Top positive review
Amazing set for the price, easy to configure
December 27, 2016
Knowing that you get what you pay for--if you want a similar set from an American company made out of redwood or cedar, the price is at least 4x this one. Even so, yes the wood is soft but definitely sturdy and workable. The overall design is solid. I put it together myself with occasional help from my 5 and 7 year old kids. Some parts would be so much easier with 2 large people, especially getting the first walls up and square, raising the swing beams, and putting on the tunnel.
It took me four short cold December days to do the ground prep, sorting, and build, a total of about 15-20 hrs. I'm a handy lady but not a pro builder.
I made some modifications--I put the slide where the ladder goes, and moved the ladder to the front. This involved just a little cutting and drilling but was easy to figure out. This way I could tuck it into a corner.
This set is great, in that it is a large clubhouse that older kids can stand up in, and the tunnel over the swings is a fantastic extra feature. It would be even better if the slide/ladder/doors were more configurable rather than hacking, and a more detailed measured drawing before building would have helped a lot in preparing the site.
-let the slide and tunnel plastic sit in the sun before wrestling with them.
-Have two battery packs per driver, I had a spare and the swap-outs saved a lot of time that way. My drill has one battery pack, and that caused some trouble. There isn't much drilling, however.
-Note SUPER CAREFULLY the orientation of each piece. A couple pieces I put on backwards and had to remove and reorient. It can be hard to notice all the little predrilled holes, check each piece carefully.
-Sortting the hardware into step baggies is a lifesaver. There is a little extra hardware, keep it around in case you lose something. A couple screws were mal-formed, having the spares all clipped together in their original bags helped.
- I put every piece touching the ground on doubled 2x6 ground-contact treated lumber. This actually made the leveling and squaring much much easier than trying to do it on bare dirt. After getting the first four walls level and square, I was super-impressed that every piece thereafter fit well. I did not have to check level and square again after the first few steps, since the engineering and tolerances of the whole thing are pretty good.
- The kids will want to "help" and play on it before it is done. I suggest bolting the ladder and slide on as early as possible to help yourself get up and down, as well as making it safer for curious kiddos.
- If you are building on bare damp dirt (with intermittent rain like I did), flatten all the boxes around it to keep your shoes clean, because you will be all over this thing. If you have cardboard to spare, you might want to put it down to protect the floors while you work with heavy shoes and tools.