I'm building a swing set for my 3 year old.

My plan is to make a standard simple A-frame swing from PT timber. I intend to use a similar plan to the one which is shown here Plans for building a simple swing set out of wood


The A-Frames will be constructed of 2x4 timber (I will mate extra 2x4s when required at a later date, to make the legs 4x4)


For the beam, I intend to laminate 2 2x4s to make a 4x4 (this will be 8' or 2.4m long)

My question is, how strong would this swing set be?

What would the maximum load be?

  • 1
    I would not use 2x4's at all, I would wait until i could get 4x4's and at least a 4x6 beam. NO i do not think it will be safe.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 16:37
  • Thanks. But doesn't sistering/mating timber increase the strength, i.e. 2 sistered 2x4s would be stronger than 1 4x4? Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 16:39
  • Rob it really depends on the quality of the lumber, 2x4 that are graded #2 I would use for a play structure, maybe,, not a swing though. (I work in a mill small log recovery) today’s 2x 4 can have as few as 6 rings that is not a lot of strength , If building from wood I would want peeler poles, these are the center of much older trees that were used for plywood these poles will have a much higher density (more rings). The last swing set I made I used metal pipe because I don’t trust the wood like I did 40 years ago when I made my daughters swing, or 20 for granddaughters. Both still standing
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 17:20
  • I would use at least (2) 2x6's, 3 if you have it. Then fasten them with screws, not nails.
    – represton
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 17:31
  • You may want to look at this answer to another recent swing set question for some ideas. Certainly not a duplicate, but strongly related.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


I would build an A frame swing set, I have built 3 the oldest one still standing after 40 years is heavy timber concreted in the ground, the a frame is notched and thru bolted still in use at my moms house.

The second one I used pealer poles 4” for the legs 8’ long but 1 foot embedded in concrete with a 6x8 beam . Again I through bolted my a frame and made the wedges so I could bolt the beam on top. That has been there for 20 years and although it is still used it is not in as good shape as the older one.

My last swing set was for grandson #11 I went to galvanized pipe “A” frame and welded it is much taller than the others but the older kids like it also, again the legs are embedded in concrete,

I work in the lumber industry and if I was going to build another wood swing I would only use old telephone poles as heavy rough lumber is nuts today. And finding quality tight grain wood is just about non existent at least for a 2 generation maybe 3 generation swing. I know my first will make it with the 3rd. the second will if they take care of it and tar the top so it won’t rot as the beam is less than half the beam on the original.

  • No reason for the 2 down votes guess those can’t -vote
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 22:51

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