Thursday, April 16, 2009

How To Build Monkey Bars - part 1

In an attempt to be less dour and less obsessed with the decline of America (which somehow reminds me of sliding down a banister that turns into a series of razor blades... sorry... I'm done) and because most of my blog hits are from Google and my post How To Build Monkey Bars I've decided to post, for real, instructions on how to inexpensively and easily build a set of monkey bars for your monkeys to play on and I hope no one is offended that I'm calling their children monkeys.

The whole shebang should run you no more than $80 (pre-hyper-inflation carbon/green surcharge flyover country prices) provided you have the very few tools required and should take no more than an afternoon.

4 Ten Foot Exterior 2X4's
11 Eight Foot Exterior 2X4's
4 3/8" 4" long carriage bolts
4 washers that will fit the bolts
1 or 2 pounds of 2 1/2" exterior screws, depending on how much you like your kids
Between 40 and 32 linear feet of 1 1/8" dowel rods

THE HARDWARE (Thank you Alton):
Electric drill
Chop Saw (a.k.a. miter saw)
1 1/8" spade drill bit (one and one-eighth inch)
1/4" drill bit
screwdriver bit
Tape measure
Pencil or black marker or other writing device

A rubber mallet
A Square
A helper (for the last few steps)
A couple of clamps bigger than 3"

Just a couple of things before we start. Always wear eye protection, gloves, asbestos body suit, and lead underpants.

It may take some time in the steps where you are drilling oodles and oodles of 1 1/8inch holes in the wood. I know my tried and true Craftsman got pretty hot and I stopped a number of times to let it cool down. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! If you burn up your hand drill making these don't come crying to me. You can use 1" dowels if you want but I find that the extra 1/8" makes it more manly and meant I got to go out and buy a 1 1/8" spade bit that will now sit unused in my workshop until I'm returned to the ground.

The variance in the amount of dowels needed is because you need to decide if you want rungs up both sides of the monkey bars or if you want a set that has rungs up just one side and two rungs at the top of the other side so your kids/monkeys can hang upside down and help you appreciate our non-socialized medical system while we have it (smacks hand). Buy 40 feet of dowels if you want a full ladder/rungs on both sides.

Also important is to buy the rungs in two foot increments. If your local home center sells three foot lengths, well, they're probably not right in the head.

When you buy 2X4s make sure they aren't bowed. They will probably be mighty heavy and dripping with whatever toxic goo they inject into them to keep them from rotting but you can most likely fit them all into the trunk of your 1995 Ford Taurus. I did.

You'll also notice that the set pictured above is connected to a 2X4 constructed swing set. I love 2X4's. They should build houses out of those things. Anyway, my monkey bars is bolted to the 2X4 swing set which is bolted to a (mostly) 2X4 constructed play house.

Enough of this chatter... LET'S MAKE SOME SAWDUST!

Download all these plans for a mere ninety-nine cents at Amazon!


wdwyer said...

Great plans, thx for the effort, how bout' the swing set?? Any plans for those?

Uvulapie said...

One modification - I would make the board that goes horizontally on the ground longer. Mine is bolted to the swing set which is bolted to the playhouse.

WDwyer - if you e-mail me to my yahoo uvulapie account I will send you info on the swing set, which is even easier to build than the monkey bars.

Tollboothwillie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tollboothwillie said...

Could you get back to me with the plans for the swingset? I built the monkey bar's and they are great! I looked for your yahoo account but couldn't find it.

Uvulapie said...

I took down some notes for swingset plans but never got around to writing them up. I'm amazed that someone else actually built these monkey bars so maybe that will spur me on to write up swingset plans. I'll try to get to it this week.

Nathan Smith said...

Thank you very much. I spent about four hours building these and my daughters absolutely love them. had to hand cut all wood and only had a cordless drill so it took a little longer than expected. Great job and thank you for taking the time to post this.