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Stikkan Softwood Kindling Splitter

Once the Stikkan wood splitter is properly mounted, you’ll be making kindling with ease.

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The Stikkan story begins with an original invention in Norway in 1982, and has since moved manufacturing to Foshaga, Sweden. But the unique design of the Stikkan wood splitter remains the same; making kindling easy and safe to achieve.

What kind of wood can I split?

Over the years I’ve done a fair amount of log splitting using hydraulic log splitters, axes, along with a heavy maul and splitting wedge combination to make firewood.

The Stikkan wood splitter is NOT a replacement for those tools, but instead designed to create kindling from easy to burn small diameter softwoods (pine and spruce).

Stikken Softwood Kindling Splitter

Mounting the Stikkan wood splitter

The Stikkan wood splitter requires a stable vertical post or timber, and can be attached with the 4 provided lag bolts.

  • Dimensions: 23″l x 3 ¾” w x 5 ¼” d
  • Mounting holes: 2 ⅜” on center

If no individual post or solid timber of suitable width and strength is available for mounting; there is another option.

Horizontally attach 2×4’s to wall studs; spacing the 2×4’s apart to allow vertical centering between the top and bottom Stikkan mount locations. The 2×4’s can be mounted over a finished wall and painted to blend.

How to mount a Stikkan wood splitter

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Outdoors

Simple and safe tree swing ideas

A tree swing for kids can create endless hours of fun, and reduces the ongoing question, “I’m bored, what can I do?”

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Tree swing buying guide

So, you’re kicking around the idea of a tree swing. Why not! Keep the kids occupied with some outdoor fun. Or, if you have an unfinished basement, you can just as easily mount these swings indoors to a floor joist or support beam, for when the weather outside isn’t ideal.

Now, the person with a woodshop full of tools is most likely inclined to buy the material and handcraft their own swing, but for the others, the process doesn’t need to be so complex. We’ve compiled a list of tree swings in a variety of styles that just require unpacking, possibly some minor assembly, along with the ability to tie a secure knot that you deem safe and suitable.

Several of the listed swings are bundled with or have optional hanging hardware to make installation even more unchallenging. Vintage Swings, a manufacturer of several handcrafted swing options, has an alternative tree branch mounting procedure that is said to be better for the tree.

Classic Wood Swings

A tree swing doesn’t get any more traditional than taking a piece of wood and hanging it from a tree branch by a piece of rope.

The following companies are making sure this classic setup continues to provide wondrous enjoyment, and at the same time, offering high-quality kits to get you up and running safely in no time.

You’ll notice the different types of wood used, based on geographical location of each business. But they all ensure that you’re getting a very strong and long lasting wood swing.

1) Forever Redwood, based in California, uses only “extra thick high quality timbers” for their handmade bespoke swings and other wood products. Choose from Douglas-fir, Mosaic Eco-Wood, or Redwood that’s available in 12″, 15″ or 18″ diameters. You even get to customize the rope hole diameter and finish. Want to add your own finish? Go ahead – you can order the swing unfinished at no extra cost.

Note: None of the Disk Swings come with rope or hanging hardware. No problem – any local hardware store will have reels of rope in different materials and thicknesses, along with chain and cable if you prefer to use those instead.

Learn more about Forever Redwood’s 5 grades of wood used and the finishes they offer.

The actual wood swing has a weight capacity of up to 450lbs, but to safely achieve this load rating the supporting rope or chain used will also need the same load capabilities.

Forever Redwood tree disc swing

2) The Original Tree Swing “is hand made from local Ash trees in Minneapolis, Minnesota”. The standard kit includes 20 ft. of 3/4″ rope and capable of loads up to 300lbs.

Choose either the disc swing or bench style swing.

Options include: rope lengths of 30 or 40 ft., and a custom engraved brass plaque.

Disc and bench style wood tree swings

3) Vintage Swings “are proudly handmade in Charlottesville, Virginia”. These swings start with 1″ thick White Oak and end with a hand-finish using marine-grade Spar varnish.

Not only are single swings available in 2 styles – round and single bench, you can also select from a third option, a double bench swing. What a great way for two people to spend some time together.

What’s included? You get 3/4″ Promanilla rope with a generous 23′ of hanging length.

Vintage Swings handcrafted wood tree swings

Tire Swings

Next to the wood seat style of swings, you have the very nostalgic tire swings. I do admire the different approaches each manufacturer used in creating their tire swings. People thinking slightly differently, yet delivering a solid product either way.

1) Swing-N-Slide Tire Swing gives the look of an old-school tire swing without the extra weight and dirty residue of a real tire.

With room for multiple kids, you’ll hopefully reduce the arguing of “who’s turn is it”.

Easily hang this lightweight plastic tire swing with the provided 360-degree spinning swivel mount.

Total weight capacity of 250 lbs.

Swing-N-Slide tire tree swing

2) Wood Tree Swings offers the real deal, using hand-cleaned recycled tires accompanied by 10 feet of 5/8 inch polypropylene rope. The company says this combination will “support up to 350 lbs”. Not enough standard length of rope? You can add plenty of extra rope to your order for an additional cost.

These traditional style – handcrafted tire swings are available in horizontal or vertical hanging style, with the vertical tire swing having a removable wood seat. Great idea! Plus, you have the option to have this wood insert personalized.

Wood Tree Swings tire swings

3) Vintage Swings decided to use a 1940s Ford 8N tractor tire. Growing up in a small farm town, I knew this style of tire looked very familiar. What is the benefit of such a tire? You get 19″ of I.D., which is a sizable increase from a typical car tire used for most tire swings.

The current images don’t show the detail, but Vintage Swings says “An interior wood brace supports the tire. The rope is then feed through the brace and hand spliced together on top”.

Just like their wood swings, included is a 3/4″ Promanilla rope with a generous 23′ of hanging length.

Vintage Swings tire tree swings

Contemporary Tree Swings

As technology grows, it only makes sense for swing manufactures to apply such technologies and come up with modern tree swing designs, which also use the latest materials.

1) Spring Swing is the “tree swing with bounce”. Add an inline spring, now a traditional rope swing becomes a little more exciting.

With the center mounted rope and seat socket design, this swing can also spin 360-degrees while it bounces. Definitely not for kids with motion sickness!

Designed for ages 3-8 years / 30- 70 pounds.

Tree mounted Spring disc swing

2) HearthSong has a sizable selection of swings utilizing mesh and polypropylene fabric. The appreciable thing about their many large platform swings? You also have a great place to lie down, relax and just hang out.

For many of the products you’ll find a different approach to the simple and classic tree swing. Instead, you’ll find multi-person swings in colorful variations.

HearthSong Tree Swings

All products listed in this buying guide were chosen by DIY House Help based on independent research and analysis performed by our editors. However, not all products listed in this buying guide have been purchased and independently tested by our staff. When a retailer is listed, this is purely a suggestion for the convenience of our readers, but we are not obligated to endorse specific retailers. However, some of the links we provide throughout the site may earn us an affiliate commission when you decide to purchase.
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Outdoors

Review: Aurora Deck Lighting Post Caps

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Aurora Deck Lighting post caps

When the time finally came to do a complete deck rebuild we had limited options with the homeowners association community guidelines that we have to abide by, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t push the boundaries a little with a few enhancements.

One of the details we knew we wanted was the addition of quality decorative post caps, possibly lighted models, and to suit our style they had to have a modern design.

This wasn’t as easy of an achievement as I thought when using 4×4 wood posts. Post sleeves and composite decking, which vary in size compared to a standard 4×4 post (actual size is 3 &‌#189;”), dominate the post cap market for suitable decorative caps.

Now, not all hope was lost as we only needed one style and brand to suite our needs and that’s where the Aurora Deck Lighting brand checked all the boxes that fit our criteria. They have a lineup with the same style for 12V LED and solar, so we had options.

Similar Designs

Besides how each style of cap provides lighting, the Zena and Saturn models are, otherwise, identical in design.

  • Solid cast aluminum housing.
  • Powder coated finish in a variety of colors: Matte Black, Black, White, Bronze, Tan, Clay, Walnut.
  • Easily mounts via 2 screws – color matched screws provided.
  • 4-sided frosted plastic light window that creates a balanced diffused light.

The thin 360° white frosted window on these post caps creates a very attractive and noticeable detail for both during the day and when lit at night.

First Class Customer Service

At the time of our deck rebuild we still weren’t sure if we required lit post caps for our needs, so we thought to go the simplest route and try solar models. After a few weeks of analyzing the solar post caps performance we realized our deck location doesn’t get enough direct sunlight, and especially not enough even direct sunlight across all the post caps.

What we did know is the design of the Zena solar post caps were still what we wanted, but we weren’t sure a lit post cap was a priority at this time. We contacted Aurora Deck lighting and they were happy to offer us Saturn style posts caps without the electronics installed at a fair price.

NOTE: Non-lit Saturn style post caps may become a regular retail item at some point. Please contact Aurora Deck Lighting if interested in such an item.

Zena Solar LED Light

The Zena solar lineup of post caps have a cutout in the top panel to allows a solar panel and electrical pack to be inserted for the lighting.

**Images shown with matte black finish.

Aurora Deck Lighting Zena post cap solar panel

Aurora Deck Lighting Zena solar post cap panel battery location

Aurora Deck Lighting Zena solar post caps installed

Aurora Deck Lighting Zena solar post cap lit at dark

Colors include: Matte Black, Black, White, Bronze, Walnut. Check the Aurora Deck Lighting website for more information.
Available Post Sizes Purchase
3 ½”
4″
4 ⅜”
4 ⅝”
5″
  • 2x LED bulbs provide a cool white light.
  • A fitted gasket creates a proper seal between the housing and solar panel module.
  • 2x AA rechargeable batteries are part of the solar panel unit for a simple and compact lighting module.
  • There’s a built in light sensor that automatically turns the lights on at dusk and off at dawn.

The following are negatives for solar post caps in general and not specific issues to the Aurora Deck Lighting brand.

  • A good amount of direct sunlight is crucial to properly charge the batteries. Fresh and fully charged batteries may last a full night (8-12 hours) for the first 5-7 days of use, but depending on the time and intensity of solar panel exposure to sun, the batteries will average more in the 3-6 hours of lit time.
  • Not 100% consistent for on / off lit time between post caps. Varying sunlight exposure can leave you with some post caps that are lit and some that are not lit.

Saturn 12V LED Light

The Saturn LED models have a clean flat top with the absence of the solar panel.

This wired model has a brighter light and better control of lighting (a light timer can also be added), compared to the solar version.

**Images shown with matte black finish.

Aurora Deck Lighting Saturn LED Post cap with flat top

Aurora Deck Lighting Saturn LED post cap

Aurora Zena and Saturn deck post caps

Colors include: Matte Black, Black, White, Bronze, Walnut. Check the Aurora Deck Lighting website for more information.
Post Size Purchase
3 ½”
4″
4 ⅜”
4 ⅝”
5″
  • 4x LED bulbs provide a warm white light.
  • On / Off when wanted.
  • No discharged batteries and unevenly lit lamp concerns.
  • Dimmable.

This does come with the extra labor and cost of adding the following:

  • Switch
  • 12V AC type transformer
  • Wiring (which may not be completely hidden on solid wood posts that don’t have hollow centers like post sleeves and composite decking).

**IMPORTANT: Requires a 12V AC type transformer for power (not DC). Installation of powered post lights and transformer sizing can be found on Aurora Deck Lighting’s installation page.

All products listed in this buying guide were chosen by DIY House Help based on independent research and analysis performed by our editors. Products were purchased at retail locations and not provided by manufacturers as sponsorship. When a retailer is listed, this is purely a suggestion for the convenience of our readers, but we are not obligated to endorse specific retailers. However, some of the links we provide throughout the site may earn us an affiliate commission when you decide to purchase.
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