So, how does one get from a play area for their children to the construction of such a colossal yard ornament? I guess it's just my nature. It started as a thought to build a normal play structure with a tire swing, a chain bridge, a place up high, and room for their imaginations to soar. I'm not really certain when I snapped, er, um, first envisioned a ship. The thing that I didn't like about most "made for home" bridges was that they started at the play set and went... nowhere. I guess maybe that lead to wanting two structures separated by the bridge, and then a ship, then the tire swing off the bow mast, a crows nest, etc. About an hour later, I had what became the complete blueprint for the ship (see Ship Construction).
I believe that I got started on the project in early September and finished the first phase near the end of October (though I seem to remember it drifting a tad into November). I pretty much to committing those portions where the kids could get easily hurt prior to knocking off for the long Michigan Winter. It was almost two years later that I descended upon the ship to add the sail, tire swing, slide, rat rope, additional safety items, and the flag (not seen in these photos). I also added a glider down the back side of the ship in a space that couldn't be used for much of anything else. It fits perfectly. As you can see below, the tire swing is commercial grade. Every component was tested with my large gravitational force before the kids were allowed to use them.
This photo didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. It shows my son's soccer team on board at our fall party. The best part about the ship now is watching it get used heavily. The treated-wood fence that surrounds our playground was my first big woodworking project. I had a lot of help on that and learned a ton. The swing set (which got chopped off in most pictures) was the first play structure that I built. It was modeled after one that I had seen on Sesame Street, though it was made from redwood 12x12s. Alas, I did have a budget and 6x6s would have to do. After successfully surviving the renovation of our house, I had a lot of confidence that The Pirate Ship could - and should - be built. Believe it or not, and it makes me kinda sick, but we will be building a new house in the next few years and I'll have to leave this trophy behind (it is definitely not movable - see Ship Construction).