Sky Fort Day 11: Conclusion of the saga…

We did it!  The Sky Fort is complete.  Everything was wrapped up in about 30 minutes before dinner late this afternoon.

There was only two things left to do today.  (1) Attach the swings:

The swings gave us the only criticism we had for the entire set (which is mirrored by a lot of people out there in cyberspace).  The three swings provided (2 regular and 1 glider) are really way to close together.  When we installed all three, we realized there was only about 6-8 inches of space between the swings.  With two little ones as active and grabby as ours, that was a recipe for disaster.  So we kept the glider and the furthest swing.  It would have been awesome had the manufacturer provided about a foot of space between swings, but we understand why they didn’t.  Looking at the support beam, that would have added 3 feet to the length of this already massive beam.  This would have caused logistical problems: the boxes they shipped in would have had to be bigger, thus incurring higher shipping costs and weight; the beam would be heavier, thus requiring more supports and lock downs to the fort; likewise the support braces would probably have to have been beefed up, and the sprialing costs continue.  While we understand why they did what they did, we still wished there was some way to make it better.

So, we’re going to get a toddler swing (you know, one of those little seat-like swings) and install it in the middle section, and put it higher up so it’s more comfortable for us to push Kylie, and make it out of reach for Keaton when he’s on the glider or regular swing.  Problem solved!

(2) Attach the slide.   Again, this was not complicated, but it was a bit of a wiggle to get the silde into just the right spot.  The instructions aren’t all that clear.  They tell you to put part R3 (a cleat) 4″ back from the front of the porch, then to put the slide on top of that.  Simple, right?  Well, the slide doesn’t fit on top of R3 unless you pull the edge past R3.  But then, the question becomes how far back do you go?  There’s these convenient little lips on the edge of the slide that fit nicely against the porch to make everything flush…but that makes it too close for R3 to fit under the slide.  So, in the end, we decided to do it the way we wanted and made it fit.  Drilled some holes, attached some bolts with last of the barrel nuts and washers and it was done!

We still have to go back and add the anchors to the monkeybars side, but that’s not exactly critical as no one is big enough to use the monkeybars yet.  We’ll get to it when we figure out how to attach the anchors we bought…

Next we had to clean up and introduce the kids to the new, fully armed and operational Sky Fort (inset evil Emperor chuckle here).  Needless to say, when unleashed (and we got this on video for the grandparents) they went bonkers.  Keaton ran screaming all the way down the hill to the fort and immediately climbed up saw the crows nest:

Then went right up onto the highest part of the fort:

He was thrilled to see the telescope up there!

Not to be left behind, Kylie made her way up the ladder unassisted and pushed him out of the way as he was coming down from the crows nest so she could get up.

While Keaton played on the glider swing—or “pirate swing” as he calls it—Kyile decided to break in the slide by going up it backwards.

Yeah.  Cool thing is, the slide is so deep that the walls are perfectly sized handholds for her to go right up.  She seems to enjoy getting to the top, then laying down and sliding down backwards on her stomach.  Rediculous, but that’s how she rolls.

After the kids wore themselves out and everyone had a good dinner and bedtime stories, they passed the heck out real quick.  I got the inaugural  fire going (man, the shavings from my workbench and the hand planes make INCREDIBLE kindling…stuff went up like it was soaked in lighter fluid!) in our fire pit (heretofore used as a collection area for random broken branches found in the yard and some weeds).  We sat back and basked in the warm glow of the fire and watched the stars come out, knowing that we had done good with the Sky Fort.  That is one solid piece of engineering.   We can’t recommend it enough for how well built and easy to build it was.

And for some reason, fires always make roasted marshmallows taste better…or maybe it’s other things…

Anyway, thanks for reading this blog and coming along with us for the Sky Fort ride.  If you’ve had a few laughs and liked what you saw, you may want to check out my woodworking blog.  It won’t be updated as often as the Sky Fort blog was, but it’ll be ongoing.   I’m mid-process of transferring my old genealogy blog to WordPress and I will soon get my astronomy project up and running, because man, I got some dark skies.    As an example, we saw a satellite  the Milky Way and a shooting star tonight, with the fire half blinding us…without the fire, it must be pitch black up here!

So thanks again for stopping by and we hope this blog helps anyone out there as much as other blogs have helped us in deciding to buy, build and enjoy the Sky Fort!

Build Time Today: 45 minutes.

TOTAL BUILD TIME: 38 hours, 30 minutes.*

* “2 skilled men 24 hours” my ass!  It took two strong, intelligent adults with a Masters Degree and a Law Degree almost 40 hours…do not take the construction of this beast lightly!

About Steven M. Vaught

A native son of Delaware, now living in Illinois, Steven is a writer, family historian, amateur astronomer, sometimes-gardener, woodworker, father to three wonderful children, husband to a wonderful wife, and caretaker of one cheeky vizsla.
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