Overview

diagram of steps and materials needed to build a tree swing
Illustration: Carl Wiens
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This swing is made from a single hardwood board and comes together quickly. Two pieces cut from a 18 board form one broad, 14½-inch-wide seat. A third piece, glued and screwed across the seam of the seat, supports it from underneath.

The whole assembly hangs from one rope tied around a tear-shaped metal holder called a thimble. The thimble keeps the rope from fraying as it swings on a carabiner, or spring clip, hooked through an eyebolt, which is threaded through a strong tree limb.

It’s important that the limb the eyebolt goes through is at least 8 inches thick and very healthy so that there is no chance it will break under the weight of a child swinging. It also has to be big enough to hold the bolt several feet from the tree trunk, to keep the seat swinging freely.
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    Tools List

    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape Measure
    • combination square
      Combination square
    • bar clamps
      Bar clamps
    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw
    • drill
      Drill/driver fitted with 3/16-inch drill bit, 1-inch spade bit, and long -inch spade bit
    • pencil compass
      Compass
    • random orbit sander
      Random-orbit sander
    • paintbrush
      2-inch paintbrush
    • artist paintbrush
      Small artist's paintbrush
    • Phillips screwdriver
      Screwdriver
    • adjustable wrench
      Wrench

    Shopping List

    1. 1x8 oak, maple, or other hardwood board, 4 feet long

    2. ¾-inch polypropylene rope

    3. 120-grit sandpaper

    4. Exterior-grade wood glue

    5. 1¼-inch deck screws6. Exterior latex paint

    7. Carabiner or spring clip

    8. -inch-thick, 10-inch-long stainless-steel or galvanized eyebolt with washer and two nuts

    9. ¾-inch rope thimble