Help building a tire swing...
August 24, 2007 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Logistics of building an indoor tire swing...

Okay, so I previously asked a Q on Ask about what to build in the middle of my loft. Tire Swing has won out. Now I'm just trying to figure out the best way to do this. Here's the situation:

There is already a bar between the beams in my ceiling which will more than support the swing and rider.

Now, the problems I have are:

A) what to use for the "rope" (important: strong, attractive, nice to hold on to for rider)
B) how best to attach the "rope" to the bar
C) what kind of tire to get (factors: strong, attractive, good size for a human to sit in it, doesn't warp when rider is in it pulling down on the "rope")
D) how to attach the tire to the "rope" so as not to warp the tire
E) if possible... easily "hidden" for a person who doesn't have a ladder in the loft

Solutions I've thought of that I'd like smarter people like yourself to comment on so that I don't fuck everything up:

A) Rope: chain or, best, I think, firehose

B & D) Attaching rope to bar and tire:
firehose: tie strong knot around bar and around tire
chain: paddlock it to itself

C) I have no clue--what should I look for in a tire? Where do I find a single tire? What do I ask the tire people when they say "what do you want"?

E) No clue... but using a padlock for D makes it easy to remove the tire.

Essentially what I'm picturing is a "rope" in the shape of a figure 8 with the bar in the top circle and a tire in the bottom. One or two padlocks secure the "rope" at the intersection of the two circles.

This is where you come in... thoughts? Suggestions? Advice? Will this work? Am I an idiot (regarding this idea)?
posted by dobbs to Media & Arts (16 answers total)
For rope go to a climbing store or a outdoors store and get rock climbing rope. Attractive and strong. Maybe get some webbing to attach to the tire. Firehose seems not strong enough to me. And padlocks don't have a lot of strength necessarily.

You could use a carabiner and attach it between webbing on the tire and rope from the ceiling. Carabiners are pretty strong - they are basically designed to hold the weight of climbers when they fall.
posted by GuyZero at 2:00 PM on August 24, 2007

Oh yeah, you live in Toronto... go to MEC and look at the rope and webbing selection. It should be pretty obvious.
posted by GuyZero at 2:01 PM on August 24, 2007

If you want a new tire, you can buy it anywhere. People commonly buy one tire, for a bad flat or to get a full-size spare. Most people build tire swings with used tires, but they're filthy.

To join the chain back to itself, I wouldn't use a padlock. They have big chunky pieces of metal made for this, that are probably cheaper.
posted by smackfu at 2:03 PM on August 24, 2007

Isn't all this planning contrary to the childhood fun of a tire swing? ;)

I'd find an old truck tire (something larger, of course), use climbing rope, or any other sort of rope that's rated for the weight of 2-3 people. Keep in mind that most modern climbing ropes will have a good amount of elasticity.

Seconding GuyZero's advice, head to a climbing shop, tell them what you're doing, and they can probably help you out.
posted by hobbes at 2:05 PM on August 24, 2007

Also, I don't know what your loft setup is nice, but you're gonna wanna watch out for the material rubbing while you swing. Something mechanical would probably be better for the swing point than a piece of rope rubbing against a bar.
posted by hobbes at 2:07 PM on August 24, 2007

Response by poster: Excellent suggestions! I can't believe I didn't think of MEC.

When I was a kid we built a swing from a firehose in the ravine and adults and kids swung on it which is what made me think of it. I don't know if it's relevant as it's talking about water but most ones I've seen are rated 250psi.

The rubbing part is also important of course. The firehoses I've seen are about 100' so I'd think I could just loop it around the bar numerous times (ceiling is 14.5').

Carabiner is an excellent suggestion--much better than padlock.
posted by dobbs at 2:12 PM on August 24, 2007

Watch out for tire skid marks on the wall.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:21 PM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'd try to find a swivel device and hang it from that. That way more than one person can fit on the swing, it can spin And swing. But I have no idea where you'd get one without the whole kit and caboodle.
posted by jeanmari at 2:35 PM on August 24, 2007

For storage - what about a pulley system that can pull the swing up out of sight?
posted by Nodecam at 2:43 PM on August 24, 2007

For a more kitschy look, you might want a big white-wall tire.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:57 PM on August 24, 2007

For a vertically oriented tire, to attach rope to tire, I would drill a hole in the middle of the tread. Put a good-sized piece of board, also drilled, behind this. Ideally, shaped and curved so it fits perfectly inside the tire, but if not, a 2 x 6 x 8 or 10 is probably about right for a truck tire. Feed rope through both holes, and tie it securely around a large sturdy washer that won't go through the hold. This makes the tire nicely balanced and looks a little more elegant than just rope tied around tire. This would work for a chain as well.
posted by beagle at 3:26 PM on August 24, 2007

Don't buy a tire, any tire shop will give you a used one for free. A half hour with a floor brush and some laundry soap will clean it up and then a few coats of armour all will help minimize black marks.

If the beam is exposed a ubolt mounted U up and a shackle thru the U would be cheap and effective. If the beam is flush with the ceiling you'll need to bolt something on. Personally I'd prefer a bracket that was in shear and bolted thru. The shackle could be used to remove the swing or you could attach your rope/chain to the shackle with a panic snap.
posted by Mitheral at 6:44 PM on August 24, 2007

I made a tire swing in the back yard for my kids a couple of months ago.

I used an old, junk tire. Yes, it was dirty, but the dirt wore off in the first couple of rains. Now it's as clean as you can reasonably expect the tire to be.

To hang it, I went to the hardware store and bought a 50' spool of 1/2 inch nylon rope. I measured the distance from the top of the tire to the tree branch, added a couple of feet for knotting, and cut the rope. Better too much than too little, obviously.

I first tied a loop in the end of the rope, threw it over the branch, and then pulled the rest of the rope through the loop.

Then I tied the tire up. IMPORTANT NOTE: Nylon stretches over time, not all at once. I originally hung the tire about 18 inches off the ground, and now it's only about 8 inches from the ground. I figure that if I have to untie the tire next year and re-hang it higher, it's not a big deal. But I'm pretty sure it's done stretching on its own.

Also probably not necessary for your case, but I got out my drill and a big bit and drilled holes in the bottom of the tire so that storms and sprinklers won't leave water in there.

The kids love it, and they play with it all the time. Oh, and the total expense for the project was about $15, all for the rope, of which I still have most left for another project. Good deal.

I dunno if any of this helps, but hey, worth a shot. Have fun!
posted by SlyBevel at 7:49 PM on August 24, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, all!
posted by dobbs at 8:34 PM on August 24, 2007

Rats. I realize my link didn't work very well. I had meant to link to the tire swivel. It creates a tire swing that looks like this.
posted by jeanmari at 5:20 PM on August 25, 2007

Remember to get a cloth belted rather than a steel belted tire. The wires on a steel belted tire stabbed me pretty good, once.
posted by jamjam at 8:18 PM on August 25, 2007

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