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I've built a playset that is designed to look like a pirate ship. There is a 4x4 beam off the bow that acts as the bowspirit. The is lag screwed into another 4x4 beam with a 4x4 diagonal brace that is bolted all the way through (also has some additional lag screws).

The rest of the ship is braced and doesn't move from the swing seat on the other side (hangs off the stern with A frame bracing). The swing from the front though has a lot of lateral sway. What is the best way to brace this?
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Maybe not the most aesthetic, but the strongest bracing would be to bolt a 2x4 lengthwise on top of the 4x4 bowsprit, projecting "aft", (into the deck area). At the end of the extension, bolt a cross-wise 2x4, bolted onto the railings, creating a triangle.
 

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Maybe not the most aesthetic, but the strongest bracing would be to bolt a 2x4 lengthwise on top of the 4x4 bowsprit, projecting "aft", (into the deck area). At the end of the extension, bolt a cross-wise 2x4, bolted onto the railings, creating a triangle.
That may be what I have in mind also?
If you "combine the functions" of your single triangle brace that runs back to the deck (you could eliminate that if you want), with Dave McCann's diagonal bracing, and run two of them down at a 45 degree angle back to the deck it will brace the horizontal support rail against any lateral movement. Using triangle braces to eliminate movement is the best approach.
You can attach them closer to the deck than you have with the single brace now, since the 4 X 4 is stiff enough out at a 4 ft length to minimize any movement ... JMO.

Less work, but easier to do, is run two 2 X 4's at the attachment point of the diagonal brace, horizontally back to the railing. Again, forming triangles to the railing.
 

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How long should the brace be and how far down the 4x4 should it extend?
dave's drawing is how to do it. i'd make them a lot longer than he drew them
from the joint where the diagonal connects and an equal distance back
an 8 ft 2x4 is what i'm thinking, one will brace it, 2 will look symmetric
 
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