This step by step woodworking project is about how to build a seesaw. Building a teeter-totter is a simple project that will entertain your kids for many hours in a row. There are many ways in you could get the job done, so you should choose the method that suits both your needs and budget. In this project we should you detailed plans for a basic seesaw with a beautiful design.
If you want to get the job done a a professional and to keep the costs under control, we recommend you to plan everything from the very beginning. Taking into account you will place the seesaw in the garden, we recommend you to use quality lumber, such as redwood, pine or cedar. You can use pressure-treated lumber as well, if you want to keep the costs under control, but the seesaw won’t have the same look.
Always adjust the size and the design of the seesaw according to your tastes and needs, but you can still use the woodworking techniques described in the project. Align the components at both ends and pre-drill the lumber before inserting the screws. Add waterproof glue to the joints if you want to create a rigid structure and make sure there are no protruding screws or sharp edges.
Made from this plan
Building a seesaw
- A – 2 pieces of 2×4 lumber – 34″ long, 2 pieces – 17″ long BASE
- B – 4 pieces of 2×3 lumber – 20″ long, 1 pieces – 14″ long SUPPORTS
- C – 1 pieces of 2×8 lumber – 96″ long PLANK
- D – 4 pieces of of 2×2 – 9″ long, 2 pieces – 17″ long HANDLES
- E – 2 pieces of 1×12 lumber – 10 1/2″ long SEAT
- Safety gloves, glasses
- Miter saw, jigsaw, pocket hole jig
- Chalk line, tape measure, spirit level, carpentry pencil
- Drill machinery and drill bits
- Apply several coats of wood stain to the wooden components
- Adjust the size of the shelves, according to your needs and tastes
- One Day
How to build a seesaw
The first step of the project is to build the support for the pivot plank. As you can notice in the image, we recommend you to use 2×3 lumber. Always align the components at both ends and check if the corners are right-angled, before drilling pilot holes and inserting the screws. Adjust the size of the support to your needs and add waterproof glue to the joints, in order to create a rigid structure.
If you don’t want to set the support into concrete or you just want to be able to move the seesaw, you should build a sturdy base, as in the image. Use 2×4 lumber to create a simple structure that will keep the seesaw into place while being used by the kids. The longer and the wider the base the better will be the support and the balance of the structure. Attach the base to the supports with several galvanized screws, after drilling the pilot holes.
Building the pivot plank is a straight forward process if you use proper techniques and plans. As you can notice in the image, we recommend you to attach a piece of water pipe to the plank, by using several pipe straps. It is essential to align everything before inserting the screws (the pipe should be perpendicular to the plank), otherwise the plank won’t pivot properly.
Drill pilot holes trough the supports and insert 5″ carriage bolts. Basically, the pipe will seat on the bottom carriage bolts inserted on both sides of the supports, while the top bolts will keep the pivot plank into place. If you want to add support to the structure, you could add a cross-brace between the supports, just under the bottom carriage bolts.
After attaching the plank into place and locking it in the manner described above, the wooden seesaw should look as in the image. Don’t forget that you should always adjust the size and the shape of the teeter-totter, as to fit your needs and tastes.
One of the last steps of the project is to take care of the details. Therefore, you could build really simple handles from 1×1 or 2×2 lumber. Round both sides of the handles, in order to create a better grip. Drill pilot holes, apply waterproof glue and insert the screws into place.
Use 1×12 for the seats, although this step is optional. Moreover, you could even attach small cushions or anything that suits your needs. Round all the edges either by using a sand-block or by using a router. Make sure everything is locked into place tightly and there are no sharp edges or screws that could hurt the kids.
Last but not least, you should take care of the finishing touches. In order to build a durable teeter-totter, you have to fill the holes with a good wood filler and smooth the surface with 120-grit sandpaper along the wood grain, after the compound has dried out.
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