8 Hours

Our swing set instruction manual predicts complete assembly in 6-8 hours.

Swing Set Hour 5: Way more complicated to get to this point than you'd expect.

We’ve been at it at least 21 hours, not including the 3 hours my husband spent sorting and labeling parts, and while we have made good progress, we are nowhere near finished.

And yet our swing set instruction manual says we should have finished this project 13-15 hours ago.

This is what our swing set actually looked like at the 12 hours of labor ago. Totally done, right?

We knew our instruction manual would lie about the amount of time it would take to build the swing set. We are no strangers to this phenomenon, plus everything we read on the internet warned us about this fact. All of our friends whined about how time-consuming their own swing sets were to build. So when I read the 8 hour time prediction, I couldn’t help but laugh.

The prediction is just so ridiculous. Just looking at all the pieces that came with the kit, you can see that there’s no way that 8 hours will finish the project. There are 390 screws, 42 tee nuts, 99 washers and 72 bolts that need to be properly placed on an insane amount of wood and tightened in sometimes awkward positions.  That’s 603 specific pieces that need to be put in place, not including any of the wood or plastic.

My husband, our noble hero, drills the 350th-ish piece of hardware thus far.

What I figure is that Gorilla (our swing set company) did some mathematical equation that resulted in giving us 1 1/4 minutes per screw/bolt/what have you, and this equation resulted in 8 hours… but not everyone will take 1 1/4 minutes to use a drill, so clearly they needed to deduce 2 hours for the people who are better with tools than we are (every time I use screw, tool or wood in a sentence, I feel a little dirty).

This leaves no time for the stuff you REALLY need to do when building a swing set– like figuring out what unlabeled piece is what, finding it, assembling it correctly, making sure things are level, realizing you lost a screw in the grass, reading and rereading and RErereading the instructions and much more.

"Is this ladder level?" he thought and then continued to stare at it for 20 minutes.

We’re definitely making progress on the swing set (and by “we”, I mean 90% my husband 10% or less me thanks to childcare obligations and a shortage of tools), but we have a long way to go even after 21 hours. It will forever remain a mystery to me why manufacturers (AND chefs for that matter) can’t be honest about the construction times. The truth is ugly when it comes to these time commitments, but wouldn’t it help us all schedule our projects better if we knew how long it would REALLY take?

I know it LOOKS almost done, but trust me it is not.

Tomorrow: Hey Gorilla, short people build swing sets too!

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  1. Pingback: Not for Short People | Creative Kids Play

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