Wooden Climbing Frames and Swing Sets: Know about Wood
In recent years timber has become a popular choice for outdoor toys. For reasons of affordability and the environment, softwood rather than hardwood is used by all wood playset manufacturers.
Most of our playset range is now made from planed square timber rather than round wood. TP chooses FSC certified Pine or Spruce from Scandinavia or the Baltic States. Playsets made from Chinese Fir, native to China, are also readily available in the UK. You will immediately tell the difference between the two woods. TP Pine is characteristised by its light, golden colour and is very distinct from the Chinese fir which tends to be stained a reddish-brown. If you held a similarly sized piece of TP Scandinavian Pine in one hand and Chinese Fir in the other hand, you would note immediately the TP Pine felt much heavier. The TP wood is denser; its growth rings are closely packed together compared to the Chinese alternative.
TP Pine is cut, air dried, planed and then kiln dried before being pressure treated with an environmentally friendly preservative (osmose or tanalith E). This preservative penetrates deep into the wood, right into its centre, rather than simply being applied to the surface. This means our performance guarantees do not rely upon the annual application of a stain to the surface of the wood. Of course, you can stain your TP wood if you wish to with a suitable water based stain but it is not necessary to maintain its resistance to wood rot or to ensure your guarantee remains valid. Guarantees on TP wood products vary by range; please check individual products for detailed information.
Chinese Fir is not pressure treated; a surface stain in generally applied that will require renewal. We recommend you carefully check the maintenance and warranty requirements for any wood playframe before you buy.
Over time, without staining , TP wood will mature to a silvery grey colour that blends well into your garden and will provide years of fun for your children
Maintaining your wood playset
Wood: an organic material
Each piece of timber is unique, bearing its own knots, cracks and variations in colour. This is part of its beauty. However, as a natural organic material, it will change over
time, as it reacts to variations in atmospheric conditions. Softwood will expand and contract with fluctuations in temperature and humidity. In warm, sunny weather timber will shrink. In wet weather it will expand. As these physical changes do not take place uniformly throughout the wood, stresses are set up which result in cracks and splits opening up. These cracks can be both wide and deep and are more likely in round wood than square wood, although they will occur in both.
Square wood: characteristics and maintenance advice
Most TP playsets are now made from square wood . Wooden climbing frames and wooden swing sets made from square cut timbers will contain less heartwood than the round timbers. This will reduce instances of cracking and splitting when compared with round wood but cracks and splits will still occur. You can be reassured that TP wood playsets are dimensioned and designed to ensure that this has no effect on their structural integrity. However, it is important for safe play that your wooden climbing frame or wooden swing is regularly checked. Any areas affected by spilintering or lifting should be rubbed down with coarse sandpaper to restore a smooth surface suitable for wood playsets.
Round wood: characteristics and maintenance advice
Round timbers come from smaller trees contain heartwood surrounded by sapwood . They are subject to significant cracking. Whilst this can sometimes seem alarming, the TP wood playsets (wooden climbing frame and wooden swing sets) are dimensioned and designed to ensure that this has no effect on their structural integrity. However as a result of this characteristic, you should be prepared to check your playset regularly so as to identify any splintering or lifting of the surface layers of the wood. Any affected areas can be rubbed down using coarse sandpaper to restore a smooth, safe surface.
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