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I'm trying raise a swing. A chain is attached to both sides of the swing seat and the topmost links are wider than the others to allow a carabiner to be used to attach the swing to the pole overhead. How could I go about widening one of the lower links so I could raise the swing?

I tried sticking needle-nose pliers through the links and pulling the handles apart, but there wasn't enough leverage to bend them.

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Just a thought, but maybe you could buy a slightly thinner carabiner to replace the ones that it came with so you can fit it throuugh. – JohnFx Jan 25 '12 at 2:09
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Instead of trying to stretch the link, could you use an anchor shackle?

Anchor shackle

The one in the image above is rated for 2000lbs.

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I think I'll give this a try. I called the manufacture and they said the swings are not meant to be adjusted (which is odd, especially considering how low they are). Of course this will void the warranty, but they're practically unusable as is. – Daniel Jan 30 '12 at 23:38

I'm going to assume the links have a split half-way up one side. For more leverage prying a link open, take 2 large wrenches (pipe-wrenches could work) and grab either end of a link. Push in opposite directions, across the split in the link. Reverse the same procedure to close the link again.

It sounds like you could maybe just change which links the carabiner goes through to shorten the chain. Alternatively, what is the bottom attachment like? Can you disconnect the seat and re-connect it higher? You could also consider adding a link/carabiner that jumps several existing links: connect the link below the existing carabiner to a link 5-6 further down.

Swings can involve quite a bit of force, and thus chains need to be fairly strong. If you can't shorten the chain moving the ends, you might have to find someone with proper chain modification tools.

EDIT to try to improve my instructions

(I am not an artist.)

Chain with marks for wrench locations

Position each wrench so it bites around the red or green circled area. The wrench handles will be perpendicular to the chain. It doesn't matter if the wrench is slightly loose when force is not being applied (this might be familiar if you've used a pipe wrench before), nor does it matter if you are biting partially on the adjacent link. When you move the wrench handles in opposite directions (again, perpendicular to the chain), the force will work between the wrenches. In many cases you can simply grab the links above and below the one you desire to open; although in practice that might open the adjacent links slightly. NOTE: the links in this image (and in many heavy-duty chains) are welded or fused. These links cannot be opened, they can only be cut.

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The links at the end of the chain are wider to allow the carabiner through. The carabiner won't fit through the other links (thus my need to widen them). I didn't think about moving the swing up--I'll take a look at how they're attached to see if that's possible. Another option is to purchase smaller carabiners that fit through the links, but I was trying to use what came with the swing. I'm not sure I follow your suggestion using wrenches. I need quite a bit of additional leverage to bend these links--muscle power alone won't do it. – Daniel Jan 24 '12 at 17:52
@Daniel that's why you need large wrenches amazing things these levers are – ratchet freak Jan 24 '12 at 18:05
Is it possible that instead of stretching the link (which will reduce the amount of force it can handle), the manufacturer added a different size link at the top? – Steven Jan 24 '12 at 18:28
@Steven: It's possible. Although it looks the same size, only a bit rounder, less elongated. – Daniel Jan 24 '12 at 18:53
Thanks for the edit. Now I know why I didn't understand your instructions initially--I need to widen the links, not elongate them. That is, I need to make them rounder. I'm sorry if my question wasn't clear. My links look identical to the ones in your image (i.e., they're fused/welded). Perhaps what I want to do is impossible, short of superhero abilities. – Daniel Jan 24 '12 at 20:05

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