Monday, March 5, 2018

How to Construct A Play Castle

       The entrance to this castle is built like stage scenery. You have seen the same sort of make-believe structures in moving pictures, but you have not been aware of it because there have been enough walls and roofs to make them look complete. I have designed the play castle entrance this way so that you can build it easily and quickly. You can set it up in your play corner of the back yard, or close to the house. If you will build it in front of a basement window, as shown in Figure 1, you can use the basement for the castle stronghold, with a stepladder for a stairway, as shown in Figure 2.
       Build the framework of the entrance wall, as shown in Figure 3. A board to go across the bottom, another to go across the top and four strips to join them are necessary. If you cannot get boards 6 inches wide, another width will do. Cut the two boards 5 feet long, or longer if you want to, and the four uprights 5 feet, 3 inches long. Then place the uprights flat upon the ground, with the center pair 24 inches apart, and nail the boards across the ends. Nail a strip of l-by-2 across the center pair of uprights, 4 feet above the bottom board, to form the head of the entrance. There will be a narrow space between this strip and the top board, as shown in Figure 3. This is provided for the drawbridge cables to run through (Figures 4 and 5).
       Make the drawbridge, as shown in Figures 4 and 5. Cut the boards a trifle shorter than the height of the entrance, and fasten them together with two cross pieces, or battens, placed near the top and bottom. Lay the boards flat on the ground to nail the battens to them. Hinge the drawbridge with a pair of strap hinges placed as shown in Figure 5. Screw a pair of screw eyes into the under side of the drawbridge, and tie a rope to each for the raising cables (Figure 5). Then fasten two clothes-line pulleys to the inside of the top board of the framework, as shown in Figure 4, so that they will be in the right position for the ropes to run over them. Drive nails into the upright each side of the entrance, to hitch the ropes to when the drawbridge is raised.
Plans for a life-size, play castle build with wood scraps.
Cover the wall framework with water-proof building paper, or with cloth. Mother  may have some old sheets that you can  use, or, maybe, she will let you buy several yards of unbleached muslin. Use carpet  tacks for fastening the covering material,  and pull the material taut to make a neat job.
       The wall has a top with openings in it.  This is known as a battlement. The solid portions, called merlons, will require pieces of thin wood about 3 inches wide and 5 inches long. Nail these to the top of the wall with equal spacing.
       When you have completed the wall, set it in position where it is to stand, and brace it, as shown in Figure 4, with two strips of l-by-2 nailed to the end uprights and to stakes driven into the ground.
       Figure 6 shows the framework of one of the towers. The top is a fruit or vegetable hamper, the base may be a bushel basket or another hamper, the sides are made of laths. Because laths are only 4 feet long, it is necessary to splice a 12-inch piece to the end of each, as shown in Figure 7. Nail the lath ends to the inside of the hamper, and to the outside of the basket of the base. Cover the tower frameworks as you covered the wall. Then finish the tops with blocks of wood to form battlements.
       Place the towers at the ends of the wall, and fasten them to the framework with nails. It will help to anchor the bases if you will fill the bottom baskets with earth or sand.
       To complete the castle, paint the battlements and drawbridge white. Draw the windows on the wall and towers with crayons, and fill in the spaces with black paint.

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