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What hardware should I use to connect a 4x6 to the top of a 4x4?

Edit: To assuage some confusion, I already have a bracket for the a-frame end, the aptly-named swing set bracket. What I need is a bracket for the circled connection. Yes, it's for a swing set. I could've sworn including a picture and circling exactly what I'm talking about and putting in the swing tag would've helped, but it's apparently still pretty confusing 🤷‍♂️

Like this:

Like this

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  • What kinds of loads is this expected to carry? For half a ton of rainwater (dead weight, spread across four uprights), I used lap joints and construction screws, though lag bolts might have been a better choice. If this is intended to carry a swing, forces go in other directions and are dynamic.
    – keshlam
    Mar 24, 2023 at 19:41
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    Yes, as shown, it's a swing. No rainwater will be an issue. I had hoped using a picture of literally exactly what I'm building would help, but I guess not? Which is why I I need to know what kind of connector to use. The other end is easy enough, they make aptly named swing set brackets in the right size for the two 4x4 and one 4x6 beams, but not at this end.
    – Justin
    Mar 24, 2023 at 19:51
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    Consider sandwiching the beam between the A-frame members like most other designs do. This transfers some load to the friction connection rather than relying solely on the shear fasteners in the crossblock.
    – isherwood
    Mar 24, 2023 at 20:22
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    Are you sure you just want a 4x4 for that post? Any kind of swing action is going to put a lateral load on the post and cause it to sway back and forth.
    – SteveSh
    Mar 25, 2023 at 1:56
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    Considering the play structure is built on 4x4s, yes. The 4x4 moving isn't what's worrying me since it's just one of like 8 others that the play structure is built on, rather the connection between the 4x4 and the 4x6, which is why I came here to ask what kind of bracket there is for doing it
    – Justin
    Mar 25, 2023 at 3:21

3 Answers 3

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I would place 18" 2x4s on each side of that connection point and use 5 through bolts, washers and nuts to secure it. Put 2 bolts above the lap and three bolts below, all staggered. Angle cut the bottom of each 2x4 for appearance.

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  • I edited that into my answer.
    – JACK
    Mar 24, 2023 at 20:36
  • OP could also get some 1/4" steel plates made and do the same thing.
    – SteveSh
    Mar 25, 2023 at 1:54
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I would build this out with the A frame on both ends if the horizontal beam. That will provide much better support for the types of forces that swings exert on to the beam. You can do this easily and effectively uncouple the swing set from what appears to be a corner of a raised deck.

Future flexibility is a strong factor here. Families needing back yard swings change with the passage of years and moving, selling or removing the free-standing swing structure will be much easier.

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  • The free standing play structure is built already, and the swing beam is being attached to one end of it. Why is everyone more worried about what's not shown in the picture I found on the internet instead of what I'm actually asking, which I circled? I'm so confused. I would rather not tear down what I've already built.
    – Justin
    Mar 25, 2023 at 3:17
  • My suggestion still stands. The separate swing structure with two A frames is far superior and far far more flexible for future considerations. Sorry if you do not want to hear about better ways of doing things.
    – Michael Karas
    Mar 25, 2023 at 22:28
  • I came here asking a specific question, not for your suggestion, but thanks anyway.
    – Justin
    Mar 25, 2023 at 22:39
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I would use this.

The first comment shows a pic of the unit attached to an upright member as you have. With the comment that it works great for the grand childrens' swing.

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  • Thanks for the recommendation, but this seems to be for attaching the 4x6 to one side of the 4x4, not on top of it like I'm looking for. I'm sure there's a Simpson bracket that does what I need but I guess I can't find the right search terms to find it.
    – Justin
    Mar 24, 2023 at 21:27
  • If the post isn't there yet, make it taller and attache to the side.
    – RMDman
    Mar 24, 2023 at 21:46
  • If you're in the US, search home depot's site for "simpson strong-tie 4x6" and you'll get a whole list. Including this one: homedepot.com/p/…
    – aghast
    Mar 24, 2023 at 21:46
  • The post is there already. I'm adding a swing set to a play set. Are you saying it will be better to attach it to the side instead of on top? The bracket aghast suggested doesn't look as strong as the one you suggested, but neither appears to allow through bolts to be used, and that worries me. I'm already using through bolts on all the other brackets, including on the a-frame side. I feel better about the stability of anything that uses through bolts.
    – Justin
    Mar 24, 2023 at 22:14
  • My thought is that the act of swinging is more likely to make the beam move off the top of a post. If attached to the side the weight is supported by bolts. ( you can use a couple of through bolts and one through the beam.) The bolts will hold the weight of the beam and quite a few kids swinging unless they bring their pet elephants with them. 2 of the first 3 comments were people that used the bracket for a swing set. So there is real world use that supports it.
    – RMDman
    Mar 24, 2023 at 22:22

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