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Swinging with varied materials

19 Mar, 2017

Swinging with varied materials

Swinging with varied materials


One of the most iconic images of relaxing outdoors is a swing. Children moving back and forth suspended in the air, kicking at just the right time to add momentum and keep gliding through the air. Adults relaxing on a bench supported in the air so they can sway with the breeze and enjoy the moment. The gentle movement comforting them as the world takes a moment to breathe. Fast or slow, swinging is a simple and enjoyable experience for all ages. Most don’t have a very broad view of swings, thinking only of a plank of wood or perhaps a short bit of rubber to sit on between a couple cords or chains. In truth, swings can be so very much more.

As hinted at earlier, swings are far more than just a board with ropes. Swings come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, all purpose built for a certain activity. The most common idea is hanging from a sturdy bar in a playground or off a playset in a big backyard. That is true enough, but a swing can also be a broad bench angled to let you recline slightly. Often, these are built to attach to the roof of a porch, and let you swing idly from the comfort of your own deck. Some don’t even have a defined way to ride them- a net allows for a degree of freedom in play or sensation as a child feels the net support them differently. What a swing is made of can also vary wildly, depending on the purpose. Wood is common, but so is plastic or fabric for web swings.

Classic wood

As the traditional material, the benefits of wood are well known. Often, this is the material thought of for not only swings, but more elaborate swing sets. Choosing wood compliments a ‘natural’ look, with a palette of earth tones to compliment the look of your home. Wood provides a vast array of styles and specific species to give a varied look to your swing. Many different types of wood are used, such as variants of cedar, redwood, or pine. Pricing for wooden tree swings can be relatively inexpensive depending on what sort of durability and investment you are interested in. This material also provides a host of different choices in how your swing will be made. Unique features are easy to accommodate, which lets owners decide if any artistic flair is desired. Straight swings, ones with a slant to one side, or some personalized custom option are relatively easy to accomplish. Wooden creations are easy to repair as well, as the nature of the material is easy to obtain and replace any rotten or broken sections.

As a longstanding material, wood also has had time to determine significant issues. Wooden creations often require frequent maintenance including painting or tightening of screws and bolts. The natural material also means it is vulnerable to pests looking for a home. Wasps or bees make their homes in wood, so being careful for pests can be a constant concern. One method to mitigate this is to use pressure or chemical treatments to the wood. Such can make it more durable and less-likely to be infested, but chemicals and treatments create issues of their own.

Sturdy plastic

Choosing a non-traditional material can offer different benefits and drawbacks. For instance, plastic swings can be made in a variety of styles and colors to be more customized to an immediate look. It also requires far less maintenance, often just a quick rinse with a hose. Unlike wood, plastic presents no concern for splinters and a very durable nature. Plastic is a very safe option for outdoor swings, particularly for younger children with a lightweight and strong construction. It also tends to be less expensive. Such details make it very attractive for smaller children, but it does have some negative aspects. Plastic tends to do better with younger children but not hold attention with older kids. Aesthetically, it also presents some lackluster design. No matter how well-molded it is, all ages are very aware that this is still not wood or some other material. Plastic always looks and feels unmistakably like plastic.

Cradling fabric webs

Something non-traditional can open a lot of doors for imaginative play. Instead of a seat, this type of swing is suspended with four points in a more broad shape like a circle. Inside that shape is a net of plastic or fabric creating a net area for somebody to sit. Often, these are large enough for several people to ride at once, creating a more inviting situation for friends to swing together. For those seeking vestibular stimulation, this does even more to satisfy that sensation than other swings. With the several points of support, these swings are more apt to go in multiple directions. In this case, the benefits are also the limitations of a swing of this type. A net swing requires far more support. The same level of support as other swings can do for a single person, but the nature of the broader seat means you should be ready to support far more weight. Most swings also go in a single direction, but the more universal arc of this swing means it requires far more room to maneuver. Most do come with padding around the ring to prevent harm, but inertia can still do damage to walls or support structures.

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