Here at Etsy, we believe that the story behind an object is often just as fascinating as the object itself. Short Stories is our series dedicated to telling the tales behind extraordinary pieces found or created by Etsy seller.
I don’t generally practice self-aggrandizement, but I would have to say I was something of a champion swinger as a kid. I remember trying to swing high enough that the rope lost its tension, and I would fall for a split second. (And of course, there was always the carefree launching off the swing.) Not the safest thing, I admit, but then again, most things worth doing in life are at least fuzzily dangerous.
The oak dunnage I’m using to build the swings was traditionally used to line ship holds to protect cargo. Now they just use plastic, so all this fantastic old growth wood has been retired from duty. My fiancée, Sam, and I got a hold of a bunch of pallets of these dunnage beams from an older guy named Buddy Rose out in the San Fernando Valley.
I’d been making stools out of this wood, and then the swing idea came along. I made one swing for my friend Sebastian, and it was a little more of a “standard” swing. But after it was built, my mind sort of ventured on in a more playful direction, and I got into the curving idea. I am really on a trip with curved wooden objects. It almost seems like the grain of the wood wants to curve, and it’s pretty satisfying to be able to run your hand over it and feel how smooth it is. In my mind, I was sort of thinking about lake swimming and old wooden lifesavers. I’m not sure those actually exist. I might be making them up. Perhaps that’ll be my next project …
As for the knot, I must admit, I am not nearly the knot aficionado I aim to be. I do love a good hangman’s knot. It’s very clean-looking and sturdy, and it works, so that’s important. I went off the deep end a little bit researching the correct way to whip and seize rope ends, and though it’s very time consuming, it’s a very satisfying process. I’ve tracked down some really nice hemp rope from a ship rigging place, and I’m using waxed twine to whip (or secure) the ends.
The other thing that’s so enjoyable about these swings is figuring out where to hang them. I’m fixing up an old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley right now, and we’ve got a lot of land out here, so I’ve been establishing outdoor living spaces all over. I have little seating areas set up out in fields and deep in the woods, but the other cool thing is that this design is slick enough to live in the house. I think the folks at Design*Sponge even hung one in their office, which I find pretty inspiring.
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