly can't figure out what to get me). Hmmmm. Oh yeah DIY skills.

Seriously, I'm really impressed. It looks great and a lot of fun!

yellojkt said...

Looks great. And just in time for necking in the backyard season.

Corrina said...

Wow. I'm impressed with your handiness!

Corrina said...

P.S. The bench came out FABULOUS. High five!

Curtis said...

Looks great. I like the arbor as well. Are you growing something on the arbor?

The Chick said...

Oh, I love that! I have been hounded The Hub for a swing myself. Looks like such a peaceful way to spend an evening.....

Gette said...

My FIL needs to make me this for my bday. I have a good frame yet, but my swing is shot.

Jeff said...

drowsey - Thanks, glad you like it :-)

bill - Good segue! I think you've finally managed to leave the most irrelevant comment to date. ;-)

windyridge - Thanks. I really enjoy making stuff like that. Too bad it's so time consuming or I'd make things all the time.

maureen - That ought to do it ;-)

michelle - So are you saying I should send him the plans?

yellojkt - I hope you're talking about me and my wife - and not my kids!

corrina - Well, my wife sure thinks I come in handy sometimes.

curtis - Yes, we grow grape vines and climbing roses. It looks really nice in the summer.

the chick - Yes, for the 3 days there are no mosquitoes it IS nice!

gette - Feel free to send him my way.

Mom said...

I clicked on the first picture of just the arbor, to enlarge it, and I couldn't BELIEVE the beautiful gardens all around!!! Charlie must have spent a thousand hours out there!!! Congratulations, Hon--you sure did a fabulous job!!!

Bill said...

Would it have been better had I said both of us were making swings at the same time?

Jeff said...

mom - Aw shucks ma, you're 'mbarrassing me.

bill - That's more like it :-)

*lynne* said...

congratulations, it looks grrrrrreat!

but Momma said...

HELLO!?!

Did you even have to ask if I want the plans?

I have a porch that needs a swing! Give it up please!