Here's where we left off. The main cabin structure without siding and the beam laid on for measuring. No prow and no landscaping.
Because I was sans camera I didn't get any further build pictures so here's the finished project. I'll just have to talk you through what I did, how I did it and why. I was overruled on the whole two story thing by higher command. I just cut off the 4x4s at the rear of the ship and used the two in front as rigging. The 4x6 beam is bolted to the roof with the end held up by a 1/4 inch steel 4x4 that's 10 feet long. The steel 4x4 is set 3 feet into the ground with 160 pounds of concrete. The beam has a swing, a tire swing and a climbing rope.
The prow is set on another pier block and attached to the main cabin with 2x6 framing. The floor is OSB over 2x4 floor joists. When I decided against it being two stories I went ahead and roofed the main cabin with shingles. The sheathing is more OSB with 2x4s and 2x6s for support. Everything is either nailed or screwed together.
Lu and I were at an antique store when she found this rock. It's fiberglass and it is way cool. 75 bucks. I love finding stuff like this and it added a nice climbing rock to the play area.
We had some old fishing net floats that Lu contributed to the build. I hung them on the sides and used some nylon rope as rigging.
Here's another view of the swings. I wanted to keep the ship theme so used wood and rope everywhere I could. Lu tested everything out. Just to be sure it was safe of course.
You can see the steel 4x4 post here. At the top I took two pieces of angle iron, welded them together to form a U bracket, drilled it, welded it to the post and lag bolted the whole thing to the beam. It's solid as a rock. That was Sarges idea. I was going to use an A-frame but this is both stronger and takes up a lot less space.
I bought a small basketball goal and mounted it to the end. We're planning on having some epic HORSE games. I went down to Ace and bought two gallons of brown paint. The paint guy asked me what shade and I told him Pirate Ship Brown. He offered a color, I accepted and it's now officially known at my local hardware store as Ace Pirate Ship Brown. He still chuckles whenever I come in.
Every Pirate Ship needs protection and this one is no different. This is a gun ship not a sissy merchanter. If you look closely you can see the cannon mounted on the side of the prow. That is most emphatically not a Nerf gun. It's a period correct replica of a repeating cannon manufactured in the 17th century by Theodor Geisel Armaments commonly referred to as a Ma Seuss. It's NFA of course. You can also see inside the main cabin. There's a 4x4 post just inside the doorway that holds the ships wheel. I put down some old carpeting I had from the bathroom/hallway remodel for padding. It's snug, cozy and a great clubhouse.
All in all I'm please with the result. The ship measures out at 7 1/2 feet wide by 20 feet long and 8 1/2 feet high not including the spars. It's surrounded by outdoor carpeting with gravel around the whole thing. It has swings, ropes, a basketball hoop and a rock to climb. The kids seem to enjoy it so I'm calling it a success.
Here's a random photo of Angus enjoying the play area just because he's so cute.
The yard was originally dirt and weeds. Lu took care of the weeds and I covered the rest with landscaping fabric, outdoor grass carpeting and gravel. That's 10 tons of gravel I moved by wheelbarrow, shovel, rake and a 5 gallon bucket. Each and every pebble. It really looks quite nice with the ship surrounded by a green sea and gravel shoals. There's plenty to do and it's a nice place for adventures and fantastical voyages of imagination. I thoroughly enjoyed the build with enthusiastic help from Sarge and Lu. It was all done off the cuff and straight out of my head. I think that's called seat of the pants engineering. All you real engineers should probably just look away. I tended to over build and it's managed to stand up to hard play and the usual Hurricane winds. This place is aptly named. The kids are going to take some paint to it and decorate it to their hearts content. It also needs a name. Monikers are being bandied about and as soon as one is chosen it will be painted on the prow.
This was a true labor of love. We managed to turn a couple of hundred square feet of dirt, mud and weeds into a play area for the kids that will hopefully allow them good, clean fun and a chance to exercise their imaginations as well as their bodies. I hope it reflects that.