At TP Toys we make our climbing frames and swing sets out of two different materials – either metal or wood. In this article, we’re going to be looking at the different options we have for our wooden garden toys, plus the benefits of each option. Have a read through this article and let us help you make an informed decision when it comes to buying your next wooden outdoor toys.
Our wooden outdoor play equipment is either made from round wood or square wood. Whilst both are brilliant wooden garden play equipment options, there are big differences between the two (other than just the shape) which is why we’re here to help!
Our round wood timber comes from younger and smaller trees. They’re made by stripping full tree poles of the surface layers (sapwood) so we’re left with the inside of the wood only (heartwood)! No further processing takes place on our round wood, apart from the application of an environmentally friendly preservative that helps to make sure your climbing frame or swing set can withstand the elements and ward off things like termites. This means that your round wood frame will be rustic and natural in appearance.
As round wood has very little processing, it means natural cracks can occur. We know this can seem daunting but there is no need to worry - your wooden swing set or climbing frame is still perfectly safe to use.
We’ve done lots of tests (both in a laboratory and in the field) that have proven natural cracking of the wood doesn’t affect the strength of the timber. We’ve also designed the frames in a way that means natural cracks and wood splintering won’t negatively impact the frame's integrity in any way.
Cracks appear (again, it’s completely normal) because it’s a natural organic substance and naturally is influenced by its surroundings - like the good old British weather! As the seasons change and the humidity of the air changes with it, wooden swing sets in the UK will naturally move, swell and shrink.
Because our round wood frames are made from a natural material and have very little treatment added to them, it’s important that parents check their wooden garden climbing frame or swing frame regularly - this is to make sure there is no splintering of the wood or that any of the wood is lifting away from the surface. If this is spotted, affected areas need to be rubbed down using coarse sandpaper to restore a smooth, safe surface.
On occasion, these characteristics can develop to a point where replacing the pole may be required. Most commonly, this is confined to where a significant crack runs directly through a fixing point. If this happens, don’t worry - we’re on hand to help. Our round wood swing and climbing frames have a 1-year guarantee!
Concerns regarding splits and cracks should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email should ideally be accompanied by photographs that illustrate your concern to enable the Quality Control Team to assist you.
Unlike round wood, square wood is derived from larger and more mature trees. It is removed from much larger mature tree poles and includes very little (if any) heartwood in its profile. The square wood for the playframe then goes through a significant manufacturing process, which includes planing and smoothing the wood, and cutting and drilling the dimensioned parts.
This means that although cracks and splits can appear over time due to changes in the atmosphere, it’s less likely to happen (and won’t happen as often) as the round wood sets. It also means maintenance isn’t required as often as it would be with round wood, although it’s still recommended you do check your play frame and keep up maintenance.
Cracks and splits are not considered ‘faults’ in our TP wooden climbing and swing frames. They are natural characteristics and are taken into consideration when the products are designed.
Square wood sets have a larger surface area than the round wood sets, which in turn means they’re stronger - in fact, the new Everest Swing Set range is our biggest and strongest ever!
Round Wood or Square Wood?
There are two types of wood play frames - rustic round wood frames and more refined square wood frames. The wood for each frame comes from different parts of the tree, which is reflected in the visual differences between the two types of frames.
Obviously, the significant differences in the manufacturing processes between round wood and square wood are reflected in the price. Round wood frames are cheaper than square wood.
It goes without saying, round wood swings or climbing frames offer amazing play value, they’re just likely to require a bit more maintenance than square wood frames to make sure they’re in top condition and remain safe. The purchaser of the frame is responsible for the upkeep of the maintenance, as well as making sure the frame is sited properly and used in line with age and weight instructions.
If you're looking for a garden swing or climbing frame that is easier to maintain, you may want to consider a galvanised steel frame, where the material's consistency can be assured. Steel frames may still require maintenance and checks on parts such as fittings, but they don’t require maintenance like sanding or treating as there is with a wooden frame.