The Rainbow Project

In the middle of July, a neighbor posted their Rainbow swing set for sale. It wasn’t in the greatest condition, but it had potential. Luckily for me I have [some] skills and, more importantly, some great in-laws with SKILLZ.

DAY 1: Friday

This is the starting point. Best I could tell its between 5-8years old, had never been stained, and was currently sitting several inches below an overwatered squishy lawn. The base timbers on the main platform were beyond hope, but from what I could see and inspect the rest of the wood and parts were in good condition. It just needed a lot of love. While Rachel watched the kids for me, disassembly and transport started.

This is the one piece I had to put on my back and walk back to my house. It was only a couple of blocks but i drew some confused looks from some nearby roofers. Every other part I managed to fit in the back of the van and make several trips back and forth.

Remember when I said everything looked to be in good condition? Yeah that didn’t last. “Dammit” moment 1. While dissembling I discovered a small any colony had moved into the deck. I’d have to figure this out…

The current owners seemed to be very wary about me moving the swing, by myself, without destroying their lawn. I think I managed that beyond their expectations.

After about 3 hours of manual labor all of the part resided in our front lawn.

The remainder of day 1 was spend power washing each piece until to could see wood again instead of a layer of moss and lichen. The cleaned swing set enjoyed bathing in the sun to dry. (note my second “Dammit” moment of breaking the steering wheel in the top right picture)


This is what I called my “Dammit All” pile. Its all the wood that, on first pass I deemed lost causes.

I spent the morning at Menards navigating the lumberyard for replacements. The only piece they didn’t have in stock was a 10 foot 4×6 to replace the one the ants had munch on. The rest would replace the entire deck, base timbers, and a couple 2×4 that attached to the deck.

Enter Troy Roering. While our amazing wives wrangled all the children at the pool Troy and I sanded. And sanded. And sanded. After 9 hours every square inch of wood had lost a few millimeters of surface and the wood revealed its beautiful cedar color.

Being short one 4×6 timber Troy took on the project of salvaging one of the “Dammit All” boards. He cut out all of the ant colony, sanded, glued, and patched the space with a new cedar 2×4.


It was staining day! The Roerings returned and Mike and Michele joined them! Troy and I stained throughout the day while Mike used his expertise to rebuild the deck and salvaged even more of the “Dammit All” pile to rebuild the base under the slide. Finally, at the end of the day We began reassembling the not-quite-dried-but-still-finished pieces.

Everything is finally back together and looking good.

Day 4

Detail time. First up, Amazon delivered a replacement to my destroyed wheel. The kids helped to install. Michaela was quite worried that it would rain and insisted on bring an umbrella.

The rope ladder was in very tough condition and quite uneven. After struggling and failing to untie the knots Andrea pointed out that rope is cheap and I could just replace it. FOREHEAD SLAP. A trip to Home Depot turned into workshop hosted by me to the employees on the methodology of heat cutting and sealing rope. Once home, the old rope was sliced and diced and the new rope restrung.

Michaela was a huge help in reassembling the climbing wall. She designed and placed all of the stone to ‘ensure a safe yet feasible climb’.

The last thing was the tired swing. Overall great condition, it just left black streaks on everything it touched. I had a nightmare about the laundry it would create. A quick google and the solution was easy. Powerwash, scrub with dish soap, dry overnight, then spray paint black. The result was a glossy stain-free tire.

Finally, after days of watching the swing come together and being told not to touch it the kids were allowed to play!

A huge thank-you to the Roerings, Mike, Michele and Rachel. ¬†Without their time, skill, ingenuity, and willingness to help I’d still a pile of wood parts in my front yard. Thanks for the help, thanks for watching the kids, and making sure that everyone stayed hydrated and got something to eat.

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