Introduction

How to Build Your Own Porch Swing
Photo: Jim Franco
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Nobody says you have to build your own porch swing. You could buy one, as easy as icebox pie.

But wait.

Why not make it yourself? Because if ever a task offered its own reward, this one does, implying libertine leisure even as it demands intense rigor. Were you crafty enough, you could start from scratch—the dimensions measured twice and cut once, the mortise made just so, the tenon to match, the flathead brass screws micrometrically countersunk, the curve of a seat rail defined by pencil, formed by saw, and completed with drawknife and plane.

Let's say you're insufficiently crafty. But let's also say you're willing to hit the halfway mark between scratch-built and store-bought. Do an online search for "porch swing" and "kit," and marvel at the results: big, little, medium, freestanding, chain-mounted, oak, cedar, redwood, teak, Arts and Crafts, Mission, Adirondack, plantation.

The box arrives, and with it so does a bout of jitters. But keep at it. You'll get your groove, tools, and user melding in an almost musical pattern, a melody of accomplishment riding the rhythm of repetition—screwgun whir, mallet strike, sandpaper scritch, clamp creak—and finally silence, settling over what began as a notion and now has three dimensions.
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    Tools List

    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • bar clamp
      3-foot bar clamps
    • rawhide mallet
      Rawhide mallet
    • Phillips screwdriver
      Screwdriver

    Shopping List

    Swing kit. Similar to shown: Chandler 5' Swing from:
    Arthur Lauer

    Waterproof polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue

    Thread-locking glue, such as Loctite

    80-grit sandpaper

    120-grit sandpaper

    Teak oilSteel chain or nylon rope to hang the swing. Make sure it's rated to hold the weight of the swing plus 600 pounds. Get enough to reach from the porch ceiling to the swing arms times 4, plus extra for knots.

    ½-inch galvanized eyebolt, 8 inches long, with locknut (for porches without a ceiling) Get two.

    ½-inch by 5½ inch galvanized eyescrew with a shoulder (for porches with a ceiling). Get two.

    S hooks to hang from the eyebolts and prevent squeaking