I was never a great wood craftsman. My own father died when I was young and the uncle who took me under his wings, MC Laird, was more of an electrical/mechanical kind of person. I subsequently wired a garage and greenhouse when I was 13 and there are school trailers in the valley which I wired together at 15, since his job was installing them. It's my skill set, if you will, but the whole wood and saw thing was something that I feared. However I decided to venture forward on this project, since the alternative was no swing at all. I meticulously measured my father-in-law's swing, cut my pieces nearly exactly with a few modification, but this time out of Redwood. As I did so, and knowing how much Cathy liked it, decided to cut two of everything with the intent to build one of my own. I used other weather durable products, cemented the uprights at my in-laws and my brother-in-law Bill helped me tweak the hanging of the new swing in 2002 and returned to its rightful place in my mother's-in-law back yard in Layton (Camelot - yea, that's the name of the street where she lives).
|Carlton with daughters Sarah and Jessica|
Construction of the swing was not an inexpensive endeavor, but a little while later, I assembled our swing at our first home in Rose Park. However, I committed a number of structural mistakes, including my setting of the footings and the back supports which keep the frame from rolling or rocking when you swing. Gradually, (there is probably a church talk in this) the footings came loose and while my nephew was swinging on it, the frame flipped forward and thankfully over his head came crashing down to the ground. This was about the same time as my mother's death in the summer of 2004. We decided to dismantle it, and move it to our soon to be home, next door, which is my family home that we purchased from my mother's estate. Since we were remodeling the home and trying to make it ours, I had plans to reinstall the swing soon after Mother's Day so Cathy could feel like our new home was more ours than that of my mother's. One thing led to another and the bench to the swing sat on its end in my garage for nearly eight years, along with some of the beams associated with the swing. This year I was determined to not let the summer start without having the swing go back up.
Not wanting to make the same mistakes as my first one, and realizing a few wrong calculations that my father-in-law didn't make, I special ordered a new longer top beam (the bench is 6'6" and my original top beam was only 8' long), I talked with my cousin, who is a contractor to make sure I did the footings right this time and engaged my brother-in-law Bill Nielsen again to help me through some of the logistical challenges of making some of the cuts and making sure this swing stood a LONG TIME. I spent a few late nights until 11 p.m. pouring footings, having the help of my brother Spence who was visiting and the help of my neighbor Brad Borden who came over to help me lift the top beam, but ended spending the whole night improving the design and helping me attach it. Yesterday, Saturday evening, I put the last bolt in and hung the last chain! And to boot, I even got a kiss out of the project and was able to sit with my sweetheart again!
|I always wanted a controversial picture on my blog!|