Coolrain Sawmills Ltd offer 2 types of wood for play frames: Machine round wood poles and Square wood frames. Round and square wood frames are visually very different and this reflects the age and part of the tree the wood for each frame is derived from. Round timbers tend to come from younger smaller trees and are complete tree poles, stripped of any bark and other rough materials but subject to no further processing. As a natural material, every pole is different but they are predominantly heartwood surrounded by sapwood. Heartwood naturally has many cracks and splits so our round timber frames are dimensioned and designed to ensure these natural characteristics do not have an impact upon the structural integrity of the frame. Moreover, these cracks will change over time due to atmospheric conditions. When wet, the wood will take in water, swell and the cracks will close up, when dry the wood contracts and the cracks will open up. As a result of the natural characteristics of such wood products, it is vital that parents check their play frame regularly so as to identify any splintering or lifting of the surface layers of the wood or any exposure of rough wood due to changes in cracks and splits. Affected areas must be rubbed down using coarse sandpaper to restore a smooth, safe surface.
Unlike round wood, squared wood tends to be derived from large, far more mature trees. It is removed from the much larger mature tree poles and includes very little, if any, heartwood in its profile. Squared wood then undergoes a significant manufacturing process. The wood is planed and smoothed to be made ready for the cutting and drilling of each of the dimensioned parts required to make a square wood play-frame. So although cracks and splits will be present and can appear over time due to changes in local atmospheric conditions, the incidence of these splits and cracks will be far fewer than with round wood so maintenance will be less. However, a diligent maintenance regime is strongly recommended. So cracks and splits are not considered as 'faults' in our wood frames they are unavoidable natural characteristics.