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Teeter Totter - Childhood Memories

Today, I will attempt to bring back childhood memories and hope to inspire you to create some memories for a child.


Due to our over-protective rules and regulations, no longer do we see teeter totters on the playground. Gone are the days of Mom or Dad saying, "Get up, rub some dirt on it. You'll live another day." Bumps, bruises, scrapes, maybe even a broken bone, were just part of growing up. Now you have to have fully enclosed, safety belted swings. No more jumping off!


Ok, OK... Enough of the soapbox...


For those willing to to let your child, or your own inner child, experience some playground fun of our childhood, here is an inexpensive and incredibly easy to build Teeter Totter:

Teeter Totter.jpg


You will need the following material:

(5) 2x6x8'

(1) 1x8x4'

24" long closet rod dowel

Approximately 7-3/4" piece of 3/4" electrical conduit (not shown in the drawings)

(1) 5/8" x 12" hex bolt with nut and washers

Some 1-5/8" exterior deck screws (for the seats)

Some 2-1/2" exterior deck screws (for everything else)

Construction adhesive - exterior grade

Exterior Stain (lighter colored solid stain is preferable, won't get so hot in the sun)



Circular saw or hand saw

Jig saw

Speed square

Drill and spade bits 1" for handle and 3/4" for pivot point

Compass or piece of string, pencil and tack (for rounding the horns and seats)

Eye protection


As for the material, use whatever you want, but I would avoid using pressure treated lumber. Even though I talked about being overprotective above, little hands/bodies will be touching the wood and they do tend to find their way into mouths. Properly protected and maintained with a good quality stain, standard stud grade lumber will out last your child's childhood. It works for your house, doesn't it?


Next, I'll point out some features. Everything (except for the seats) uses 2x6 boards. You'll also notice there are three holes and room for more. This allows you to accommodate differing age ranges by modifying the pivot point. By using the beefed up lumber (instead of 2x4s for the arms), even adults can act like kids with this one. The piece of conduit is there to act as a sleeve, prolonging the life of the pivot point. Without it, the bolt will wear on the wood quite a bit. If desired, you could find some exterior grade foam (find some seat cushions on clearance) and outdoor fabric and put some cushioning on those seats.


Teeter Totter-exploded.jpg

For the construction:

  1. Cut four lengths of 2x6 to 36" - these will be the bases and the columns
  2. Cut two lengths of 2x6 to 24" and add some 45° cuts to each end - these are the feet
  3. Cut two lengths of 2x6 to 4-3/4 - these are the column spacers
  4. Drill your 3/4" holes into the columns, spacing as shownTeeter Totter-A.jpg
  5. Apply some construction adhesive to the long side of each column spacer and screw into the top and bottom of each column piece - see above
  6. To the bottom 5" of the column assembly, apply some construction adhesive and attach to the bases, spacing as shownTeeter Totter-B.jpg
  7. Apply adhesive to each end of the bases and center a foot and attach using 2-1/2" screws, spacing as shown above
  8. Set this assembly aside, allowing the adhesive to cure
  9. Cut three lengths of 2x6 to 5-1/2" - these will be the column spacer and the two seat spacers
  10. Drill a 3/4" hole in the column spacer for the conduit, spacing as shownTeeter Totter-C.jpgThe offset allows the pivot bolt to be centered in relation to the assembly
  11. Measure 48" and draw a line across the face of two 8' lengths of 2x6 and bore a 3/4" hole - these are the arms, spacing should be the same as above
  12. Cut two lengths of 2x6 to 14" and round the tops (2-3/4" radius) with your jig saw - these are the horns
  13. Using the center point from the step above, bore a 1" hole in each horn for the handles
  14. Apply construction adhesive to the broad sides of the spacers and horns, sandwiching between the two arms (2x6x8'), spacing as shownTeeter Totter-D.jpg
  15. Use 2-1/2" screws to secure the spacers and horns to the arms, on both sides
  16. After the adhesive for both assemblies has cured, position the arm assembly between the columns and push the 3/4" conduit into place, trim as needed with a hack saw
  17. Place a washer on the 5/8" hex bolt and insert through the conduit, then the other washer and nut - tighten to fit, but do not cause deflection of the columns
  18. Cut two lengths of 1x8 to 17" and round the corners with your jig saw (shown with a 1" radius) - these are the seats
  19. Apply some construction adhesive to the end of the arms to the horns and secure the centered seats to the arm assembly with 1-58" screws
  20. Cut the 1" closet rod in half and place handles into holes in horns
  21. Make or relive some childhood memories
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Posted 2012-05-21T17:24:43+0000  by Paul Paul

I would like to jump up on that soapbox with you Paul. I used to love to Teeter Totter.


My sister and I used to try and see who could knock the other one off first. It was so much fun. I think a few bumps and bruises are normal while your growing up. If you don't get a few here and there than your not playing hard enough.:smileywink:


I wish my daughter was still young enough so that I could build one for here. She would have loved it.


I love the parts break away. It leaves no questions to how all of the parts go together.


Thanks for bring back all of the great memories and also creating the opportunity for other to build there own teeter totter to create their own memories. 

Posted 2012-05-23T15:26:58+0000  by Christine_HD_OC

Another amazing build Paul!


I'm happy to see this up here as you're right; you just don't see these around anymore! Hopefully like shecandoit22 mentioned, you'll help other users make their own build so that they and their kids can enjoy it too!~


Thanks as always Paul for everything you bring to the community!~

Posted 2012-05-24T14:00:17+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI
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