Mon 25 Sep, 2006 03:52 pm
OK, so we're making the world's most humungous swing in the back yard. It's going to hang from a branch about 60-70 feet up.* I got the idea when the tree trimmers who were working in the tree (a ginormous old cottonwood) left the rope they'd been using to get up there to trim (they just shimmied right up, then worked from within the tree). I asked them if they would attach a holder rope -- just some clothesline -- to their rope and hoist it through the same spot when they were done. Then we will attach our rope to the clothesline, et voila.
Here's what I got from the tree guys:
- The branch the swing will hang from is super strong and can hold a LOT of weight. No reason to worry about kids piling on the swing, or grownups using it occasionally (it looks fun!!)
- Nylon is NOT recommended. Too likely to saw away at the branch.
- 5/8ths of an inch and up width for the rope is recommended.
- They seem to think in general it's a good idea. (As in, it's not that ANY rope will saw at the branch and damage it.)
They were super nice to give me this much advice and hoist the clothesline (they actually moved the whole thing into a slightly better spot, too), and they were busy, so I didn't press. And now they're gone. But I'd like to know what kind of rope IS recommended, if not nylon. Cotton?
Any other advice, in terms of some sort of rope that is more likely to stand up the the elements and not harm the tree?
*I'd thought it was 50 feet, but they had to use two 100-foot lengths of clothesline. The whole tree must be more like 80-100 feet tall, since this branch isn't even that close to the top.
I think you want a good hemp rope. Your local hardware store should carry it.
This says hemp will rot:
I definitely plan to ask at the hardware store, but I've had too many experiences where the "experts" there don't know what they're talking about, so hope to arm myself ahead of time.
This says that a rubber tube around the rope where it is in contact with the tree will help protect the tree, and probably extend the life of the rope, too -- I was thinking it would be impossible to get it up there, but I could probably knot the rope on either side to keep it in place.
Oops, nope, it says that "natural-fiber manila rope" will rot. Is hemp rot-resistant?
I'd go for something with tensile strength of at least 300 pounds. Years ago I remember reading about a disasterous tug of war in which a rope with 1000 pounds of tensile strength was subjected to three tons of manpower, pull power.
How about hemp rope treated with tar? Go to a boat supply shop. They must have ropes designed to weather the weather.
Alas, I have no idea.
I'd be toying with some way to keep any rope from getting into the branch - and, er, how ya gonna check that...
you don't want to girdle the branch, as it is still growing.
So, looking back on my own garden fooling around, I often put wire through tygon tubing, which I remember from my lab days, a thick see through tubing all around the wire as it looped, so that cutting wasn't happening.
In this case, if you use thick rope, I don't have a clue what kind of flexible sleeve you might use. Or, even if this is a good idea.
You might pay a certified arborist, preferably a well regarded one, for an hour consult, asking the question first of course. If you call one, maybe that person would pick up the phone and just answer your question to get you out of his or her hair (or not).
Maybe there is some kind of collar device for a swing...
Maybe Green Witch has an idea...
The arborist - maybe your trimmer does work for an arborist or is one.
I'd want to be assured re the strength of the branch.
Although, anyone read the Virginian? the hanging in that book was from a cottonwood...
The trimmer is an arborist and was absolutely "pshaw" about the branch being strong enough. He said something about 1,000 pounds.
I went through this with a tree in Naperville (never worked out, no branches that were strong enough that didn't involve slamming into a trunk), and actually bought some flexible tubing that I probably still have somewhere. Got it at Home Depot or something, it definitely exists if I want more.
The "branch" in question is about 18-24 inches in diameter (just looked).
I goofed, I meant to add that I did that when double or triple staking young trees.
Well, if the guy's a cert. arborist, good for you for hiring them in the first place. And then, I might either just call and ask him - or offer to pay him another hour or portion thereof for help re the rope, spacing, weight of seat, and so on (this item shouldn't just fly with the breeze...)
He's $75/ hour... tried to get as much out of him as I could when he was here. He was definitely fine with the general idea. Main caveat was no nylon.
General idea and also specific placement -- they moved it to a slightly better place for a swing than where their rope happened to be.
Does look good, thanks!
I repeat: Find a local store that deals with boats and you'll find someone who knows about ropes in the weather.
You're probably quite right. We're awfully landlocked around here, not sure how plentiful boat stores are -- but there's bound to be something.
If you want something that will last forever, maybe you should consider chain.
Funny how perceptions vary.
Columbus always seemed very water-y to me. The Scioto and all that - annual flooding ...
Most of the little afternoon trips Set and I took around there took us to some kinda river - and we camped at Alum Creek.
In any case, there are quite a few marinas around (ahh, and I just recalled gelisgeti, who lives near-ish to Columbus, posting pix of himself in some kinda boat back in Abuzz days)
In any case, these guys (about 7 miles north of town on High Street) have rope of all sorts
I don't care if he likes nylon for this or not; I do. It's quite weather resistant, and shouldn't saw the branch - certainly not like kevlar (which is way expensive anyway). A marine supplier will probably have polyproplyn because it floats, and dacron, both of which are quite weather resistant.
The only problems with nylon are that it does stretch under load, and it stretches even mor when wet. Maybe hemp would be the best bet, considering the stretchiness of nylon.
No advice soz, but I'd love to see a picture of the swing in action.
Swings are cool.
Rivers, oops. Yeah. I don't think of rope-needing boats on rivers, though, sailing ships and such -- to the gal who grew up in the land of 10,000 lakes, we're landlocked. :-)
Thanks for the find.
Thanks for the extra nylon info, Roger.
E.G.'s going to have a final go-over with the head guy (and certified arborist) and settle the bill, and will ask a bit more then, see what we can find out.
Will consider chain, especially maybe that kind that's wrapped in plastic -- has to be pricey to get 150 feet of it. Maybe some sort of combo.
Will take pics, Chai!