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Swingset Between Trees

As part of my upcoming tree house build, I intend to install a swing-set between two trees.  These trees stand apart and are unrelated to the rest of my build. The trees are 12 ft apart. I want to do it right; however, it seems like overkill to use 1 inch lag bolts and heavy duty tree house sliding brackets meant to hold up much larger structures (and which would cost nearly $200). I assume I will use a pressure treated 4x6 as the swing beam, but that is up for discussion.  At 12 feet, the swing-set will probably hold three swings. The swing beam will be mounted about 7 feet off the ground. If anyone has any insights or thoughts, my questions are:
  1. What size swing beam should I use? 
  2. Can I use 3/4 lags for this part of the project?
  3. Are there any commercial brackets I can use pr re-purpose?
  4. Can I make a bracket by threading the lag bolt through some pipe and then a u-bolt around the pipe and through the swing beam?     


  • UPDATE: 

    I decided to reverse engineer a "tree house bolt" and sliding bracket the best I could with commercially available materials.  For the swing beam, I decided to use a PT 4 x 6.

    For the tree house bolt, I used twelve inch 3/4 lags.  I then put the lag through a six inch piece of galvanized threaded pipe with two floor flanges on either end of the pipe (with two fender washers).  I used a 3" forstner bit to drill into the tree and placed a hockey puck against the heartwood.  I drilled a 3/4" hold through the middle of the hockey puck.  I then pre-drilled and sunk the 12" lag (with galvanized pipe) tight against the hockey puck, about 6 inches into the tree.  I sprayed everything with LeakSeal for some additional corrosion resistance.  

    Once the beam was placed on top of the protruding bolts, I used 1/2"  4" x 7" square U bolts to attach the beam to the bolts.  Now, if the trees sway, at least there is a couple inches of play on either bolt. 
    Pictures are attached.  I apologize the hockey puck is not visible. I will be adding a eye-through bolt and secondary wire as a safety.    

    The cost per setup was around $22.  

    I will be making more of these of anyone is interested or has comments.   
    2448 x 3264 - 4M
    2448 x 3264 - 4M
  • I'm planning on doing this. How's it holding up?
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