08 July 2008

Swing and a Miss

On the fourth of July, I helped my mom put a porch-swing together. Okay, it would be more accurate to say that I put it together and she occasionally ran to grab me tools. The directions were poorly written, but I got most of it figured out due to good packaging and decent labelling of the parts ... with one exception. I got the arms of the swing on the wrong sides. There were, in fact, labels on them: "left" and "right" respectively, but they were on what would be the top of the arm, and I was attaching them up-side down and hence did not see them. A few things were going together oddly, but the reason didn't become apparent to me until we got the bench up-right and suspended from the frame. Then I saw the labels, and the odd angles things had connected at suddenly made sense.

So on Sunday I had to take the bench apart again. Because of the mistake, two of the bolts had bent, and even if I could have gotten them back through the holes (getting them out was difficult enough), it didn't seem wise to rely on bent screws to support the swing's weight. So we went to Lowe's to find a replacement. Naturally, the size we needed was not in their inventory (2.75" long, 1/4" bore). There was a three-inch set of two nuts and bolts with the correct bore, so we got those.

This afternoon, I went over and re-attached the support arms, using the two non-bent original screws and the two replacements. It seems to work just fine, and the arms are not going out at funny angles this time. So if anyone else happens to be putting such a swing together and sees bizarre angles, STOP and make sure that you've got things on the correct side(s). Oh, a ratchet is a good tool to have around for it, too. The set came with itty-bitty wrenches that fit the bolts, but it's much faster to get them most of the way with the ratchet.

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