A porch swing symbolizes one thing: leisure. That’s why it became such a popular fixture in the mid-19th century and why it retains its appeal today.
There are various ways to enjoy its simple charm—whether curling up with a good book or exercising your legs while chatting with loved ones—but first.
you’ve got to pick the perfect place, confirm its structural integrity, and familiarize yourself with the installation. Ahead, your porch swing primer!
Choose a size and a spot. A porch swing can be a single-occupant hanging chair, or it can be wide enough to hold several people.
A 4-foot swing comfortably sits two adults, but swings also come in 6- and 8-foot lengths. Decide how many people might typically pile on at the same time, allowing 2 feet per person.
Required Tools for this Project
Let’s get started. Here’s what you’ll need:
Countersink drill bit
Drill bit set
Set your saw at 27-1/2 degrees and rip the pieces that make the center and top back supports.
If you don’t have a table saw, ask the lumberyard or a well-equipped neighbor to help.
stay away from cedar, redwood, and soft pine for this project. They’ll mar easily and won’t hold screws as well as other, denser woods.
Excellent wood choices are fir, Southern yellow pine, cypress, poplar, white oak, and maple.
Oak and maple are harder to cut, sand, drill, and screw, so if you’re a first-timer, avoid them. We chose poplar because it’s strong, readily available, easy to work, and takes paint well.
Cut all the parts to the dimensions. Using a table saw, make 1x3s from your 1x6s. Then notch the front arm supports as shown in Fig.
Draw the curved shapes onto hardboard and trace them onto boards, or simply draw the one-inch square grids directly onto the pieces.
Cut them out with your jigsaw and sand the curves smooth with 100-grit sandpaper.
Drill seven-eighths inch diameter holes with a sharp spade bit into parts for the front pipe hanger.
Cut the center and top horizontal back braces from 1x4s. A table saw works best.
If you’re an ace with a circular saw, you can set your saw bevel, tack the 1×4 to the tops of your sawhorses to keep the board from moving, and then saw along a line right down the length of the board.
Next, mark a diagonal taper onto a 1×3 as shown in Fig. A to make the two outer slats from this single piece.
Cut along the line with your jigsaw, then use a block plane to smooth the cut edge. Set the seat assembly aside.
Notch the front arm supports with a jigsaw to accept the front stringer.
Drill pilot and countersink holes and apply a dab of construction adhesive at each joint. Fasten with 1-5/8 in. deck screws.
Create a large work surface by laying a sheet of plywood across sawhorses.
Glue and screw the front stringer to the front arm braces. Next, fasten this assembly to the seat braces and rear stringer to complete the seat frame assembly.
Drill through the front arm braces with your seven-eighths inch drill bit after you’ve glued and screwed the side seat braces to them.
These two holes will complete the pathway for the front pipe support.
After you assemble the arm braces, stringers, and seat braces, glue, and screw the curved front arm supports to the sides of as shown in Fig.
Assemble the back as shown in Fig. Cut one-quarter inch spacers from scrap wood to help maintain consistent spacing.
Start at the center and work out to the sides. When you get to the fourth slat on each side, check your spacing; you may need to adjust it so the outer edge of the tapered slat is flush with the end of the lower back brace.
Now it’s time to cut the curves on the back assembly. Make a simple beam compass from a scrap of wood as shown in.
Flip the backrest assembly over, use your beam compass to mark the curves, and cut along the mark with a jigsaw. With the backrest assembly in this position, measure and mark a 2-1/2 in. line parallel to the bottom edge.
Grab the seat frame assembly you built earlier and finesse it onto the backrest assembly.
It’s crucial to align the rear seat frame stringer to the 2-1/2 in. the line on the backrest so the rest of the assembly will fit together.
Drill seven-eighths inch holes in the horizontal arm support to the exact dimensions shown in Fig.
Then glue and screw these pieces to the front arm braces and the center back brace. Next, glue and screw the seat slats to the seat braces.
Start in the back and leave approximately a three-sixteenths of an inch space between each piece.
Trim the last slat to overhang the front stringer one-half inch. Plane the transition piece on the curve of the seat and at the leading edge of the front seat slat for maximum comfort.
Cut and drill the pipes and slide them into the holes. File the inside of the seven-eighths inch hole in the arm support with a coarse half-round file if the support pipe won’t easily slide through.
The rear support pipe should fit snugly under the center back brace as it protrudes through each arm support.
Buy oversize (three-sixteenth inch or one-quarter inch thick) chain with welded links for good looks and safety.
Also, buy one-quarter inch threaded eyebolts along with thread-locking compound to keep the nuts from working loose. The quick-link eyes are indispensable for the linking chain quickly.
Buy your black pipe at a hardware store and have it cut to exact lengths without threaded ends.
Now, test-fit the pipe, chain, and connecting links to the wooden assembly.
It’s a good time to discover any glitches and correct them before you paint.
Slide the pipes through the holes in the seat frame and along the back, leaving an equal amount exposed on each side.
Mark the hole locations in the pipes to lock them to the swing and Fig.
Remove the chains and pipes to paint the wood assembly. Sand the pipes with 100-grit sandpaper, then wipe them down with a rag dampened with mineral spirits.
Let the mineral spirits evaporate off the surfaces, then spray-paint the pipes with an exterior primer followed by an exterior enamel.
Sand the wood parts with sandpaper, Softer edges will be safer and more comfortable and hold paint better.
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