Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The Fort is Complete!
I (Mark) have been working tirelessly for the past 3 weeks to complete a fort for our boys. It’s designed to grow with them through the years, and each “play station” (ie: slide, rope ladder, etc) is removable and can be replaced with something more advanced later on. We wanted something that was fun and large, and yet did not encroach on the lawn or too much of the sand. Going with two towers in each back-corner of the sandbox seemed like the best approach. This also left room under them for shaded sand-play.
The holes went through a foot of sand then 3 feet of rocky soil. 50 lbs. of concrete held each pressure-treated twelve-foot 4x4. Then the basic framing was bolted on. I had to trim a few small branches, but for the most part I tried to keep the trees intact, growing around, above and through the fort.
My brother’s nail gun made putting up the fence boards a breeze.
80% of the lumber used was left-over from my parent’s house and fence. I put the full 6’ fence boards tight together on the back to give our neighbors privacy. For the rest, I cut each 6’ board into three 2’ boards, then did a decorative cut on the top with my table saw.
The basic structure is done. Now for the add-ons! After looking online, I thought I would have to spend $300 on a slide. Home Depot did not carry any. But then I tried Lowe’s. They have a great one for $90! And they had a lot of other inexpensive things too, like a swing, tarps, a rope ladder, and handles. I just finished installing all of those today. The slide, rope ladder and stairs all have large wood/concrete blocks buried under the sand to keep them secure.
All we have left to do is sand the whole thing then stain/seal it. When the boys get older, we plan on adding a rock wall, 3rd floor, zip/squirrel lines, and a trap-door to the ground level.
It has been an exciting project, and remarkably inexpensive, thanks to using mostly left-over lumber and bargain-hunting the add-ons. It is solid as a rock, and I know it will bring many summers of fun for the boys, their cousins and friends!