Know about Wood

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. Each piece of timber is unique, bearing its own knots, cracks and variations in colour.

TP –FSC Certified Pressure Treated Pine Wood- no need to stain

TP chooses FSC certified Pine or Spruce from 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.

Round Wood or Square Wood? Choosing and Maintaining your TP Wood Playframe

TP offer 2 types of wood play frame: The rustic round wood frames and the more refined square wood frames. Round and square wood frames are visually very different and this reflects the age and part of the tree the wood for each frame is derived from. Round timbers tend to come from younger smaller trees and are complete tree poles, stripped of any bark and other rough materials but subject to no further processing. As a natural material, every pole is different but they are predominantly heartwood surrounded by sapwood. Heartwood naturally has many cracks and splits so our round timber frames are dimensioned and designed to ensure these natural characteristics do not have an impact upon the structural integrity of the frame. Moreover, these cracks will change over time due to atmospheric conditions. When wet, the wood will take in water, swell and the cracks will close up, when dry the wood contracts and the cracks will open up. As a result of the natural characteristics of such wood products, it is vital that parents check their play frame regularly so as to identify any splintering or lifting of the surface layers of the wood or any exposure of rough wood due to changes in cracks and splits. Affected areas must be rubbed down using coarse sandpaper to restore a smooth, safe surface. Full instructions are provided with the frame.

Unlike round wood, squared wood tends to be derived from large, far more mature trees. It is removed from the much larger mature tree poles and includes very little, if any, heartwood in its profile. Squared wood then undergoes a significant manufacturing process. The wood is planed and smoothed to be made ready for the cutting and drilling of each of the dimensioned parts required to make a square wood playframe. So although cracks and splits will be present and can appear over time due to changes in local atmospheric conditions, the incidence of these splits and cracks will be far fewer than with round wood so maintenance will be less. However, a diligent maintenance regime is strongly recommended and full instructions are given with every frame. So cracks and splits are not considered as ‘ faults’ in our wood frames they are unavoidable natural characteristics that are taken into account when we design our products.

Obviously, these significant differences between round and squared wood in terms of the type of wood and the manufacturing processes they undergo are reflected in the price of the frame. Round wood frames are cheaper than squared wood frames. Without doubt, round wood frames offer great play value but are likely to require more maintenance than squared wood frames to ensure safe play. Adherence to maintenance schedules is the responsibility of the purchaser of the frame as is ensuring the frame is sited appropriately and used in line with age and weight instructions. All TP toys, including our wood playframes (both round and squared wood) are rigorous tested by an independent test house and fully comply with the relevant European toy safety regulations. Careful examination of our assembly and maintenance instructions is an important part of that examination.

If you would prefer a lower maintenance product, we recommend you purchase a galvanised steel frame where consistency of material can be guaranteed. Maintenance will still be required but not to the extent that is required with a round wood frame.