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I've been asked to build a small swing set frame for a baby's swing. It will be a couple feet tall by a couple feet wide and will use 1x2 minimum lumber in an A frame shape.

I have never worked with wood before, so I have the minimum of tools for this project such as a drill, hand saw, and a speed square.

What would be a simple way to join the three pieces of wood at the top of the frame using only these tools. I would prefer to bolt them together.

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    How can the swing to be attached? While 1x2 might do the trick I would opt for something thicker since it is for a child. – Matt Dec 30 '16 at 4:32
  • The tools you have seem fine and should help you do this. I would probably think about getting a cheap mitre box to help with the angle cuts. Some have more angles then just 45/90 – Matt Dec 30 '16 at 4:34
  • You might look at online plans for a sawhorse. And agree about using something sturdier than a 1x2. – Aloysius Defenestrate Dec 30 '16 at 18:04
  • Are you planning a swing or maybe thinking of something to hold a cradle? A swing that is only a couple of feet tall would provide a very unsatisfactory ride. – Ast Pace Dec 31 '16 at 6:00
  • Could I ask the obvious question, why are they asking someone who has never worked with wood before to make a framework for their baby swing? A structure like this doesn't have to be inherently that difficult to build, but the possible consequences if this comes apart in use don't bear thinking about. – Graphus Feb 4 '17 at 12:29
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Apologies for the crummy illustration, I'm a graphics doofus :), and for not providing full instructions for the basic joints I'm mentioning (Google!)

I would start by making the "A" at each end with a half-lap joint (at the parallelogram where the legs cross - Google "half-lap joint".) You can screw them together with four screws inside the corners of the p'gram, or clamp and glue together. Then cut a through mortise (another thing you can Google) through the middle of the lap joint you made in the first step (shown as the little rectangle in the parallelogram.) You can do this with, at minimum, your drill and a good sharp chisel. Once you've cut the mortise, fashion a tenon (Google it!) at the end of the cross bar piece that fits snugly into it. Use your saw for this, cut close to the line, then clean up with your (new) chisel. Test fit, add glue, and assemble. I think this would give a nice solid joint.

Agree with @Matt, go with larger wood, like 2x3. I would like to note since you're a beginner that glue is stronger and more permanent than screws, and probably safer here because the screws could loosen over time, especially in something with movement like a swing, and pose something of a hazard (swing fall apart/down.)

enter image description here

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  • Jeff, a mortise requires a chisel which isn't listed as one of the tools the OP has. – Graphus Feb 4 '17 at 12:33
  • @Graphus Thanks for the heads-up, G. He didn't mention a wrench, or screwdriver, either, so I felt it safe to assume he might have the means to obtain a $6 tool (or that the customer might buy him one along with the wood and bolts/glue.) You do have an eye for detail, I'll readily admit that :) – user1457 Feb 4 '17 at 15:04
  • It's not as simple as just getting a chisel and setting to work, I was composing an Answer where I was recommending essentially the same joint as above as one of the options when I realised I had to mention sharpening. So to go this route you need to buy at least one chisel, then some sharpening stuff and then learn how to hone to a sufficiently high standard (which doesn't come easily to many). And only then does he get to practice cutting a mortise on scrap stock before committing to the workpiece! It's a tough ask for a first-timer. – Graphus Feb 4 '17 at 19:04
  • "Fit this into this whole using nothing but this..." youtube.com/watch?v=1cYzkyXp0jg – 3Dave Feb 5 '17 at 16:40
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    I suggest modifying this answer to recommend drilling holes and using pegs instead of a mortise and tenon. Much easier, and much the same effect. – Mr. Kevin Feb 5 '17 at 17:21

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