How to make a D.I.Y. wooden seesaw

Jess, Team member
View the video

Project Overview

A sure-fire way to get the kids outside and enjoying hours of fun, this seesaw is easy to make yourself. You can also paint it in bright colours to make it a real feature in your backyard. Continue to step-by-step instructions
cut
View the video
00:18
×

How to cut a bolt to size using a drill

Cutting through a bolt can be hard work. To make it easier, let your drill do the work for you. Screw two nuts onto the bolt at the length you want the bolt to be. Then tighten them up against each other. Put the bolt into your drill’s chuck and tighten it. Turn the drill on and firmly hold the hacksaw against the spinning bolt, near the nut. The blade will cut the bolt, and the nuts will steady the spinning bolt and clean off the burrs when you unscrew them. And there you have it, a simple tip for cutting a bolt to size.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut the timber
2 Measure and cut the rubber mat
3 Make the axle
4 Make the triangular base supports
5 Cut the timber for the frame
6 Cut the dowel and handle posts
7 Cut the seesaw to length
8 Assemble the frames
9 Drill the hole for the axle
10 Join the frames together
11 Make the stoppers
12 Make the handles
13 Assemble the axle box
14 Attach the stoppers
15 Attach the handle
16 Add the finishing touches
17 Assemble the seesaw
18 Time to play
  • Step 1. Cut the timber

    To make this project easier, we had some of the timber cut to size at Bunnings.

    First, we had our 90mm x 45mm treated pine cut into triangular supports:

    • 803mm x 2
    • 848mm x 2
    • 1200mm x 2
    • 395mm x 4
    • 270mm x 2
    • 180mm x 2
    • 200mm x 2
    • 200mm x 2

    We then had our 90mm x 45mm hardwood cut to:

    • 300mm x 2 (handle posts)
    • 400mm x 2 (axle box)
    • 190mm x 2 (axle box)

    Next, we had our 190mm x 45mm hardwood cut to:

    • 110mm x 190mm
    • 3000mm x 1 (seesaw)

    And finally, we had our 25mm Tasmanian oak dowel cut to:

    • 245mm x 2 for (handles)
  • Step 2. Measure and cut the rubber mat

    First, measure, mark and cut the rubber mat for the seesaw cushion and stoppers. We made four 190mm x 90mm pieces, two for each of the stoppers. We made our two cushions 400mm x 190mm. To stick the mat to the timber properly, you need to apply two layers of glue. The first layer of glue creates a film that allows the second layer to stick to the timber.

  • Step 3. Make the axle

    We have used galvanised pipe and flanges, from the plumbing section at Bunnings, to make an axle and giant washers for the seesaw. To turn the flanges into washes, file the thread away with a rat-tail file. Once they fit together easily, put the pieces aside for later.

  • Step 4. Make the triangular base supports

    Lay out the frame for one triangle. As mentioned in our cut list, our timber has been pre-cut to the following sizes:

    • 803mm x 2 (left-hand sides)
    • 848mm x 2 (right-hand sides)
    • 1200mm x 2 (bases)
    • 395mm x 4 (inner uprights)
    • 270mm x 2 (inner X members)
    • 180mm x 2 (triangle axle)
    • 200mm x 2 (frame attachments)
    • 200mm x2 (solving pieces)
  • Step 5. Cut the timber for the frame

    Measure and mark for 45-degree mitre cuts at the bottom of the 803mm left side and the 848mm right side of the triangular frame. Use the drop saw to make the mitre cuts. While the drop saw is set up, cut the timber for the top of the triangle, this will hold the galvanised pipe, so it needs to be sturdy. To make the top triangular shapes, use timber offcuts to cut two triangles. These measure 180mm on the long side. Underneath the triangular piece, make a 45-degree cut on the 45mm end to provide extra support. We measured ours 270mm long end to long end.

  • Step 6. Cut the dowel and handle posts

    Measure and cut 245mm lengths of dowel for the handles. These will fit into the 90mm x 45mm hardwood upright handle posts. Make a 10-degree cut on each end of the handle posts. The angles should be parallel to each other to allow the handle posts to lean forward.

  • Step 7. Cut the seesaw to length

    Measure and mark the seesaw to be 3000mm long. Use the drop saw to cut the timber and use the offcuts to make four 110mm stoppers for each end of the seesaw.

  • Step 8. Assemble the frames

    To assemble the outer triangle, lay out the 803mm left-hand side and attach it to the 1200mm base. Clamp the timber to your workbench so the frame is secure. Pre-drill, countersink and screw together with 65mm screws for the short ends and 100mm for the long ends. Pre-drill, countersink and screw the uprights on the frame together, screw the screws into place for this, as well as the under-triangle support. When attaching the triangles at the top, avoid drilling into the centre, this is where the galvanised pipe will go. Repeat the process to build the other frame.

  • Step 9. Drill the hole for the axle

    Measure and mark the central triangle on the base for the holes to insert the galvanised axle rod. Use the 28mm spade bit to create a countersink for the flange. Then finish with the 22mm spade bit. Repeat the process for the other frame.

  • Step 10. Join the frames together

    Join the two frames together using the 2 x 200mm frame attachments. Pre-drill with the batten countersink bit, then drill a 7mm clearance hole all the way through the timber frame. Then use a 4mm drill bit to drill a pilot hole in the attachment piece. Screw into place with 2 x 125mm batten screws. Repeat this for both sides.

  • Step 11. Make the stoppers

    Pre-drill, glue and screw two of the 110mm x 190mm stopping blocks together. Repeat this to make the other stopper.

  • Step 12. Make the handles

    Drill a hole with the 28mm spade bit into the handle post in the centre, 100mm down from the top. Insert the dowel into the hole and make sure there is an even amount of dowel on both sides. Pre-drill with a countersink drill bit, then use a 4mm bit to drill into the dowel. Screw the dowel into place with the 65mm screws. Sand the handle and handle post with 120 grit sandpaper. Repeat this process to make the other handle.

  • Step 13. Assemble the axle box

    Measure and mark the centre of your seesaw, this is where the axle box will be attached. Measure, mark and drill a hole with a 28mm spade bit in the two pieces of 400mm hardwood timber that will hold the galvanised pipe. To assemble the box, centre the two pieces of 400mm timber so that they’re parallel to each other and run lengthways on either side of the seesaw. Then place the 190mm pieces on top of these lengths at each end. The box is designed to stop little fingers getting caught when the seesaw is in action. Use the 12mm spade bit to pre-drill holes into the timber, making sure to go right through into the seesaw. Insert the four coach bolts through from the top of the seesaw, then screw the nuts into place with a shifting spanner. During this stage, you may need to prop the seesaw so it sits above the workbench. That way you won’t drill into the bench.

  • Step 14. Attach the stoppers

    Before attaching the stoppers to the seesaw, measure, mark and cut the coach bolts to size with a hacksaw. Attach the stoppers to the end of the seesaw. Pre-drill using a spade bit, then screw the stoppers into place. We countersunk the holes because we want to put rubber matting over them.

  • Step 15. Attach the handle

    Measure and mark where you want the handle to go. Pre-drill the holes, apply glue to the base of the handle and screw it into place from the underside of the seesaw. Repeat this to attach the other handle. Once everything is attached, sand all the edges so they’re smooth.

  • Step 16. Add the finishing touches

    Putty up any holes or gaps in the seesaw. Sand it back once it’s dry. Now it’s time to paint the seesaw, you can choose whatever colours you like. We painted the seesaw with an exterior grade clear varnish to seal the hardwood and bring out the natural grain of the timber. Apply another layer of glue to the rubber matting and stick them to the bottom of the stoppers and the ends of the seesaw.

  • Step 17. Assemble the seesaw

    Now it’s time to take the seesaw outside and assemble it. You’ll need someone to help you with this. Line up the holes in the axle with the holes in the frame and insert the galvanised pipe through the holes. Use the flanges as washers. Screw into place to secure. We put brass caps at the end of the pipe. Place rubber crash mats under the seesaw.

  • Step 18. Time to play

    Now the seesaw is complete you can call the kids out to the backyard where they’ll have hours of fun playing on it.

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint Test.
Top of the content