"I love my kids" is what my husband and I kept saying over and over as we put the "A" frame of the swing set together. It was the only thing that kept us from chucking the poles across the yard or at each other.
Before we submitted our order, we made sure to read each review posted. After reading them my husband and I were 50/50 in the idea of purchasing this set. The price and the size was what attracted the swing set to us. There were good and bad and good/bad reviews. So, in hopes that the others who had good and good/bad reviews were mechanically sound we decided to join in on the adventure, as we felt we were mechanically sound. We came to find out that they don't call this set the "Big Adventure" for nothing!
Our "Big Adventure" goes like this...
We had to take the "A" frame and or legs apart three different times. I am going to tell you about these times so that you hopefully don't make the same mistake! You need to know that I am a directions reader and my husband comes to the game just tackle! If you catch my drift. So, with that said we skipped some steps, which had to be retraced and then in turn pieces had to be taken apart and redone. Don't make this mistake. Direction readers take a stand! First time, we had the right side of the "A" frame legs backwards. The pole with three holes at the bottom we had in the front, which needed to be in the back because the see-saw had to be attached to it. Second time, we were having a hard time securing up the center legs. This is how we attached the center legs...sounds crazy, but it worked. We ended up flipping the set up side down and placing each end of the "A" frame on a lawn chair to hold it upwards while we then secured each center leg. It sounds funny, but you'll understand, maybe, when you come to this point. While it is upright it was very hard to see the holes to secure the legs, so we brought the main pole to our level! Third time, we were pretty much done with assembly, yea!...not really! Here's why, there are four black caps and four white caps. Well, we knew the four black caps went on the ends of the main pole at the top and on the see-saw ends of that pole to keep bees, hornets, wasps, and moisture, whatever out. So, we placed the black ones there. Then we had these four white caps left over, which I dubbed the "stupid little white caps"! I as the direction reader looked and looked all over at the directions. For the life of me I could not find anywhere where 4 extra caps were needed and then I found a separate little oh lets say a 5 X 7 size piece of paper with more directions on it! Well, this little piece of paper has the four places listed where these other four stupid little white caps were to be placed! My husband and I kept saying well oh forget about it. Then we said but, "We LOVE our kids, we don't want them to get stung"! So, for the third time... as good parents we made sure to do the right thing and put the stupid little white caps in their places! We had to take off the two front legs of each end of the "A" frame so we could place those stupid little white caps on the tops of the four end legs! Don't let that happen to you, or you may have to decide in the end bee stings or frustration!
We did have an issue with the see-saw too. It wasn't level when we hooked it to the leg. So we jumped on the arm bar to bury it down into the ground. I am unsure if that was to be done or not, but it is level now. The downside is that it is pretty low to the ground and only our smaller kids can enjoy it. The older ones knees are in their chests! Oh well, we dubbed a rule that the see-saw was only for the little kids, it worked!
The last thing is the chains for the swings and glider. They are not labeled, as with everything else. The trapeze chains are obvious. The swings all have the same length chains. The glider will have one set of chains with the hooks and there will be a set of chains with nothing on the ends, these two pieces are the other two chains that go with the glider. We found that out the hard way... My "tackle" was quick to attach two swings to the swing set and took one set of chains and just secured them to a swing while I took the other set and attached them to one end of the glider. Once we had them attached he hooked up the one swing to the set and realized it was considerably shorter than the other two swings, meanwhile I was figuring out that the two sets of chains I had were different lengths! So, he had to take the swing off the set and take the chains off it and I had to do the same to the glider. We swapped the chains and all was good! A needless step if things were labeled.
As far as parts, we found the other reviews to be accurate. The parts are not labeled the same as what the written directions call for as compared to what the container label says on the container of parts. We definitely had to break out the tape measure and measure each bolt from the parts container to match it up to which bolt was needed in the written directions for each of the steps. That wasn't that big of a deal. We did end up having to go to the local hardware store to buy two extra bolts. We had to buy two 1/4" X 1 3/4" bolts that cost a total of .38 cents. These two bolts ended up attaching the chin bar on the center legs. When we got down to the nitty gritty, we found that we did not have enough bolts to attach the steps to the slide. It called for four 1/4" X 1 1/2" bolts. We decided to skip that step and to finish attaching the rest of the equipment. We did not want to run the hardware store right at that minute. We finished attaching all the pieces and had a lot of 1/4" X 2" bolts left over. So, we decided to use four of those to secure the slide steps in place. The extra lengths in the bolts are hidden from sight. No harm done there and no other trip was needed to the hardware store.
All in all, it took about 5 to 5 1/2 hours for us to put together and a couple...few beers. Once the "A" frame was in place it didn't take too long to secure the rest of the play equipment in the correct places. My kids love it! The smiles on their faces were enough to erase the frustration it took while building the swing set. I have found out that as long as you can read a tape measure and you are mechanically inclined you too can probably put this up. We didn't have to drill any extra holes, just had to buy those two extra bolts. Had to use our thinking powers and figure out a few small things by our common sense. On an upward note, my husband is now a self proclaimed professional swing set assembler. I only hope with this long review I will have helped someone uncover some secrets in what will be their own "Big Adventure".